Soyinka, Ijaw literary icons converge in Kaima

Posted by News Express | 15 July 2017 | 1,535 times

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Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka on Friday in Yenagoa faulted arguments by some people that Nigeria should not be restructured.

According to him, while the country should not be left as it is, Nigeria was negotiable.

He made the remarks during a colloquium with the theme: “A Day with the Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka and Ijaw Literary Icons,” held at the Ijaw National Academy, Kaiama, Bayesla State, and moderated by renowned poet, Odia Ofeimun.

At the event, which was also graced by other literary giants including Dr. Gabriel Okara, Prof Ebiegberi Alagoa and Prof John Pepper Clark, Bayelsa State Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson said Nigeria’s unity was negotiable.

Soyinka said: “My response is simple. We must stop confusing and mixing up the argument. It is very unfortunate for our leaders to say that the question of breaking up or not breaking up should not have arisen in the first place. It all sounds hypocritical, dogmatic and dictatorial. The statement whether the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable, that to me is a falsititude.

“Anything is negotiable, the right for people to determine their future is what is non-negotiable. Most nations came to being through negotiation.

“Sometimes, when people say negotiate, what they really mean is restructure. What the question should be is: 'Should Nigeria break up?' My answer to that is 'No.' But please don’t tell me that Nigeria, as it stands, is non-negotiable. For me, this is a fallacy.

“The nation has got to be negotiated; negotiation includes ensuring that there is no marginalisation. Negotiation means control of resources, negotiation has to do with restructuring a nation in a way that the components and constituents are not feeding an over-bloated centre to the detriment of their development. The language we should use is what are you willing to sacrifice? What effort are you willing to make to ensure Nigeria remains intact? That is the question.”

Also speaking, Dickson said while the unity of Nigeria was desirable and negotiable and that aggrieved nationalities should sit down and dialogue.

“Nigeria’s unity is negotiable and desirable. The answer on whether to break up is 'No!' There is a desire to stay as one. Ask questions about what is happening, there are several things to negotiate.

“If we can control our resources, we will do more for our people. All we need to do is to talk about existence, our living together. Let’s sit down and talk.”


Source: News Express

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