There Is Nothing Evil In Biafran Elements Seeking Secession – Soyinka
SAN FRANCISCO, December 09, (THEWILL) – Nobel Laureate and social crusader, Prof Wole Soyinka yesterday bared his mind on the pro-Biafra agitations in the Southeast and parts of South-south, stressing that there was nothing evil about secession.
Disclosing this at a Channels Television programme titled, 'Channels Book Club', the playwright revealed that the agitations did not come to him as a surprise since he had always believed that the Biafra idea cannot be defeated.
“I remember I wrote an article during the war and I said at that time that Biafra cannot be defeated. People misunderstood what I was saying. I said once an idea has taken hold, you cannot destroy that idea. You may destroy the people that carry the idea on the battlefield, but, ultimately, it is not the end of the story,” he explained.
Soyinka, who tasked the government to meet with pro-Biafran agitators so as to understand their feelings and know how to tackle them, advocated the convocation of a fresh National Conference which will really address the grievances of the pro-Biafra elements.
Insisting that there was nothing wrong in the proponents of Biafra seeking to secede from the country, he called to mind that Nigeria even ceded the Bakassi peninsula to Cameroun.
“So, let us sit down; let us talk once again about restructuring the nation in a way that no one will want to leave. The agitations, for me, are not surprising. It was expected that it would happen sooner or later.
“So, I am referring to a genuine and authentic National Conference. Not like the one that former President Olusegun Obasanjo called which was meant to try to perpetuate himself in office,” he advised.
The Nobel Laureate went on to defend his choice of President Muhammadu Buhari as a better candidate in the last presidential contest between him and former president Goodluck Jonathan, stressing that Nigeria could not have survived another four years of the immediate past president's rule.
He reasoned that the continuous revelation of looted funds meant for procurement of arms for the armed forces justifies his position that the country was being run aground by the last administration.
Recounting that he once described Buhari as a “devil for whom in my calculation, no spoon existed long enough to justify the risk even of an impromptu snack,” Soyinka explained that some of the President's trusted allies convinced him during the electioneering period that Buhari has changed, and that the highhandedness that characterized his military rule in the 80s cannot be repeated now.
Hear him, “At that time, we had reached the bottom. I believed that if the country underwent another four years under Jonathan, we could be in trouble. I then looked at Buhari. I talked to people they said he had changed.”
“We were left with two credible contestants in terms of catchment area for the nation. We had reached, in my view, the bottom. I became convinced that if this country underwent four more years under President Jonathan, the country would run aground completely. I looked at the record and said this cannot go on, this has to stop,” the Nobel Laureate said.