Nige­rian writer leads new party

Los Angeles Times - - The World -

la­gos, nige­ria — No­bel lau­re­ate Wole Soyinka launched a new Nige­rian po­lit­i­cal party Satur­day, aim­ing to use the power of rhetoric to chal­lenge ap­a­thetic vot­ers in the oil-rich nation to over­come a govern­ment he called cyn­i­cal and bru­tal.

Mem­bers of the Demo­cratic Front for a Peo­ple’s Fed­er­a­tion elected Soyinka as their leader dur­ing the party’s inaugural meet­ing. The 76-year-old writer, who was awarded the No­bel Prize in lit­er­a­ture in 1986, eas­ily rec­og­niz­able by a shock of white hair, later said he wouldn’t run in the nation’s 2011 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

In­stead, Soyinka promised that the party would use the power of per­sua­sion and words to af­fect the out­come of an elec­tion that many worry will be tainted by po­lit­i­cal thug­gery, vi­o­lence and bal­lot-box stuff­ing.

It re­mains un­clear what ef­fect a party that pledges to take in no money will have in a nation where stolen oil money fu­els the whims of the po­lit­i­cal elite.

Nige­ria, home to 150 mil­lion peo­ple, has con­ducted a string of crit­i­cized elec­tions since democ­racy was re­stored in 1999.

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