“It will be difficult for Nigeria to remain One” | WOLE SOYINKA

The literary Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, said on Monday, that Nigeria is on a suicide slide, if the federal government fails to urgently address the acceleration of disintegration which started a few years ago.

He also said it will be difficult for Nigeria to remain one, if the present government fails to decentralize as fast as possible.

However, efforts to get the reaction of the Presidency proved abortive at press time last night, as calls and text messages sent to the telephone lines of the two presidential spokesmen, Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu, respectively, were not replied.

Soyinka, who spoke in an interview on Arise TV, said: “On this so-called democracy, we are embarking on a nose-dive or what I will describe as suicide drive and Buhari needs to listen to all different agitations and initiatives which are taking place around him.

“He should recognize the fact that the tempo of disintegration of this country has accelerated in the last couple of years beyond anything we ever knew since the civil war, and I’m not sure Nigeria can remain as one if we fail to decentralize.

“If Nigeria fails to decentralize as fast as possible, in such a way that people will see it manifesting, then Nigeria cannot stay together. If a nation is on suicide slide, the people who feel that they do not deserve that kind of suicidal slide have a right to say sorry, we are getting off this plane before it nose-dived.

“I am beginning to believe that people have different definitions for democracy, particularly our political leaders and I’m beginning to wonder whether this government, led by Buhari, really understands the implication and full responsibility and commitment involved when people say they are practising democracy.”

Insisting that the President must address the nation, Soyinka said: “First of all, Buhari must address the nation. I don’t mean the kind of interview he granted on television where he says he was healthy.

“He must admit that we are in a state of war and we must be prepared for the worst, but at the same time, the government is in full solidarity behind the people.

“He needs to make people understand that sacrifices will be made and can even go as far as telling people that they will do away with some government life style because there is internal enemy which is eating into the nation’s intestine.

“He needs to start talking to people as a leader who is awake to the reality of situation, then let us see action taken, he has to take people into confidence.”

Soyinka said he will not subscribe to the notion that people of Nigeria are the problem because they had shown willingness for a better Nigeria.

“Our problem as a country is not that of people but leadership because people have shown that they are ready to act to save their own community.

“People also take to the streets in demonstration and expression of their grievances. Government needs to understand that the idea of threatening people doesn’t work any longer,’’ he said.

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