A National Embarrassment

The Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, yesterday, lampooned President Muhammadu Buhari over his alleged refusal to obey court orders, describing it as a national embarrassment.

While speaking at the maiden Handshake Across Nigeria summit, with the theme: Nigeria beyond oil organised by Nzuko Umunna in partnership with The Core Federalists, which was held in Lagos on Monday, Prof. Wole Soyinka, described President Muhammadu Buhari’s failure to obey court orders as a national embarrassment.
The Nobel Laureate who was the keynote speaker, also said present and past leaders have consistently abandoned recommendations made by Nigerians on different occasions on how to move the country forward, adding that restructuring the country is not an option but a necessity that will help avoid the constant bloodshed in the country and guarantee its unity.
“We want government to understand that they are part of the community and have been given a mission of carrying out the will of the people. Insecurity has reached a certain level that even when we bring experts in, they wonder what exactly they have come to do. They are given a certain problem to solve and when they arrive here, they meet another problem.
“We have had many instances of armed killer herdsmen who wreak havoc across communities in the country and, rather than show empathy to the victims, the Inspector General of Police goes there to say they were killed because they blocked the grazing routes for cattle.
“One way of stopping the bloodbath is to reconfigure the nation. States must be given maximum control over their resources. There are some who prefer to grow rice, there are others who prefer to grow religion and we know where religion has taken us, today.
“Some people will like to say it is not really religion that has gotten us to where we are. I agree with you, but, some people have manipulated religion to suit their purpose.
“Those insisting on restructuring do so because they know that there is something wrong with the state of Nigeria. Many times, Nigerians have come together to proffer solutions and the way forward for the country, but, after spending so much time and effort, nothing ever comes out of it. The recommendations are left to gather dust. How much longer shall we continue like this?
“Forgiveness is a virtue. Although I have the same temperament as my late friend, Tai Solarin, but, it is a national embarrassment that our president has refused to obey our laws. Citizens should not be the one to choose to obey laws.”
President General of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, who also spoke at the event, said those campaigning against restructuring of Nigeria have painted an unfortunate and untrue picture.
He said: “The new model we propose for Nigeria recognises that revenue in the world, today, is promoted by two main sources namely, human capital development leveraging on technology to drive the critical sectors of the economy and agriculture.
“Nigeria beyond oil must contemplate the implementation of legislative independence to the federating units, sovereignty of mineral and oil resources to the federating units, a painstaking resolve to support all electoral processes and candidates that would bring about this change.”
Afenifere chieftain, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, who also spoke at the event, declared in Lagos that restructuring of Nigeria is now or never, saying that anyone who opposes restructuring is living in denial about the fragility of the country.
He said: “It is unfortunate that President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, do not understand each other as regards restructuring. I can understand the president’s predicament because education is necessary to comprehend what restructuring entails but, I do not know why the vice president, who is a professor of Law, does not know what it entails.
“How can the vice president say he wants devolution of powers, state police and the likes, yet, he says he does not understand what those who talk about restructuring want? If the man who is the president does not understand what restructuring is, because of his education deficiency, should the vice president not also know what it is?
“If you do not restructure, the country would break up. If you say that the unity of the country is non-negotiable, then, you do not have a choice than to restructure.”
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