Soyinka backs Obasanjo, says Nigeria close to extinction

Nobel Laureate Prof Wole Soyinka on Tuesday supported the criticism of former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo against the Muhammadu Buhari government, saying the country is close to extinction.

“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,” Soyinka said in a statement.

“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.”

Obasanjo, Nigeria’s president from 1999 to 2007 last week criticised the current government and claimed that Nigeria was slowly becoming a failed state and more divided under the Buhari.

The former president, a former ally of the Buhari, however, advised the government to unite the people, strengthen security and broker peace between communities and groups currently battling unrest.

But the Nigerian presidency described the former president as a ‘divider-in-chief’ and one that does not mean well for the government.

Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu in a statement said Obasanjo was only seeking self-gratification and attention but should not be taken serious.

However, Soyinka, said it was unfortunate that the government has not embraced the ‘truth’ that Nigeria was on an edge of total collapse.

Soyinka said the government spurned his earlier advice on the state of the nation, just as it did with Obasanjo’s.

“That advice appears to have fallen on deaf ears,” Soyinka said. “In place of reasoned response and openness to some serious dialogue, what this nation has been obliged to endure has been insolent distractions from garrulous and coarsened functionaries, apologists and sectarian opportunists.”

Soyinka stated that the “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 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?,” Soyinka said.

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