Prof Wole Soyinka launches DFPF, a political party he said would sanitize Nigeria

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Wole Soyinka
Wole Soyinka

Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka launched a new politicalparty Saturday in Nigeria ahead of upcoming presidential elections, saying he wanted to take aim at corruption and give hope to young voters.

He said the movement was intended to pose the question in Nigeria, an oil-rich country long held back by corruption: “Is it really impossible to have a voice unless you are swimming in billions?”

Soyinka, whose politically engaged plays and books have earned him wide acclaim, was elected chairman of the party, though the 76-year-old said he would not run for office.

Nigeria will hold presidential, state and legislative elections early next year, but the dates are still being debated.

The country is notorious for election rigging and voter intimidation, though President Goodluck Jonathan has pledged free and fair polls in 2011.

Politics in Nigeria have been dominated by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party since a return to civilian government in 1999.

Soyinka became Africa’s first Nobel laureate in literature when he won the prize in 1986.

His book “The Man Died” recounts his time in jail after being imprisoned following his attempt to broker talks during Nigeria’s 1967-1970 civil war.