Nigeria On Path Of Self-Destruction, Restructure Now, Soyinka Tells Buhari

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Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka,

Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to devolve more power to states and local government in a truly federal system, or risk an implosion which would break up Nigeria.

Soyinka spoke on Monday in an interview on Arise Television as part of activities to mark Democracy Day .

His words: “On this so-called democracy, we are embarking on a nose-dive or what I will describe as suicide drive and Buhari needs to listen to all different agitations and initiatives which are taking place around him.

“He should recognise the fact that the tempo of disintegration of this country has accelerated in the last couple of years beyond anything we ever knew since the civil war, and I’m not sure Nigeria can remain as one if we fail to decentralize.

“If Nigeria fails to decentralise as fast as possible, in such a way that people will see it manifesting, then Nigeria cannot stay together. If a nation is on suicide slide, the people who feel that they do not deserve that kind of suicidal slide have a right to say sorry, we are getting off this plane before it nose-dived.

“I am beginning to believe that people have different definitions for democracy, particularly our political leaders and I’m beginning to wonder whether this government, led by Buhari, really understands the implication and full responsibility and commitment involved when people say they are practising democracy.”

Twitter Ban And Separatist Agitations

On the ban placed on Twitter by the government, Soyinka also said that the Federal Government had handled its feud Twitter and separatist agitations across the country badly. 

His words: “In truncating various channels of expression open to any populace, you are actually abrogating the very essence of democracy. Democracy is not sequence or symbolic gestures of June 12 as Democracy Day. When you truncate any channel of self-expression of people, you literarily become an enemy of democracy.

“Also the language used by Buhari in responding to agitation for secession is very unfortunate. Any sensitive leader must understand and respond to reasons behind those agitations, not to start to threaten, bully or intimidate people.

Buhari And Open Grazing

The Nobel laureate also faulted the President’s position on open grazing in the country, saying: 

“Southern governors says on behalf of our people, we do not want open grazing anymore.Then somebody who sits in Aso Rock says he will instruct his Attorney-General to dig up some kind of colonial law so he can recover on behalf of certain private business the old route. That is an indication that he is not listening to what governors and the people they  represent are saying. It is high time he sacked most people around him; they are not doing him or the nation any service, they are people who say to him what he wants to hear, if he is depending on them, then this government is doomed,” he said.

Soyinka advised the president to stop issuing threats to Nigerians and rather address the problems in the country.

Soyinka said: “First of all, Buhari must address the nation. I don’t mean the kind of interview he granted on television where he says he was healthy. He must admit that we are in a state of war and we must be prepared for the worst, but at the same time, the government is in full solidarity behind the people.

“He needs to make people understand that sacrifices will be made and can even go as far as telling people that they will do away with some government lifestyle because there is internal enemy which is eating into the nation’s intestine. He needs to start talking to people as a leader who is awake to the reality of situation, then let us see action taken, he has to take people into confidence.

“Our problem as a country is not that of people but leadership because people have shown that they are ready to act to save their own community. People also take to the streets in demonstration and expression of their grievances. Government needs to understand that the idea of threatening people doesn’t work any longer.’’

Blasts NASS, Governors

 Soyinka said: “Our political representatives are not doing enough, especially the Senate and House of Representatives. If you study the constitution very carefully, you will realise the fact that they have certain powers which they have not touched, which they can use to compel this government to act the way it should.  It’s not good enough.

“Even the governors are also too timid, there are some laws they can push, so we can get a sense of governance at all tiers, people are ready to stand behind their leaders.

“People are doing what they can in their own capacity, they are mobilizing, they are creating self-defence, they are marching the streets demanding extreme action, so what else did they need to be doing?”

Dissociates Self From  Yoruba Separatists

On his alleged support for Yoruba secession, Soyinka said:

“Yoruba nation or Biafra, when it is time, I will make a statement but let me seize this opportunity to appeal to people to stop putting words in my mouth. If you think you can pressure me to speak by putting words into my mouth, you are wasting your time and are a traitor to common goals. In this sensitive period I must warn Nigerians to stop playing around with sensitive issues so  they can continue to enjoy my support.

“If you go to the Western corridor and see what is happening, why was Amotekun created? It is an act of desperation or frustration because those in charge of kidnapping have turned it to business, and somebody comes on air and says all is well.

“This whole nation is on the path of self-destruction and am not the only one saying it and this is the time Buhari’s government should listen and take action, otherwise we may not celebrate another Democracy Day come next year.”

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