Soyinka: It is Sickening to Canvass for Buhari’s Second Term Now  

Wole Soyinka
 •Says country is overdue for ‘reconfiguration’
By Tobi Soniyi and Shola Oyeyipo in Lagos
Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka has described as sickening for anyone to canvass for a second term for President Muhammadu Buhari midway into his first term, saying he did not want to be part of such a discussion.
Soyinka, who spoke yesterday to newsmen at the Freedom Park in Lagos, equally said those who claim that what Nigeria needed was just a restructuring of the minds, were not stating the obvious.
He had earlier addressed a press conference to unveil the participants of an exchange programme organised by the Wole Soyinka Foundation in partnership with Cedars Institute, Notre Dame University in Lebanon.
When asked to comment on those clamouring for Buhari to run for a second term, he said: “Why are we talking about a second term for heavens sake, I don’t understand this. We have hardly gone half-way or barely gone half-way and people are already talking about positions. I refuse to be part of that discussion.”
He said that while the restructuring of the mind could be done on a daily basis, what the nation needs right now was real restructuring, which he termed “reconfiguring”.
He said: “People should not allow themselves to be put off by those who have tried to cheapen the expression. As I said when I visited the Women Arise (event) the other day, it doesn’t matter what name you call it, we all know that Nigeria was deconstructed and that what we live in right now as a nation is not along a structure that expresses the true will that we love in Nigeria.
“So, when people use words like restructuring, reconfiguring, you can call it reconfiguration. You can call it return to the status quo. You can call it reformulating the protocol of association. You can use those long words, but you can use a single word like restructuring, it doesn’t matter, everybody knows what we are talking about.
“Number two, there are those who try to divert direct attention away from the main issues by mounting platitudes, clichés like it is the mind that needs restructuring, you know who I am talking to.
“This is a constant process – the restructuring of the mind is both an individual exercise as well as a theological exercise. People go to church and mosque to have their minds restructured, they go to school, they go to extra-mural classes to have their minds restructured.
“So, restructuring of the mind is not the issue, nobody is saying the exercise of restructuring them should not be undertaken, anybody who indulges in self-examination is already engaging in mind restructuring.
“I find it very dishonest and cheap, time wasting, trivialising 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 they bringing it up?
“We are talking about the protocol of association of the constituting parts of a nation, we are talking about decentralisation, that is another word.
“This country is over-centralised and that has been the bane of development, even on issues like security for decades. So individuals should not now try and sidetrack 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? My take on it and my advice to the citizenry is that they should not allow themselves to be sidetracked.
“Call it whatever name, what we are saying is that this nation is long overdue for reconfiguration. That is the expression I choose to use now.”
Also speaking on Buhari’s claim that the country’s unity was not negotiable, he said: “I have heard this expression so often. Again, that is another ploy to sidetrack the issue.
“Nobody is talking about disuniting Nigeria, we know there are movements for secession, but 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 demands for secession by pretending to answer the demands 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,” he noted.
When asked whether he was satisfied with the performance of the Buhari administration he said: “It is a large questions, there are areas, yawning gaps; just take security for instance, the average citizen feels less secure now than it did a 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.
“The economy, there is a big question on it right now; fortunately everybody admits that we went through a very bad patch. Right now, it’s a question of have we come out of it or not; if 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 has gone through in the last few years?” He asked.
Soyinka also condemned individuals who created social media accounts under his name, calling them “identity thieves” and “forgers”.
He also dissociated himself and the Wole Soyinka Foundation from every Facebook and Twitter account posing as him or his foundation.
“They created a Wole Soyinka blogspot, or whatever. There is also a Wole Soyinka Twitter handle. Please, press, I am begging you to note that I don’t do Facebook, I don’t do Twitter and I don’t do blogs,” he said.
He urged the media to denounce all accounts impersonating him and the foundation.
“I implore you in the name of whatever it is you believe in to help squash them like bed bugs. They are very believable in that they get the right pictures.
“They went as far as getting the authentic publications and activities and they string them all over the place.
“Please note that they are fake. There is only one Wole Soyinka Foundation,” he said.
He also sought support for the exchange programme with the Lebanese university and urged corporate organisations, government bodies and individuals to support the foundation by sponsoring young Nigerians for the exchange programme held annually in Lebanon.
The first edition of the study travel programme sponsored five students selected across Nigerian universities to broaden their worldview and further their education.
Soyinka said ten young Nigerian writers had been selected for the second edition of the exchange programme, adding that they would depart for Lebanon today.
  • saburi sanuth

