Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Soyinka berates Buhari, calls Obasanjo hypocrite


Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan is a graduate of Mass Communications from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. With nearly a decade-long, active journalism practice, Mr Ramalan has been able to rise from a cub reporter to the exalted position of an editor; first as Arts Editor with the Blueprint Newspapers before resigning in 2019; second and presently as an Associate Editor of the Daily Nigerian online newspaper. He can be reached via [email protected], or, or @McRamalan on Twitter.
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Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, on Thursday in Lagos lamented that lives of Nigerians have been so cheapened under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, calling for coming on board generation of new leaders to overhaul the system.

Mr Soyinka made the call at the official launch in his Interventions VIII Series, titled: “Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? (Who keeps Watch over the Watchmen?), Gani’s Unfinished Business,” held at the Freedom Park, Lagos Island.

The Tribune reported that Mr Soyinka, in reaction to a question on current occurrences in the country, said there were serious acts of mis-governance under Buhari’s administration, declaring that there were lots of unforced errors being committed by the present government.

“There are acts of mis-governance under this administration. There are unforced errors and acts that are considered being stupid; failure to secure lives; languages of self-excusing which were condemned in the past but resurfacing all over the place,” he said.

According to the Nobel Laureate, the Buhari administration glossed over intolerable degrees of bloodshed as if in a casual event or happening by accident, adding that there was also failure on the part of the administration to exact authority when and as at when due, a development he said had led to several killings in the country.

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“There is cheapening of lives. The value of lives in the last year or so on is on a level we haven’t witnessed in the country for a long time,” he lamented.

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He said the situation like this was one of the reasons why it had become essential that the country “embark on ground clearing for a new generation of leaders and to make sure that in the process, we don’t bring back what we are just getting out from.”

“That is one of the stupid acts that we could be held responsible by the coming generation,” Soyinka warned.

The Nobel Laureate, however, expressed the belief that opportunity still existed between now and 2019 for reforms and total overturn, saying that whatever it would take to secure the nation should be done in order to give the people a new sense of dignity and humanity.

Speaking further, Soyinka also took a swipe at former President Olusegun Obasanjo, describing him as a hypocrite and a pretender who capitalised on every opportunity to make himself relevant.

According to him, “Obasanjo isn’t a stupid man but reads the wind and moves in. He is busy hijacking existing movements. And that is why I have warned many that have movement and that includes him, to be careful because he could hijack them.

“He frustrated the June 12 and often puts himself forward on any issue. He is welcome to reform and as his slogan maybe, the redemption process has started.”

The Nobel Laureate also expressed absolutely displeasure with Obasanjo on how he rubbished the late Chief Bola Ige over the power sector crisis, lamenting that despite efforts made by the minister in power ministry, Obasanjo later claimed that Ige never knew his left from his right.

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“After Ige died, Obasanjo claimed that the deceased never knew his left from his right. I found that statement unforgivable. He owes him for maligning him and sabotaging his genuine and structured efforts to transform the power sector of the country.

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“I was here when Ige moved his office to Lagos to solve the power problem of Nigeria. He deliberately sabotaged the efforts of the late minister. Before Ige took office, he summoned a group of experts and mapped out a strategy to transform the power sector. But he was sabotaged from the inside because he begged me to persuade Obasanjo to remove Sulaiman Bello from office.

“This was the man he believed was used to sabotage his efforts and the consequence we are still suffering today. Obasanjo protected the saboteurs of the power sector and that is why I challenged him to engage me publicly,” Soyinka boasted.

Speaking further, Soyinka said he could not remember the good things that Obasanjo did during his tenures as president, declaring that it would be difficult to find one.

“I don’t remember the good he has done. It will be very difficult to find one. I can’t remember one at this moment. There are many groups emerging with a very good manifesto and it is a long time between now and next year. The field is wide open,” he said.

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On the defection of the Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prof. Soyinka said the governor had the right to choose which party he wanted to belong and that no one should crucify him for that.

This was just as he read out the letter he said he wrote to the governor where he made his position on Ortom’s defection clear.

“My position is clear on the challenges facing your state. As the leader of a state that experienced attacks, you have a right to seek the promise of an alternative means of security for your people because they remain your primary responsibility.

“We are all free over the actual choice of an alternative destination but no one can deny the inalienable entitlement to such action, especially when they are provoked by disillusionment and sense of impotence under existing association,” Soyinka said in the letter.

Soyinka also told Ortom in the letter to expect the sudden beginning of a heavy-handed campaign, reprisal and unruly circles over his political decision, adding: “I can only urge you to remain resilient, unbowed and undeterred.”

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He, however, concluded that he did not believe that Governor Ortom should be crucified by any power or force for taking the decision to defect from APC to PDP.

“I do not believe that Ortom, should be crucified by any power or force for taking the decision,” Soyinka concluded.

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