17 Feb 2015

Prof. Wole Soyinka calls for revolt if incoming government disappoints

Nigeria's Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has stated that Nigerians should be prepared to go back to the trenches, whatever it takes, if a wrong choice is made in the incoming elections.

Soyinka, who made this known in an interview with BBC's Will Ross in Lagos, also stated that President Goodluck Jonathan alone should not be blamed for the
Boko Haram menace in the North-eastern part of Nigeria.
When asked to be specific about what he meant by going back to the trenches, he said: “Well, the way you fight civilian misrule is different from the way you deal with people like Sani Abacha. So I am saying that Nigerians should be prepared to deal with any new betrayal by any ruler with the same kind of passion, commitment and understanding of a lack of alternative as it did with Sani Abacha because we cannot continue with this cycle of repetitious evil and irresponsibility, that is all I mean.”

On his assessment of the Jonathan administration, he said: “It is backwards and forwards. There have been many actions by the government in power which I wouldn’t say are exactly democratic, there is that spirit of let’s have a fair war, it’s not yet deep enough.”
Speaking on the criticism of Jonathan over his handling of Boko Haram and the abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls, Soyinka described what happened as a clear failure in leadership.
According to him, “One kind of holds the government solely responsible for the situation. But the responsibility actually spreads because Boko Haram began in various ways a long time ago.

“There was a time when the attempted Islamisation of this nation should have been stamped upon using the constitution, the secular nature of the constitution as a weapon.

“While definitely the responsibility for what is going on now rests with the Jonathan administration, the problem began with previous governments.”
On Jonathan running against former military ruler, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), in the March 28 re-scheduled presidential election, Soyinka said: “Well, basically for me anything which smells of permanent incumbency, with little or no interruption perhaps is not very palatable.
“But you know the environment changes, circumstances change and even the worst military dictatorship can be self-internally demobilised if you like.”
The Nobel laureate, who denied calling Buhari a devil, however, said he could not see himself dining with the former dictator.
“I didn’t exactly call him a devil, I did talk about dining with the devil with a very long spoon and he (Buhari), I did not even want to dine with him at all because after Abacha, he represented the most brutal face of military dictatorship, there is no question about that.

“However, it got to a point where I looked at the possibility of a genuine internal transformation in some individuals. I have been disappointed before and we must be ready to be disappointed again,” he explained.
Credit: Eromosele Abiodun/ThisDay

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