The Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, took a swipe at President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, saying that the administration has failed Nigerians over its approach to the crisis of herders / farmers and other security issues that are plaguing the country.
Soyinka said this on Sunday at his residence in Ijegba, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State, while playing host to 85 pupils drawn from all six of the country’s geopolitical zones to celebrate his 85th birthday. Soyinka, born on July 13, 1934, clocked 85 years on Saturday.
The playwright, who during an interactive session fielded questions from the pupils, was assisted by his younger sister, Prof. Omofolabo Ajayi, and Bojode, one of his children.
When asked about his view on Nigeria’s governance, Soyinka said, “Governance is a very challenging occupation ; Nigeria is a very complicated country for many reasons ; its history, background, its formation, complexity, culture, balance here and there and then you have several problems such as fuel, among others..
“Politicians whom money has gone into their heads misdirect themselves in terms of priority, neglect certain sections, some of them are nepotistic and some of them alienate themselves from the public who are the people they are intended to serve and govern and believe they are still colonial masters, particularly when we went through the military era.”
When asked to mention the governor he liked the most in the country, Soyinka said, “The major problem we have is consecutive governments ; it’s simpler, at the state level, to say that this specific state is doing better than this state, but I’m scared that the central government has failed and that’s my main point of perspective to really serve the people intelligently, creatively and even hand them over to the people.
“Look at what’s going on today, how can I say, for example, I’m pro this government, it’s negligent, look at what’s going on with the cattle all over the location. This is a security problem that should never be at this level.
“I am sure that carelessness and a single act that resulted in the massacre of hundreds of people on their farms and taking over their farms ; it has wiped away many of the government’s positive achievements.
“It is an problem that is so severe and that concerns our welfare that any carelessness or failure is completely unforgivable and unpardonable. It’s not for the sake of criticism that one likes to criticize ; no! Just because we think there is a minimum level that any government elected to authority must attain in order to be considered a real representative of the people. So, I’m afraid waiting for you to grow up and be president.
Assessing the government of Buhari, Soyinka said the issues of Nigeria had overwhelmed the president, calling for a national dialog across party and ethnic lines among all people.
However, when reporters approached the president’s special media and advertising adviser, Mr Femi Adesina, for response, he simply replied, “No comment, no comment.”