Nigerian’s are deeply unhappy about the state of their country — and Noble Laureate Wole Soyinka thinks President Muhammadu Buhari is exacerbating tensions in a moment of national crisis.
We are close to extinction as a viable comity of peoples, supposedly bound together under an equitable set of protocols of co-habitation, capable of producing its own means of existence, and devoid of a culture of sectarian privilege and will to dominate, he said in a statement from his in Abeokuta, on Tuesday titled, “Between ‘Dividers-in-chief’ and Dividers-in-law.”
For once, the Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka arrived at a political concurrence with former President Olusegun Obasanjo, saying Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari is close to extinction.
Soyinka, who is Obasanjo’s greatest critic, said Nigeria was a contraption teetering on the very edge of total collapse and a crumbling edifice.
Persecondnews had reported that Obasanjo alerted that the country under Buhari was fast becoming a failed state which triggered mixed reactions from Nigerians and the Presidency.
Presidency had slammed Obasanjo as “divider-in-chief, saying Nigeria had been saved by Buhari from collapse.
Soyinka said regardless of who made the statement, he would embrace the responsibility of calling attention to any accurate reading of this nation from whatever source.
He said::“I am notoriously no fan of Olusegun Obasanjo, General, twice former president and co-architect with other past leaders of the crumbling edifice that is still generously called Nigeria. I have no reasons to change my stance on his record.
“Nonetheless, I embrace the responsibility of calling attention to any accurate reading of this nation from whatever source, as a contraption teetering on the very edge of total collapse.
“We are close to extinction as a viable comity of peoples, supposedly bound together under an equitable set of protocols of co-habitation, capable of producing its own means of existence, and devoid of a culture of sectarian privilege and will to dominate.”
Soyinka also called the attention of the government to warnings by the Otta farmer over the self-destruct turn that the nation had taken, urged the wisdom of heeding the message, even while remaining chary of the messenger.
He said that advice appeared to have fallen on deaf ears and that in place of reasoned response and openness to some serious dialogue, what this nation had been obliged to endure had been insolent distractions from garrulous and coarsened functionaires, apologists and sectarian.
“The nation is divided as never before, and this ripping division has taken place under the policies and conduct of none other than President Buhari – does that claim belong in the realms of speculation?
“Does anyone deny that it was this president who went to sleep while communities were consistently ravaged by cattle marauders, were raped and displaced in their thousands and turned into beggars all over the landscape?
“Was it a different president who, on being finally persuaded to visit a scene of carnage, had nothing more authoritative to offer than to advice the traumatized victims to learn to live peacefully with their violators?
“And what happened to the Police Chief who had defied orders from his Commander-in-Chief to relocate fully to the trouble spot – he came, saw, and bolted, leaving the ‘natives’ to their own devices.
‘Any disciplinary action taken against ‘countryman’? Was it a spokesman for some ghost president who chortled in those early, yet controllable stages of now systematized mayhem, gleefully dismissed the mass burial of victims in Benue State as a “staged show” for international entertainment?
“Did the other half of the presidential megaphone system not follow up – or was it, precede? – with the wisdom that they, the brutalized citizenry, should learn to bow under the yoke and negotiate, since “only the living” can enjoy the dividends of legal rights?”
On the defence of the government on the issues raised by Obasanjo, Soyinka said to reel off any achievements of a government – genuine or fantasized, trivial or monumental – was thus to dodge the issue, to ignore the real core concerns, saying no government, however inept, failed to record some form of achievement – this was why it were elected, and that takes real genius to succeed in spending four years actually doing nothing.
“What it fails to do, or what it does wrongly, deceitfully or prejudicially is what concerns the citizenry. Across this nation, there is profound distrust, indeed abandonment of hope in this government as one that is genuinely committed to the survival of the nation as one, or indeed understands the minimal requirements for positioning it as a modern, functional space of productive occupancy.
“Donald Trump is not without a governance pass mark here or there – indeed, he has been touted for the Nobel Peace prize in some quarters, backed, predictably, by the quota Nigerian columnist – yet who dares deny, outside Republican diehard circles – that the great United States of America is brutally divided, and is even unraveling under the Trumpian phenomenon,” the literary icon said.