Nigeria Is Over-Centralised says Prof. Wole Soyinka


Soyinka Speaks On APC Second Tenure, Says Nigeria Is Over-Centralised  Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka has expressed disgust over the debates on the re-election of some politicians in the country. Reacting to the declaration of supports by the All Progressives Congress, APC to President Muhammadu Buhari vs Atiku Abubakar, for 2019 presidential election, Prof. Soyinka decry the insecure state of the nation. According to him, an average Nigerian was now less secure than he was a few years ago.

The Nobel laureate spoke with some journalists after a press briefing to unveil the second batch of students departing Nigeria for Lebanon on Tuesday for the Study Abroad In Lebanon programme by The Cedars Institute, Lebanon, in collaboration with The Wole Soyinka Foundation. Soyinka wondered why people are planning to fill political positions if the current administration had barely gone halfway. “Why are we talking about second term for heaven’s sake? I don’t understand this.

I refuse to be part of that discussion. I absolutely refuse to be part of the discussion,” he said when asked if he would endorse Mr. Buhari for a second tenure. Commenting on the performance of the current administration, the playwright said there were “yawning gaps.” “Take simple security for instance,” he said. “The average citizen feels less secure now than he did a few years ago; that is evident.

When people talk about state police, there are reasons for it. When they talk about bringing policing right down to the community level, they know what they are talking about. This is also part and parcel of reconstruction or reconfiguration. “The economy, there is a big question about it right now. Fortunately, everybody admits that we went through a very bad patch.

Right now, it is a question of have we come out of it or not or there is no question at all. “The past few years have been years of real internal economic disaster for the average citizen.’’ On the issue of restructuring, Soyinka pointed that the nation is in a de-constructive mode which no longer expresses the true will Nigerians, adding that people shouldn’t allow themselves to be put off by those who tried to cheapen the word “restructuring”.

“When people use words like ‘restructuring, re-configuring or call it reconfiguration, return to status quo, or call it reformulating the protocols of our association or used a single word like restructuring, it doesn’t matter. Everybody knows what we are talking about. That is number one. “Also, there are those who try to divert the attention away from the main issue by mouthing platitudes, clichés like it is the mind that needs restructuring. You know those I am referring to.

“This is a constant process—restructuring the mind. It is both an individual exercise as well as a theological exercise. People go to church and mosque to have their minds restructured. They go to school and extramural classes to have their minds restructured. Restructuring the mind is not the issue. “Nobody is saying that the exercise of restructuring the mind should not be undertaken; it should be undertaken.

Anybody who indulges in self-examination is already engaging in an exercise of mental and attitudinal reconstruction. We know that. People shouldn’t try to substitute one for the other. “I find it very dishonest and cheap time-serving, trivialising the issue when I hear expressions like ‘it is the mind that needs to be restructured.’ Who is arguing or denying that? Why bring it up? Why is it a substitute?

We are talking of de-centralisation. That is another word. This country is over-centralised. “Are you saying we cannot reconstruct the mind and reconstruct the nation at the same time? Call it by whatever name. We are saying that this nation is long overdue for re-configuring. That is the expression I choose to use now.’’ Soyinka, who also commented on Buhari’s position that Nigeria’s unity was settled and not negotiable in the President’s speech after returning from his medical trip to the UK, said it is another deploy for sidetracking the issue when nobody is talking about disuniting Nigeria.

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