Soyinka warns Nigerians on Buhari, Jonathan

Posted by News Express | 17 February 2015 | 2,689 times

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Professor Wole Soyinka has called on Nigerians to be prepared to deal with new betrayal by any ruler with the same kind of passion, commitment and understanding as they did with former military dictator, late General Sani Abacha, saying “we cannot continue this cycle of repetitious evil and irresponsibility.”

The Nobel Laureate said this while speaking with Will Ross, in an interview on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) radio, early on Monday morning.

Soyinka, speaking on the forth coming election, warned Nigerians to be wary of making a wrong choice, warning that “the way you fight a civilian misrule is different from the way you deal with people like Sani Abacha.”

“All I know is that if a wrong choice is made, we must all be prepared and we should start preparing to go back to the trenches whatever it takes,” Soyinka said.

Soyinka said anything which “smells” like permanent incumbency will later lead to interruption. “But you know the environment changes, circumstances change and even the worst military can become self-internally demobilised, if you like,” Soyinka said.

The text of the interview is presented below:

His views on government’s recent actions…

It is back way and forward, there are many actions by government in power which I won’t say is democratic, you know let’s have a fair war; it is not yet deep enough.

In the last few months, there have been a lot of people criticising President Goodluck Jonathan, especially over the situation in the North-East, abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls, that became known all over the world, how will you assess how he has performed?

What happened is a clear failure on leadership. One cannot hold government solely on this, the responsibility actually spread around because the Boko Haram thing began in various ways a long time ago. There was a time they attempted Islamisation of this nation and it should have been stamped upon using the secular nature of the constitution as a weapon. While definitely the responsibility for what is going on now rests with Jonathan, the problem began with the previous government.

General Muhammad Buhari was in power in 1980s under military dictatorship, how do you feel about someone trying to get back to power from those days?

Basically, for me, anything which so smells of em... or shall we say permanent incumbency will later lead to interruption, perhaps, it is not very palatable. But you know the environment changes, circumstances change and even the worst military can become self-internally demobilised, if you like.

Because of your opinion of General Buhari back in those days was pretty damning in your memoirs, you referred to him as a ‘brutal devil,’ you said: ‘In my calculation no spoon existed long enough to justify the risk of even an impromptu snack with him’ displaying on your description of using long spoon to dine with people you don’t want to...

I didn’t actually call him a devil, but I talked about dining with a devil with a long spoon and he, I don’t even want to dine with him at all. After Abacha, I think they represented the most brutal face of military dictatorship, there is no question at all about that, I’ve got to a point where I look at the possibility of genuine internal transformation in some individuals. I’ve been disappointed before and we must always be ready to be disappointed again. All I know is that if a wrong choice is made, we must all be prepared and we should start preparing to go back to the trenches whatever it takes.

What do you mean by that - go back to the trenches?

Let’s put it this way, the way you fight a civilian misrule is different from the way you deal with people like Sani Abacha. So, I’m 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 they did with Sani Abacha, because we cannot continue this cycle of repetitious evil and irresponsibility, that’s what I mean.

Sourced from Nigerian Tribune. Photo shows Soyinka.


Source: News Express

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