In a statement on Friday, Soyinka said he and Citizen Forum, a group convened by him, are supporting the bid of Kingsley Moghalu, presidential candidate of Young Progressive Party (YPP).
The development is coming days after the scholar said he would not support eitherPresident Muhammadu Buhari or Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He explained that the YPP presidential candidate was picked after a study of the “track records of most of the presidential candidates.”
Soyinka said he and the forum do not belong to “any Third Force or other consensus seeking councils by any other name.”
He said in a statement “The Citizen Forum – last heard of during the time of the dictator, Sani Abacha – was pulled out of retirement to join in their effort to arrive at peer consensus.
“The forum worked peripherally with them. It made no attempt – I stress this – no attempt whatsoever to impose its own preferences, but utilised material from the deliberations of at least four such selection groups. It remained on the fringe, except on invitation.
“Our mission today is simply topresent the result of that effort by Citizen Forum which, I am especially gratified to reveal, coincides with my own personal preference.
“Over the past few months, we studied the careers, experiences and track recordsof most of the presidential aspirants, and most intensely those actually short-listed by the opposition parties themselves. Like millions of Nigerians, we watched the debates. I physically interacted with some of the acknowledged top contenders, in some cases several times.
“The forum rejected retrograde propositions of a political merry-go-round, which urge the electorate to choose this or that candidate in order to ensure ‘our turn’ at the next power incumbency. Overall, the exercise was exacting but also – therapeutic.
“It proved yet again that there is over-abundant leadership quality locked up in the nation, and that it is a collective shortcoming that the political space has not been sufficiently opened up to let soar such potential. Well, to cite the Chinese proverb: a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.
“Let me reiterate, there is over-abundant,but stifled leadership material, and there can be no excuse, now that that potential of high quality is being manifested, for constricting the political space in a population that is nudging two hundred million. And that statement is of coursespecially addressed to those who took part in this exercise, those who deliberated opted out of it, some of whom were assessed anyway.
“Such potential compelled us to exercise utmost rigour in what proved to be a most daunting exercise. The final determination however is – the flag-bearer of the Young Progressive Party– Kingsley Moghalu.”