Wole Soyinka, playwright and Nobel laureate, says he concurs with ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo that Nigeria is drifting towards a failed and divided state.
On Friday, Obasanjo accused the Buhari administration of mismanaging the country. “Today, Nigeria is fast drifting to a failed and badly divided state, economically our country is becoming a basket case and poverty capital of the world, and socially, we are firming up as an unwholesome and insecure country,” Obasanjo had said.
Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, replied the former president, describing him as Nigeria’s divider-in-chief.
But in a statement entitled, ‘Between dividers-in-chief and dividers-in-law’, Soyinka commended Obasanjo, whom he described as “co-architect of the crumbling edifice that is still generously called Nigeria”, for speaking out on the state of the nation.
According to Soyinka, Nigeria has never been divided as it is “under the policies and conduct of none other than President Buhari”.
The Nobel laureate also said the government has turned deaf ears to the counsel of well-meaning Nigerians.
“I am notoriously no fan of Olusegun Obasanjo, General, twice former president and co-architect with other past leaders of the crumbling edifice that is still generously called Nigeria. I have no reasons to change my stance on his record. Nonetheless, I embrace the responsibility of calling attention to any accurate reading of this nation from whatever source, as a contraption teetering on the very edge of total collapse.
“We are close to extinction as a viable comity of peoples, supposedly bound together under an equitable set of protocols of co-habitation, capable of producing its own means of existence, and devoid of a culture of sectarian privilege and will to dominate.
“The nation is divided as never before, and this ripping division has taken place under the policies and conduct of none other than President Buhari – does that claim belong in the realms of speculation?
“Does anyone deny that it was this president who went to sleep while communities were consistently ravaged by cattle marauders, were raped and displaced in their thousands and turned into beggars all over the landscape? Was it a different president who, on being finally persuaded to visit a scene of carnage, had nothing more authoritative to offer than to advice the traumatised victims to learn to live peacefully with their violators?
Commenting on the listing of Buhari’s achievements by the presidency, Soyinka said it is the norm for any government to record any feat.
According to him, “it takes real genius to succeed in spending four years actually doing nothing. What it fails to do, or what it does wrongly, deceitfully or prejudicially is what concerns the citizenry”.
He added that Nigerians have lost hope and trust in the government.
“To reel off any achievements of a government – genuine or fantasised, trivial or monumental – is thus to dodge the issue, to ignore the real core concerns. No government, however inept, fails to record some form of achievement – this was why it were elected,” he said.
“What it fails to do, or what it does wrongly, deceitfully or prejudicially is what concerns the citizenry. Across this nation, there is profound distrust, indeed abandonment of hope in this government as one that is genuinely committed to the survival of the nation.”
“National divisiveness? Just where does culpability lie? Does centralist usurpation divide or bind? The answer is obvious in daily effects.”