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Soyinka denies anti-Igbo comment, Harvard to post lecture video online

The Harvard University Hutchins Centre for African and American Research in the United States has said that it will release the video of the lecture delivered by Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, within a week.

This was contained in an email reply to one of our correspondents on Soyinka’s alleged comments that he labelled Igbo as people who voted in the last general elections based on their “stomach.”

Some online media had quoted Soyinka as saying Igbo were politically naive while delivering a lecture titled, “‘Predicting Nigeria, Electoral Ironies,” at the institution.

He was quoted as saying “The Igbo are probably the only group of Nigerians that you can predict with great accuracy whom they will vote for in an election, because they tend to put their votes where their stomachs take them; suffering as it were, from incurable money-mindedness, as they would stop at nothing in their quest for personal financial gain.”

However, Soyinka said in a statement on Tuesday that it was unfortunate that people could tell lies against him.

The playwright described those who believe the report as morons.

He said the entire lecture was recorded on video and anyone who was interested could access it on the Internet.

He said, “I have just read a statement attributed to me on a news outlet, evidently one of the Internet infestations. My lecture at the Hutchins Centre, Harvard University, was video recorded. Anyone who believes what I am alleged to have said must be a moron – repeat, a moron.

“It is demeaning, sickening and boring to have to deal with these cowards who cannot fight their own battles but must fasten their imbecilic pronouncements on others. Only the mentally retarded will credit this comment attributed to me regarding the Ndigbo voting pattern in the last elections.

“I strongly suspect the author of this despicable concoction, and may make a further statement, once the source is verified.”

The Harvard centre, has however, stated that it will post the video online. The institution, however, said it would not release transcripts of Soyinka’s lecture.

The email read, “We expect the recent Wole Soyinka talk to be posted via video on the Hutchins Centre website within a week. However, transcripts of the talk will not be provided. Thank you for contacting the Hutchins Centre.”

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