Nigeria’s only Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka says he has lost complete trust in the Nigerian system after he was “bombarded with horrendous narratives” about the election
Professor Wole Soyinka Nigeria’s only Nobel Laureate told Channels TV, Monday, said that the just concluded presidential and gubernatorial elections as “not exactly the most edifying exercise that we’ve been through.”
“On arriving, I came in for the World Poetry Day, and immediately, I was bombarded by the most horrendous narratives both pre and after the elections,” he said referring to the mayhem unleashed by supporters of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate Bola Tinubu on the Igbo ethnic group in Lagos.
Soyinka stated that he had been out of the country for several months and was a guest on the station’s Roadmap 2023 breakfast programme.
“Since then, I’ve also read columns; I’ve seen Nigerian papers for the first time in months and I didn’t like what I read at all.”
“My trust has broken down completely and even the minimum restraint that we’ve learnt to expect from seasoned politicians have been jettisoned completely.” The Nobel Laureate lamented as Nigerians who can afford breakfast watched on TV.
Soyinka stressed that his prolonged absence from Nigeria does not mean he cannot comment on the tense situation prevailing in the country following the Labour Party(LP)’s presidential candidate Peter Obi challenging the results of the presidential poll, he was not ignorant of the happenings in the country.
Waxing metaphorically, the celebrated playwright said the country was now in a situation where the “existing mould” was going to be broken by chance.
“And the signs were there that there would be die-hard opposition to the breaking of that mould,” he said. “Elections should be keenly contested. But I still believe very much in what I call the Fashola Dictum.”
The Fashola dictum is ascribed to Babatunde Fashola the Works and Housing minister in the outgoing Buhari administration who said elections should be like festivals.
“They should be yet another aspect of the festive spirit of humanity – and this was anything but festive,” he said.
The Literature professor also called for a complete restructuring of the country. Whoever becomes president should understand that.
He said, “Whomever it is must understand that the people of this country will not cease demanding a restructuring of this nation.”
“New voices are being heard and they are more powerful than before. They are not just whining voices, they are voices based on actualities. We have failed in so many directions and they are saying, ‘let us try in this direction’ and you cannot ignore it.
“Otherwise, even your economic policies will fail, your infrastructure and transformation will fail. We will just go back threading the same old spur.”
The February 25th presidential and the March 18 gubernatorial polls were marred by widespread violence, voter intimidation and deliberate sabotage of the electoral process by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
Akowe with reports from Nigeria