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What did Obasanjo do to Soyinka?

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Wole Soyinka

Sir: The Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, spares nothing when it comes to criticizing the former president, General Olusegun Obasanjo (Obj) PhD. In Soyinka’s latest accusations, the corruption under the presidency of Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan was a continuation of the corruption of the Obj presidency, except that Soyinka did not say whether all (or some of) the money stolen under the Jonathan presidency went to Obj. What type of Nobel Laureate is that? Not only that, Soyinka blames Obj for the Boko Haram crisis, saying “Obasanjo contributed to the emergence of Boko Haram by not preventing the first governor, in one of the northern states, from establishing a ‘theocratic state’.” How can a Nobel Laureate be talking like that; which “first governor”, and who are the other governors? Which theocratic state is Soyinka talking about? He fails to explain.

Quite on the contrary, for whatever reason, Soyinka has been maintaining soft spot for the most brutal President of Nigeria, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (GMB) who added protection of the Fulani herdsmen terrorists to the ravaging war against Boko Haram. I read that “The Nobel Laureate said President Muhammadu Buhari has also failed in the area of security particularly with the herdsmen attacks”, thereby suggesting that as far as Soyinka is concerned, GMB is holier than his predecessors, since according to him, Obj and nobody else should be blamed for the Boko Haram insurgency. If Soyinka knows what he is talking about, it is not too late for him to tell the whole world what he means by “the first governor”, who the other governors are, and which theocratic states they created.

Yes, the Zamfara state fanaticism of Sani Yerima started during the first term of Obj, but even before the end of Obj’s first term, the madness of chopping-off people’s hands stopped (after about two cases only), and the entire northern agitation for Sharia rule fizzled out without degenerating to the level of insurgency which resulted from the late president Umaru Musa Yar’adua who abused his presidency to attack the Boko Haram Islamic sect-community of men, women, and children that did not attack anybody until attacked. Soyinka pretends not to know that GMB is a patron of the Fulani herdsmen terrorists, so that he (GMB) can be portrayed as the best, notwithstanding that life is worse for common Nigerians, security-wise, economically, and otherwise. GMB’s wife, Aisha, testifies to the corruption of GMB, saying she would establish a university to be named after him, to immortalize him.

Has GMB not immortalized himself as the most brutal President Nigeria has ever had? We are hearing stories of security operatives celebrating delivery of fighter jets, etc. We are hearing about negotiations to free persons abducted by Boko Haram, but not to free Nigeria as a nation. Yet, Soyinka’s preoccupation is how to heap all the problems bedeviling Nigeria on Obj. How objective and realistic? Why is truth-telling scarce?

Prof Oyeniran Abioje wrote from University of Ilorin


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