Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka has faulted President Muhammad Buhari’s policy concerning the sovereignty of Nigeria being non-negotiable.
Soyinka in an exclusive interview with PUNCH news said the structure of Nigeria is “bloody well negotiable” and should be negotiated in order to avoid the negative competition across the various regions of the country.
Soyinka is reported to have lambasted former leaders including Olusegun Obasanjo who insisted that Nigeria must not be restructured.
“I am on the side of those who say we must do everything to avoid disintegration. That language I understand. I don’t understand (ex-President Olusegun) Obasanjo’s language. I don’t understand (President Muhammadu) Buhari’s language and all their predecessors, saying the sovereignty of this nation is non-negotiable. It’s bloody well negotiable and we had better negotiate it. We better negotiate it, not even at meetings, not at conferences, but everyday in our conduct towards one another.
“We had better understand it too that when people are saying ‘let’s restructure’, they have better things to do. It’s not an idle cry; it is a perennial demand. The Pro-National Conference Organisation was about restructuring when this same Obasanjo said it was an act of treason for people to come together to fashion a new constitution. Those were fighting words; that you’re saying, ‘I commit treason because I want to sit with my fellow citizens and negotiate the structures of staying together’ and ask the police to go and break it up and arrest us.
“I remember that policeman, who said if we met, that would be treason. I wasn’t a member of PRONACO at the time. That’s when I joined PRONACO. If you’re saying to me, ‘I am a second-class citizen; I cannot sit down and discuss the articles, the protocols of staying together’ and you’re trying to bully me, I won’t accept.”
He added, “We cannot continue to allow a centralisation policy which makes the constituent units of this nation resentful; they say monkey dey work, baboon dey chop. And the idea of centralising revenues, allocation system, whereby you dole out; the thing is insulting and it is what I call anti-healthy rivalry. It is against the incentives to make states viable.”