Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, yesterday, warned that Nigeria was on the brink of another civil war and called for concerted actions to prevent the disaster.
Soyinka, who spoke at the 5th Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu Colloquium in Lagos, also chided President Goodluck Jonathan for failing to address the deteriorating level of insecurity in the country.
Themed: A national movement for change. A new generation speaks,” the colloquium was held at the MUSON Centre, Lagos.
He said: “Let us face it; this nation is on the brinks. Those who do understand it, I feel very sorry for them because they will one day wake up and find out that we have fallen as a nation. This is not what we envisaged when we struggled for independence. This is not what we envisaged when we struggled to overthrow military dictatorship and restore the rights and dignity of human beings. But whether we like it or not, it has come upon us.”
Chides Jonathan on insecurity
Berating President Jonathan for the worsening waves of insecurity, he said: “My problem with the government, especially the president of this nation is that he does not seem to realise, he has not taken into consideration, into cognizance that by now the president should be addressing the nation, giving details explaining why this nation is at war.”
To avert a second civil war, Soyinka said Nigerians should not see the Boko Haram insurgency as a regional problem, but as a national one.
He said: “Certain things have to be done to ensure that this nation is pulled back from the second round of what is leading towards a civil war. By now, we should be tightening our belt, we should not see what is happening in the North as being confined to the North; it is obvious all along that this is not a northern affair. No! We heard that recently that some cells have been found in Lagos, that is not new, it started years ago.
Boko Haram, a national problem
“Everyone should understand that the problem we are facing right now is not regional it is national and a human problem. It is called Boko Haram. That is the kind of language I believe the leadership of this nation should be imparting on Nigerian citizens.”
The Nobel Laureate, while commending the youths for utilizing the platform to make known their ideas said, “I was delighted when I learnt that the younger generation wanted to use this platform to voice their ideas. I want to thank the younger generations for utilizing whatever platform to reinstate our consciousness by speaking, I expect more, beyond politics, beyond mergers, beyond political parties, beyond partisanship, beyond regionalism and Roll call of personalities
Notable persons at the event included Governors Babatunde Fashola, SAN, Lagos; Ibikunle Amosun, Ogun; Rauf Aregbesola, Osun; Kayode Fayemi, Ekiti; and Adams Oshiomhole, Edo.
There were also Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi; National Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Chief Bisi Akande; Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope Adefulire, Senators Remi Tinubu, Chris Ngige, Annie Okonkwo and Buka Abba Ibrahim.
Others are Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola, Chief Tom Ikimi, General Alani Akinrinade (rtd), Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Eruwa, Wale Edun, Dele Alake, Femi Falana, and Professor Yemi Osibajo among others.
Grant Boko Haram amnesty—Tinubu
Speaking at the event, Tinubu renewed calls for the president to grant amnesty to the Islamic sect, Boko Haram.
He said the leader required by the country is someone who has the desire to bring change to the nation.
“I haven’t seen any educational certificate higher than Ph.D. But despite having someone with such education status, the situation is yet to change.
“The present president of the country is very young but he has been appointing 73 year-old man to manage the country’s port.”
He noted that the developments experienced in all ACN states was not based on age but rather on the desire by those who were elected by the citizens to rule the states.
Tinubu said: “We must do it with justice, those with human blood on their hands, must be brought to justice, but we cannot throw away the question of amnesty. It is a carrot and stick approach. We have done it before. Why can’t we do it again?. Surrender your gun and we give you money for it. Why can’t we do it?”