    It really bother me the way professor Oluwole, Akinwande Soyinka sees things happening in Nigeria these days.Apart from being an important figure he also represent a defacto voice in world politics but each time his analysis comes to play, it goes off point making him look like an Head Master addressing his students and most at times his messages are not understood, because the listening audience can not decipher what he was saying..Sir I want to take you back to your lecturing days by asking you the number of your lectures that were delivered in the north.Name an higher institution of learning in the north where your career has taken you.Our referred great man Jeremiah Oyeniyi Obafemi Awolowo regretted till he breath his last breath the treatment he gave the northerners and what it cost him, and you are going the same way.Mighty God sent Abacha,s soon to you so that you might retract your steps, your hangers on decended on the poor boy.It is easy for you to go to Calabar,port harcour and ebonyi state by canoe than go to the north by air.The northerners kept a subdue silence over your treatment of their race untill they will call on your race to defend your actions,then you will be gone,the ibos did it on Awolowo ,but what will your race say .Sir it is not late now because the people in the north are Nigerians and please sir realise that since the amagamation your might had not taken power away from them.What did the children of northern decent did to you when you invited even kids to your forest home, how many kanuri fufude and hausa speaking kids were there.God is a wonderful being because he gave you everything so that you will not have excuses when you meet him which I am positive you will.Proffessor Soyinka enough of this aggrandisment. People musrgue

  • vince

    Soyinka you are one of those that brought us this disaster called Buhari, A man that destroys everything he touches. Ruined homes and businesses and cost Nigerians their lives. What is it that you believe in can never forgive you for punishing Nigeria this badly. Your poor judgement is very ..legendary

  • vic



    • Utari Nmuo

      Filthy Zoo subhuman

  • papred06

    Whatever happened to Kwankwaso??? That guy has seriously gone quiet!!

  • vic



    • papred06

      Who will stop him? None on the other opposition parties are prepared.

    • Utari Nmuo

      Worthless Zoo animal

  • Jon West

    Kongi, now for all intents and purposes very “dead” , but still dear to our hearts ,for old times sake, is trying to wriggle himself out of the disaster he used his reputation to inflict on Nigeria in 2014/15. However, you really have to forgive this poster boy of the regression of black intellect and morality, because think what you may, he paid his dues for the progress of this contraption Called Nigeria.

    As for the imbecile Ota Ape, who wants a restructuring of the mind, I was quite thrilled watching him totally demystifyied and deconstructed by the BBC’s Stephen Sakur on Hardtalk yesterday(11th September 2017). This hypocritical Grandfather of Corruption(apologies to Stephen), serial adulterer, incestous father, simple thief and intellectual wannabe, publicly disowned the Certificateless Dullard from Daura ,as a fit for purpose President of Nigeria, in that interview. According to him, he warned Nigerians about the Dullard’s illiteracy in the areas of economy and foreign affairs, the most important areas of interest to the President of a country, especially, a country in a hurry to grow.

    We are now into a season of denials, treachery and the shenanigans of the usual suspects, but that is the way of the usual suspects. Wole Soyinka should just come clean and accept his role in the imposition of mayhem on the Nigerian people, which is the result of the election of the Certificateless Dullard from Daura . Why he did this evil to himself, his global reputation and the Nigerian people, is unfathomable for some of us his previous admirers; but then there is never any eye that can read the minds construction on the face.
    Perhaps we should forgive Wole Soyinka if he is really contrite. However, Kongi should remain dead. We owe it a duty to morality to ensure the demise of Kongi. You cannot have your cake and still eat it.

    • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

      Serious countries no longer entertain those who employed their formidable intellect to committed red card offences.

      • OshyLike

        The point is, if the alternative president to Buhari in 2015 had won that election, will Nigeria be better off today? Also note that some Sections were complaining of marginalization prior to the new regime while common wealth were stolen without caution by the C-in-C of the immediate past regime. As of that time, based on perception of most Nigerians, Buhari was the best of the two evils. 2019 is around the corner, another better candidate is expected to knock out Buhari. Unfortunately, if the battle will be between Atiku and Buhari, what then will be your thought? The outright solution is restructuring, with contribution from Regions and/or States to the Center, which I think may not be achieved peacefully. Other than that, the cry of marginalization by different tribes/sections in Nigeria will continue.

        • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

          I honestly did not rate Jonathan at all. But I somehow bet that Okonjo Iweala would have managed the economy better. Who knows, but I believe that we will not have entered recession so deeply and come out so slowly and so weakly that we might fall back in.

          Is Nigeria safer under Buhari? It is arguable – I remember the military telling us during Jonathan’s time in office the same things they are telling us now – that they are seriously defeating BH. Buhari is finding out that sometimes, it is difficult to tame the monsters that you helped create.

