Nigerian writer leads new party
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.