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Wole Soyinka launches political party in Nigeria

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

The Democratic Front for a People’s Federation would be not only a political party, but also at the “forefront of the watchdogs of democracy,” Soyinka told a party convention.

“I wish to emphasise that function, and it is clearly meant both as a warning and exhortation,” the Nobel laureate in literature said. “Above all, the DFPF is a party for frustrated youth and uncomfortable ideas.”

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?”

Wole Soyinka.

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.