          You talk about corruption. For me, identifying a number of high profile corrupt Ministers and naming and shaming them is gripping television but it is NOT fighting corruption. We lose more money within the senior and middle tiers of the civil service and various government agencies than we can ever lose from a Deziani and others.

          Appointing all your village people to sensitive government positions is corruption as is flouting court orders and sending military tanks to Kanu’s house when there has not been a break down in law and order. But Nigerian’s are lazy and they like the showy showy nature of naming and shaming a few big men and pointing to them “that these are the people who stole your money”. That may be so and they should be punished, but that is not how you get rid of the corruption that affects society.

          Finally, I completely agree with you about restructuring and those that argue against it are either crazy or enjoying from the status quo.

    • agwamba

      Professor Wole Soyinka deserves our respect whether we agree with him or not. He is a human being susceptible to mistakes. But over the years he has been one of the shinning lights in this country.

      • John Paul

        No one can tarnish Kongi’s reputation. The man’s stellar reputation is set in cement.

        Nevertheless, many people are still very angry and bitter with Kongi, for joining other Patriotic Nigerians, in kicking our their lord and savior, Goodluck Jonathan, from office

        These people all have one thing in common.

        Before the last administration, their bank accounts were trending between zero and ₦100,000.00. But when the last administration opened upon the spigot, they experienced a great improvement in their lifestyle

        They were able to buy their wife a brand new SUV. They were able to buy that long coveted house in Abuja. During that no too distant past, life and Nigeria, for them, was a bed or roses

        Then tragedy struck.

        Nigerians kicked the idiotic PDP out of power. So their dreams and hopes came crumbling down

        Between May 2015 and today, many of them have been spewing hatred and venom against the Patriots that participated in bringing down the bandits that had captured our country.

        Like a child who a delicious ice cream was unceremoniously taken away from them, they have been crying unabashedly, and nonstop, between May, 2015 and today.

        But Nigerians have moved on. We can never go back to the years of the locust. “Onward and upward”

        • ifeanyi victor

          Unfortunately most of those looters identified so far are from north and south west.
          Despite that there was higher incidence of corruption pre-jonathan,in obasanjo,abacha,yar’dua and other previous government’s there has been an orchestrated effort by some parts of nigeria to make Jonathan and his government the most corrupt in history of this nation,what a lie!.
          In any case,if anybody should have had access to the national cake I don’t see any group more qualified than Niger delta.
          This country has been thoroughly looted by northerners and yorubas more than anybody.

          • Felix Udoh


      • BankyMons

        I disagree completely – people like ‘Ole Soyinka should be exposed, named, and shamed! He deserves nothing but contempt for oiling the engine that set the destiny of our children back by decades. He deserves everything he gets – can’t give him enough believe me.

    • Candidly

      What did you say about the Ota ——?
      Let them catch and slam you with animal kingdom speech.

  • EzekielIwa

    Some guys are just bitter. Always attacking people whether working in Govt circle or not. Michael/Franco – To be honest, u 2 need serious Restructuring of the Mind

    • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

      Ha ha ha
      That’s funny
      But I am not bitter oh
      I only refuse to listen to bullshxx!
      And I call out lies when i read them
      You should do the same.
      It’s called standing up for something, so that you do not fall for anything.
      If enough of us did that, our country would be worth habiting

  • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

    Dear Sir,
    It was sickening for you to have canvassed for Buhari’s FIRST term!

    • Don Franco

      Dear Michael Kadiri,

      Kongi is trying to redeem himself from the excremental stain that he made of his reputation for supporting the Certificateless One; l think you should give him benefit of doubt, it’s never too late to do the right thing, I read somewhere.

      • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

        Morning bro,

        I hear and agree that it is never too late to do the right thing. Like if you stole a sweet, you should confess.
        I think for the serious affairs of state however, there should be zero tolerance. As soon as you engage in that which negatively affects the progress of country, we ought not to hear from you again.
        Or maybe I woke up on the wrong side of my bed this morning and I am feeling angry?

        • papred06

          But the economy is looking up. We are out of recession and there’s a bumper harvest coming already. Also, domestic production is going up as against massive importation. We’ve made headway in rice production. Agriculture will soon boom. It seems that Baba is already going beyond his targets. There’re also security improvements especially in the NE.

          • Jon West

            Are you on this planet? Why do people spew outright lies in this Government By Propaganda, the New Normal? To hell with Nigeria!!

          • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

            I thought about responding to you……then I thought maybe I shouldn’t….cause I feel like you are happy…..and that is a good thing

          • papred06

            Hahahahahaha……..anyway I support restructuring and not secession as restructuring will cut corruption and we wouldn’t have to worry about corrupt judges.

    • BankyMons

      @mkadiri:disqus Thank you my dear brother!!!!! You have made my day today!