NIGERIA is on the edge of total collapse, Nobel laureate Prof Woke Soyinka said on Tuesday.
He gave his backing to former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s claim that Nigeria is becoming a failed state and more divided under President Muhammadu Buhari.
Soyinka said the Federal Government’s tactics of “aggressively” denying that Buhari’s policies and conduct were responsible, would lead to “collective suicide.”
In a statement titled: “Between ‘Dividers-in-chief’ and Dividers-in-law,” Soyinka said former President correctly read the state of the nation.
Obasanjo, last week said the Buhari administration had made Nigeria the headquarters of poverty.
The former president blamed the country’s current state on poor management of the nation’s diversity.
But the Presidency, returned the salvo, describing Obasanjo as Nigeria’s “Divider-in-chief.”
Soyinka also said it was obscene to shed any tear for terror gang leader (Terwase) Akwaza, known as Gana”.
He said: “Still on security, any tear that is shed for the arch-bandit and multiple murdered Akwaza known as Gana is an obscenity.
“Tears of trepidation are falling fast and furious over the conduct of an army that eliminates a captive in cold blood, side-tracking the rationality of professional investigations and legitimate pursuit of felons and other enemies of society.
“The issue here is not one of the appropriateness of a policy of Amnesty – that constitutes a larger debate in its place. The issue here – and a critical one – is that a Wanted Man, on his way to surrender, has been killed in cold blood.
“I read yesterday that the Army has followed this up with a demand for the bounty earlier placed by the Benue State governor on the head of the wanted man. However, all reports so far indicate that he was on his way to surrender?
“And so, is this bounty demand a joke? An end then to such gallows humour! And certainly not now, not while the nation is freshly reeling from the latest horror of the targeting of unarmed Road Safety officials, gunned down in cold blood in their commuter bus, and the mass kidnapping of survivors.
“Shall we presume that the surviving casualties of routine duty rosters are also nation-dividers if they scream out for protection and deplore a breakdown in the entire security architecture of the nation?”
The elder statesman and playwright suggested that if the Presidency was rankled by the voices of individual critics, perhaps, the time is ripe for a “Nation Survival Conference” where everyone could share thoughts on, ideas and solutions to the country’s problems.
Soyinka said: “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. I have no reasons to change my stance on his record.
“Nonetheless, I embrace the responsibility of calling attention to any accurate reading of this nation from whatever source, as a contraption teetering on the very edge of total collapse.
“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.
“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?”
According to Soyinka, inequity reigns in the country and solutions to the nation’s problems are being trivialised by the Buhari administration.
He said: “Again and again voices are raised to urge the dismantling of a crude, militarised centralist contraption – repeatedly exposed in illegalities — and substitute a more efficient governance system, decentralised, providing broader access to opportunities.
“All such efforts are turned into opportunities for legislative junketing and budget padding. Legislators watch with indifference in this day of human advance, as individuals are sentenced to hang for expressing their views on the relative apprehension of religious avatars, not a squeak emerge from such lawgivers.
“Pedophiles and cross-border sex traffickers are honoured in the act, granted immunity on cooked-up alibis of religion. Is this nation a theocracy?
“Nigeria is a suppurating slaughter slab, and it boggles the mind that supposedly wise and lettered men, sheltering under any religious mandate, would go into a solemn huddle to ‘legitimately’ augment the toll of mindless killings that now plague the land.
“Presumably, the ongoing ‘national security’ persecution of Obadiah Mailafia is a sign of national unity? I invite our marionettes to read deeply into history. Oh, excuse me, history has been banned from learning structures, so look not for history books! However, straightforward, first-hand testimonies abound, exposing structural flaws, deceits and conspiracies against this presumptive national edifice.”