Interview Excerpts: “There has to be civil mobilization” – Prof Wole Soyinka raises alarm, advises President Buhari

Paying Social Media Jobs
Professor Wole Soyinka
Professor Wole Soyinka
Social sharing

These are edited excerpts from BBC Interview with Prof Wole Soyinka where he talked about the woeful danger of the security situation in Nigeria. He warned that if care is not imminently taken, the situation may escalate into serial of escalating violent skirmishes and eventually swell into war.

The Nobel laureate said that war is already on Nigeria’s doorstep and that there has to be a civil mobilisation. He said that if Nigerians should wait for the Federal Government of President Muhammadu Buhari to centrally handle the situation in the country that it means we will all become slaves in our own land which he said is personally intolerable to him.

“It’s not an acceptable condition, and whatever it takes, I stand ready to contribute in any way,” he said.

Professor Wole Soyinka said that people are meant to live in dignity but right now in Nigeria people’s dignity is already rubbished. He lamented that his forest is being taken over and has been shrinking and shrinking due to encroachment by foreign invaders.

“My normal hunting grounds it’s been shrinking, shrinking. My family told me that if I go in there again they will have me institutionalised,” he lamented.

When BBC correspondent asked him, what would you be expecting from the President at this time, and what he thinks the president needs to do to tell people that it is no longer business as usual.

Professor Wole Soyinka responded that President Buhari should address the nation. That he should address the nation in very stern unambiguous terms. That he should speak openly and accept that, yes he is the patron of the cattle rearers association etcetera-etcetera.

That he is a cattle rancher himself and that he runs his business on business terms. That he does not run his business by killing, raping, displacing nor torturing people. That he does not run his business by occupying land that does not belong to him.

And that he is warning all business people, in the food commodity, all the cattle rearers, that whatever comes to them for illegal occupation, or for trespassing on other people’s property is their business. That he is ordering the Army and all the security forces to back citizens effort in flushing the criminal herders out.

Wole Soyinka said that he is expect nothing less, even at this stage. “it’s very late already, but it’s not too late. This is the language that I expect from President Buhari, and as long as that language does not come, I must consider him quite complicit in what is going on because the buck stops at his desk,” he said.

READ ALSO  Estate Residents Seeks Sanwo-Olu’s Intervention, IGP, Over Demolition, Despite Court Order

When asked, what is your biggest fear about where we are now?

Professor Wole Soyinka expressed that his biggest fear is that Nigeria may enter a phase of serial of skirmishes which gets more and more violent, becomes less and less focused and swell or develop into a civil war, and a very untidy, messy one at that.

“That’s my biggest fear, and unless action is taken.. and I’m very glad that the Governors are coming together and discussing all, seriously, in all seriousness. I’m very glad that they are even pulling in renegade groups like Miyetti Allah for instance and obviously taking sense, knocking some sense into his head. I noticed, into the heads of their spokes leaders and representatives. I noticed that they are now talking about accepting the decisions of the governors and agreeing to obey the rules. Very different from the defiant, arrogant language it was using when Benue was.. totally unconscionable language after the Benue killings.”

When the BBC reporter asked about Sunday Igboho the Yoruba activist who has also taken his stand. He has been in the news in the last couple of days, in about a few weeks, some are criticizing his stand, some are saying he’s going overboard. Some talk about excesses and all that. Have you met him? What do you think about his actions and how he’s carrying on?

Prof. Wole Soyinka responded and said that he has never met Sunday Igboho and debunked the news headline that said that he called Sunday Igboho a hero. He said that was insulting because he never made such a statement.

In responding to the question on what he thinks about Igboho’s actions and how he’s carrying on, Professor Wole Soyinka said that Sunday Igboho has responded to a situation in the way he knew how.

“This is the way these things really happen, somebody one day when he reaches his explosion point, and he says I can not take this any longer, and he takes unilateral action. He can not, the action may be excessive, it may be wrong. What matters is that somebody has responded to an unacceptable situation. Any error which he makes is for the rest of us to correct by calling him. And I know that a number of people are doing that.”

