Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka has said that for anybody to be canvassing second term for President Muhammadu Buhari was sickening and that Nigeria was long overdue for restructuring.
Soyinka, who spoke on Monday at the Freedom Park, Lagos said those who said what Nigeria needed was just a restructuring of the mind were not saying the obvious.
Soyinka said restructuring of the mind was what could be done on daily basis, but that what the nation needed right now was real restructuring which he called ‘reconfiguring.’ The Nobel laureate also said it was sickening for some people to be canvassing second term in office for President Muhammadu Buhari midway into his first tenure, saying he did not want to be part of such discourse.
The Nobel Laureate said: “Restructuring the mind is not the issue. Nobody is saying the exercise of restructuring the mind should not be undertaken, anybody who indulges in self-examination is already engaging in mind restructuring.
“I find it very dishonest and cheap, time-selling and trivializing the issues when I hear the expression that it is the mind, which needs to be restructured. Who is arguing it? Who is denying that? It is not a substitute, why are you bringing it up? We are talking about the protocol of association of the constituent parts of a nation, we are talking about decentralization, that is another word.
“This country is over-centralised and that has been the bane of development, even on issues like security. So, individuals should not now try and side-track the issue and say concentrate on that rather than this. Are you saying that you cannot reconstruct the mind and reconstruct the nation at the same time?”
On President Buhari’s second term campaign currently be canvassed by some, the Nobel Laureate said: “I refuse to be part of that discussion and absolutely refused to be part of that discussion.”
Explaining further, he argued that many Nigerians have misinterpreted the call for restructuring to mean succession, noting that the president should address Nigeria’s unity separately from restructuring.
Soyinka said: “I have heard this expression so often, again, that is another ploy of side-tracking the issue, nobody is talking about disuniting Nigeria, we know there are movement of secession, let Buhari and others go and address this separately.
“This should not be mixed with the demand of a nation for reconfiguration; people should stop answering demand for secession by pretending to answer the demand for reconfiguration.
“Secession should be a different thing, to try and suggest that the moment you say restructure, you are calling for disintegration, is for me intellectually dishonest, that is not the issue at all.
“The issue of outright secession is totally different even if it is only one state that is left, that state has a right to say, ‘listen you people, let us restructure this state; the protocols which have gone into the making of this state are no longer valid or have been distorted along the way or have been abandoned and we want to go back to the original set of protocols that created what we call this national entity.’
“In other words there are choices all over the place, you can say you want to re-invent the wheel completely or you can say you want to go back to the original protocol of association, whichever way.”
Addressing the issue of insecurity in the country, Soyinka said: “It is a large question, there are areas, yawning gaps; just take security for instance, the average citizen feels less secured now than he did few years ago, that is evident. When people talk about state police, there are reasons for that; when they talk about bringing policing right down to the community level, they know what they are talking about. This is part and parcel of reconfiguring or reconstruction.’’
Soyinka lamented that security had become worse since President Buhari came on board and demanded a quick attention from the government.
On the economy, he said: “There is a big question on it right now; fortunately everybody admits that we went through a very bad patch; right now, it is the question of have we come out of it or not? In fact, there is no question about it, the past few years have been years of internal economic disasters for the average citizen, but it is a question of who laid the seed. When and where and how were the seeds laid for the agony this nation is going through in the last few years?”