By Ejiofor Alike
Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has thrown his weight behind President Olusegun Obasanjo’s criticism of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration as heading Nigeria towards state failure, insisting that the country is more divided as never before.
Soyinka in a statement issued yesterday from his Autonomous Residence of Ijegba, Idi-Aba Estate, Abeokuta, Ogun State, said though he is not a fan of Obasanjo, he embraced any accurate reading of the country as a contraption teetering on the edge of total collapse.
Soyinka’s statement was titled, “Between ‘Dividers-in-chief’ and Dividers-in-law.”
Obasanjo had said the country was slowly becoming a failed state and more divided under the Buhari administration.
But the presidency countered the former president’s claim, describing the ex-president as a ‘Divider-in-chief.”
However, Soyinka threw his weight behind the former Nigerian leader, saying, “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 explained.
Soyinka recalled that on Africa Day, May 2019, organised by the United Bank for Africa, he similarly directed the attention of the present administration to warnings by the ‘Otta farmer’ over the self-destruct turn that the country had taken, urging the wisdom of heeding the message, even while remaining chary of the messenger.
“That advice appears to have fallen on deaf ears. In place of reasoned response and openness to some serious dialogue, what this nation has been obliged to endure has been insolent distractions from garrulous and coarsened functionaries, apologists and sectarian opportunists.
“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 advise the traumatised 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 systematised 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 brutalised citizenry, should learn to bow under the yoke and negotiate, since “only the living” can enjoy the dividends of legal rights?” Soyinka queried.