10 May 2014

Nigeria: This Govt Has Failed, but Nigeria Is Redeemable - Soyinka

Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka has described the President Goodluck Jonathan-led federal government as a huge failure to the Nigerian people. Prof. Soyinka made this assertion while answering questions as a guest on the BBC's Hardtalk show yesterday.

The Nobel laureate, who was reacting to issues raised on the abducted Chibok girls and general insecurity in Nigeria, said the primary task of any government is to be responsible to its citizens.

When asked about an April 17, 2014 LEADERSHIP editorial that described Nigeria as a failed state, Soyinka said he has had cause to use that expression himself. He said, "I have had moments when I feel Nigeria is a failed state but it is not beyond redemption."

"I must express my feelings that this government has failed the nation.

"The primary task right now for me is to demonstrate our sense of responsibility to those we bring into the world and those we send to danger zones."

"If we fail them, we fail the entire nation and lose our self-respect," Soyinka said.

He reiterated that the ongoing global action on the missing Chibok girls must be sustained until the students are brought home. Noting that it will be a mistake to think that what is happening now affects only one section of the nation, he said there are cells breaking out in the southern part of the country. "It is only a matter of time before we are overwhelmed in the south," he warned.

When asked if he believed the president should resign, Soyinka told his host: "Let me tell you something: if I have the conviction one way or the other, I will be the first person to call the president (to say) for the sake of this nation, you must sacrifice whatever ambitions you have and you must hand over to whatever kind of transitional... I won't say it in public. I will say it to him first."

He noted that Nigerians have not given up on the girls but said he is hurt at the pace in which the federal government has handled the situation so far.

That one small sect cannot hold the entirety of a secular system to follow their beliefs, he said.

He expressed dissatisfaction that Nigeria is not progressing in the right direction. He also frowned at the position of the president that corruption is not an endemic problem in Nigeria.

On politics he said, "Thank goodness Nigerians has not given up, otherwise you would not have the demonstration going on, the discoursse in very strident terms.

"Every society has it own moments of critical mass. Nigeria has finally reached its own moment of critical mass. For me it is very belated. It is not belated it is late. It should have happen much earlier."

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