March 21, 2023


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Groups back Soyinka as Nobel Laureate says Buhari further dividing Nigerians

The pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, and the Pan-Niger Delta Forum have backed the Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, that the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) is to blame for the “alarming polarisation” of Nigeria.

The revered playwright and essayist had spoken on Wednesday during a morning television programme, Kakaaki, on AIT, which was monitored by one of our correspondents.

He said, “There is no question at all that Nigeria is alarmingly polarised and I blame this regime, I heap the major part of the responsibility on this regime because of its now undeniable nepotistic governance. I have already cited a couple of examples.

“Also, it has been pointed out, especially when Reverend Kukah made his statement, that there’s been more than double standard in the application of justice, application of attitude of government; depending on who is doing what and who is demanding what. The kinds of statements which come out of the Presidency are so parochial that those who make them should be ashamed of themselves and should have been thrown out of their positions ages ago. They are an embarrassment not only to any government, but to the nation itself. When something similar happened in another part of the country, just a few weeks ago, a different kind of approach was taken. So, there is distrust. It’s unfortunate that this is one of the legacies which this regime will be leaving behind when it finally leaves office.”

Soyinka said the present government had given up its battle against corruption, adding that the system had become corrupted so badly that court cases are being stretched out through technicalities.

“There are so many people who should be in prison if this government had not run out of steam, and so the system is being manipulated. There are cases where the prosecution had reached the level where evidence had been given on governors who had been stealing and depositing in bits and pieces so as not to flout a certain regulation. I mean cases have been taken to that level and suddenly, silence. The EFCC, which I back solidly ever since the days of (Nuhu) Ribadu, in all kinds of ways, we no longer know the distinguishing from rights and left,” he added.

On restructuring and devolution of powers, the laureate queried why the National Assembly refused to take responsibility since the executive had been hesitant on the issues.

“And it is the responsibility of the constituency to remind them of these derelictions, these failures to come up to scratch as expected when they come round next for elections,” he added.

‘Soyinka on point’

In its reaction, PANDEF spokesman, Ken Robinson, in a telephone chat with one of our correspondents agreed that the country was polarised.

Robinson said, “Absolutely, Wole Soyinka is right. The Buhari administration has created division and disaffection in the country. People are being alienated. People are being excluded.

“The administration is very exclusive. Appointments are largely based on ethnicity and religion, not on merit; you know until this appointment of new service chiefs, the whole military high command was occupied by persons from a section of the country.

“So people are feeling that the country is more divided than ever before the civil war, and to a large extent it’s true. It is very evidential that Buhari administration has polarized the country along ethnic and religious lines and it’s very sad.”

Also, Afenifere spokesperson, Yinka Odumakin, said, “The Nobel laureate is clearly spot on in his observation of the mishandling of the country by President Buhari and it is very shameful that this government has taken this country to this low level of ethnic discord caused by nepotism.”

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