Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka has added his voice to the current debate over restructuring of the country.
According to him, Nigeria has been deconstructed and what we live in right now, as a nation, does not allow the expression of the true will of people.
Soyinka made his position known in Lagos when he announced the 10 Nigerian writers, who would be leaving for Lebanon in a cultural exchange programme between The Wole Soyinka Foundation and Cedar Institute at the University of Lebanon.
He accused those arguing for a restructuring of the mind of intellectual dishonesty and said Nigeria was long overdue for restructuring or reconfiguration.
My own position is that people shouldn’t allow themselves be put up by those who try to cheat on the expression, ‘restructuring.’
“It doesn’t matter by what name you call it. We all know that this nation was deconstructed and what we live in right now, as a nation, is not allowing structuring that expresses the true will of Nigerians.
“People go to churches and mosques for their minds to be restructured. Restructuring the mind is not the issue; nobody is saying restructuring the mind should not be undertaken; anybody who is involved in examination already engages in mental and or attitudinal reconstruction.
“So people should not try to substitute one for another. I find it very dishonest and cheap, trivializing the issue when people said it is the mind, which needs to be restructured. Who is denying that? So, why bring it up? We’re talking about the protocol of the association of the constitutive part of the nation. We’re talking about decentralization, that is, another word. This country is over-centralized and that has been the bugbear of development, even of issues like security.
So, individuals should not now sidetrack the issue and concentrate on that rather than this. Are you saying we cannot reconstruct the mind and reconstruct the nation at the same time? My express advice to our citizen is, they shouldn’t allow themselves to sidetrack, called by whatever name; we are saying that this nation is long overdue for reconfiguring.”
He said the call from some quarters for secession should not be mistaken for the genuine call for reconfiguring the entire country. He advised President Buhari to deal with secession and see restructuring as a totally different proposition.
According to him, “O yes, we know that there are movements for secession. Let Buhari and the others go and address that one separately. This should not be mixed with the demand of the nation for reconfiguration. People should stop answering the demand for secession by pretending to answer the demand for reconfiguration. Secession is a totally different thing. To try and suggest that the moment you say restructure, you are calling for disintegration is, for me, intellectually dishonest. That is not the issue at all. The issue for the call for secession is totally different.’’
“Even if it is one state, that state has the right to say, listen to people, let us restructure this state; the protocols that went into the making of this state are no longer viable or have been distorted along the way or have been abandoned and we want to go back to the original set of protocols that created what we call his national entity. You can say you want to reinvent the wheels completely or you want to go back to the original protocols of association.
Speaking about the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration, Soyinka scored the President low on economic performance, saying there were areas of yawning gaps the administration has failed to address. He also scored the administration low on security and called for state policing at the community levels.
“When people talk about state police, there are reasons for it. When they talk about bringing policing right down to the community level, they know what they are talking about; this is also part of restructuring or reconfiguration of the articles of association,”.
“There’s a big question mark on the economy right now. Problem is, everybody admits that we went through a very dark patch. Right now, it’s a question of, have we come out of it or not? There is real internal economic hardship for the average Nigerian. When and where and how did the blame lay for the agony is a different matter.”