READ ALSO  Former Vice President, Ekwueme finally flown abroad for medical treatment

Professor Wole Soyinka
Professor Wole Soyinka

Some transcribed excerpts from the BBC Interview With Professor Wole Soyinka

What do they expect of us now, now that this war is on our doorsteps? Of course, there has to be civil mobilization, and if we keep waiting, for this to be centrally handled, well we’re all going to become if we’re not already slaves in our land. That to me is personally intolerable. It’s not an acceptable condition, and whatever it takes, I stand ready to contribute in any way, And I’ve made my governor understand this, that we are here not just to live but to live in dignity. Right now, our dignity is rubbished. My forest is been taken over. It’s been shrinking, shrinking. My normal hunting grounds it’s been shrinking, shrinking. My family told me that if I go in there again they will have me institutionalised.

What would you be expecting from the President at this time? What do you think he needs to do to tell people that it is no longer business as usual.

BBC Correspondent
BBC Correspondent

Address the nation. Address the nation in very stern unambiguous terms. Say openly, yes I’m the patron of the cattle rearers association etcetera-etcetera. I’m a cattle rancher myself. It’s a business and I run my business on business terms. I do not run my business by killing people, I do not run my business by raping, by displacing, by torturing. I do not run my business by occupying land that does not belong to me. And I’m warning all business people, in the food commodity, all the cattle rearers, whatever comes to you for illegal occupation, or for trespassing on other people’s property is your business and I’m ordering the Army, I’m ordering all the security forces to back citizens effort in flushing you out.

Expect nothing less, even at this stage, it’s very late already, but it’s not too late. This is the language that I expect from President Buhari, and as long as that language does not come, I must consider him quite complicit in what is going on because the buck stops at his desk.

READ ALSO  Bomb planted on road kills 4 in northeast Kenya - official

What is your biggest fear about where we are now?

We may have, we may enter a phase of serial of skirmishes which gets more and more violent, becomes less and less focused and swell into, I hate to use the word, may develop into a civil war, and a very untidy, messy one at that.

That’s my biggest fear, and unless action is taken.. and I’m very glad that the Governors are coming together and discussing all, seriously, in all seriousness. I’m very glad that they are even pulling in renegade groups like Miyetti Allah for instance and obviously taking sense, knocking some sense into his head. I noticed, into the heads of their spokes leaders and representatives. I noticed that they are now talking about accepting the decisions of the governors and agreeing to obey the rules. Very different from the defiant, arrogant language it was using when Benue was.. totally unconscionable language after the Benue killings.

Ok, let’s talk about Sunday Igboho, the Yoruba activist who has also taken his stand. He has been in the news in the last couple of days, in about a few weeks, some are criticizing his stand, some are saying he’s going overboard. Some talk about excesses and all that. Have you met him? What do you think about his actions and how he’s carrying on?

No, we’ve never met, and I hope people will always report this properly. I saw a headline, or what do I call it, a media report, “Wole Soyinka calls Igboho a hero,” or something like that. I never did that. It’s very insulting, but Sunday Igboho has responded to a situation in the way he knew how. Now you will see that he’s trying to work with others. This is the way these things really happen, somebody one day when he reaches his explosion point, and he says I can not take this any longer, and he takes unilateral action. He can not, the action may be excessive, it may be wrong. What matters is that somebody has responded to an unacceptable situation. Any error which he makes is for the rest of us to correct by calling him. And I know that a number of people are doing that.

About 9News Nigeria 7500 Articles
9News Nigeria is Nigeria's favourite news source.For Authentic, Unbiased News on Politics, Business, Sports, Technology, Entertainment and Lifestyles, Health, Nollywood, Crime and Investigations, Family and Relationships, Inspirations .. and much more.For Latest News from Africa and around the world, 9News Nigeria is your best source. WhatsApp +2348115805632 Email: info@9newsng.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/9NewsNG | Twitter/Instagram: @9newsng

Be the first to comment

Leave your comment

Paying Social Media Jobs
Paying Social Media Jobs
Paying Social Media Jobs