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Obasanjo, Atiku feud is bad omen, says Soyinka

Posted by From Laolu Akande, New York on 2006/04/12 | Views: 592 |

Obasanjo, Atiku feud is bad omen, says Soyinka


NOBEL laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has described the open confrontation between President Olusegun Obasanjo and Vice President Abubakar as a bad omen for Nigeria.

NOBEL laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has described the open confrontation between President Olusegun Obasanjo and Vice President Abubakar as a bad omen for Nigeria.

In an exclusive interview with The Guardian in the United States (U.S.) last weekend, Soyinka said that the country was in grave danger of losing the democracy the citizens fought to gain.

Calling on Nigerians to gird their loins as the crisis might degenerate, Soyinka declared that "democracy is in danger, you don't know what you just might be doing which goes against this very intimate communication of unseen forces," in an apparent reference to Obasanjo's statement that God would decide for him on the third term issue.

Soyinka said: "It is a very dangerous situation and once again, I am calling on Nigerians to realise that we are in grave danger of losing even the democracy we fought for."

He warned the Obasanjo administration that the people would respond as the third term plot thickens. "The more crudely the regime shows its hands, the sooner the struggle begins," Soyinka said.

"The stage which we have reached, does it surprise anybody?" he queried, adding that with the recent developments in the country, Nigeria was in danger of losing democracy. He compared the Obasanjo-Atiku feud to the Lumumba-Kasavubu drama in Zaire decades ago, expressing concern that this was a "charade" which ought not to be happening at the level of political leadership.

Commenting on the security operatives' prevention of some anti-third legislators and other eminent Nigerians from holding a meeting at the Sheraton Hotel in Abuja last week, Soyinka noted that "this is the beginning of fascism." He was invited to that meeting, but Soyinka said he could not attend because he was at the Pro-National Conference Organisations (PRONACO) confab.

He said: "In other words, the principle of the rights of congregation of free expression is for me one of the most important pillars in the structure of democracy and this is where we should direct a lot of attention to."

The literary icon recalled that a similar treatment was meted out when Second Republic Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Abubakar Rimi's party wanted to hold a meeting. He also pointed to the arbitrariness of the police in the violation of people's rights, saying that it amounted to an "arrogance of power." He reminded the police that 'the carrying out of such an order is an illegality," and that one day, the people would call on the Nigeria Police Force to account for its actions.

Revealing a clear disposition to do his part to abort the third term plot, the renowned playwright said: "This plot is dishonest, dishonorable and is against all we have fought for, including the battle to free Obasanjo from (Abacha's) prison where he and others were condemned."

"This is a mockery of that struggle of the sacrifices of people, a mockery of the death of Moshood Abiola, a mockery of the death of his wife, a mockery of the unsolved mystery behind the death of political stalwart and democrat Bola Ige. It goes all the way back and makes a mockery of all the martyrs of democracy in Nigeria," he lamented.

Soyinka said that the third term plot, which he disclosed had been on the cards long time ago, "is a nightmare and a horror."

He stated: "We knew this was coming, we continued to believe and hope that maybe there will be a rethink but for me personally and for many other people, this is an act of treachery on a level which is strikingly..." He insisted that the tenure elongation plot "is an act of treason" against the people, whose will, he said, was sovereign.

Soyinka dismissed claims of the protagonists of the third term that an extension of tenure was needed to finish the programmes of the Obasanjo government and the President's own reference to the need for his administration to anchor its reform in legislation.

To him, this is the "ultimate hubris," adding that Obasanjo was mortal and in seven years, he had failed to lay down a sustainable structure.

Condemning what he called the "arrogation of self to the status of divine competence," Soyinka remarked that the business of any nation was unfinished business.

On Obasanjo's interview with The Washington Post where he alluded to God not being a God of abandoned projects, Soyinka retorted: "Much of African leadership is very much an abandoned project." In any case, he added that "God is no longer speaking to Obasanjo."

He continued: "The essence of efficiency and responsibility is the ability to lay down structures, structures are far more important than the individual, I mean after some time he must go. Is he saying that if he dies tomorrow, his reforms and structures will collapse?"

Soyinka then questioned Obasanjo's connection of himself to divine omnipotence, saying: "He should have created structures that are strong and durable as well as geared towards the welfare of the people. The work of a nation is unfinished business if you take note of most advanced nations."

Asked about his reaction to former Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida's declaration of intent to be president again, Soyinka asked Nigerians to reject former military leaders, especially those who have held political office.

He added that the military lost its claim to cleaning the Augean stable and had itself become part of the problem.

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Comments (3)

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Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

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Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.