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‘Nothing To Forgive:’ Soyinka Speaks About Relationship With Gowon

Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka has explained that there is no bad blood between him and Nigeria’s former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, and believes there is nothing to forgive him about.

“We communicate whenever possible, he came for my birthday in Abeokuta here. And when he started to apologise – he made a public apology – I said, ‘There is no need for it,’” the playwright who was detained by the Gowon government for two years, in the wake of the Nigerian Civil War, told Channels Television.

“The war, for me, is over.’ The ones I find difficult to forgive are those who lied against me. I don’t like liars; I just cannot stand liars.”

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Soyinka, 86, explained that General Gowon had on various occasions made efforts to meet him so they could talk.

“He even asked the former ambassador to locate me so that anytime he was passing – I was in Europe and America then – so we could meet and talk,” the essayist who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1986 added. “And I said, ‘any time’ but there is really nothing much to talk about.”

According to him, they later met at a conference with Soyinka adding that during the event, they talked about the Nigerian Civil War.

“We hit it on very well and we joked,” he said. “The ice was broken and since then, we have been friends.”

The Gowon government had on August 1967 arrested Soyinka and put him in solitary confinement, just as the Civil War started.

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