The Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, has said that Nigerians no longer have hope in the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government as one that is genuinely committed to the survival of the nation as one.
In a statement on Tuesday, Mr Soyinka said Nigerian citizens no longer believe that the administration understands the minimal requirements for positioning the country as “a modern, functional space of productive occupancy.”
“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?” Mr Soyinka, a professor of literature wrote in the statement he titled Between ‘Dividers-in-chief’ and Dividers-in-law.
“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?
“And what happened to the Police Chief who had defied orders from his Commander-in-Chief to relocate fully to the trouble spot – he came, saw, and bolted, leaving the ‘natives’ to their own devices. Any disciplinary action taken against ‘countryman’? Was it a spokesman for some ghost president who chortled in those early, yet controllable stages of now systematised mayhem, gleefully dismissed the mass burial of victims in Benue State as a “staged show” for international entertainment?
“Did the other half of the presidential megaphone system not follow up – or was it, precede? – with the wisdom that they, the brutalized citizenry, should learn to bow under the yoke and negotiate, since “only the living” can enjoy the dividends of legal rights?”
Mr Soyinka’s criticism came days after former President Olusegun Obasanjo warned that the country is slowly becoming a failed, divided state, and the poverty capital of the world.
In its response, the Presidency attacked Mr Obasanjo, describing him as the country’s “divider-in-chief.”
Mr Soyinka said while he is no fan of Mr Obasanjo, he agrees with him that Nigeria is “teetering on the very edge of total collapse.”