​Debate on second term for Buhari disgusting – Soyinka

Prof. Wole Soyinka

Nobel laureate , Prof . Wole Soyinka , on Monday, in Lagos , expressed disgust with emerging debates on re- election by some politicians in the country .

Some northern governors on the platform of the All Progressives Congress and some allies of President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday backed the President for a second term .

The declaration came on the heels of the open declaration of support of the Minister of Women Affairs , Aisha Alhassan for the presidential bid of former Vice -President Atiku Abubakar , who the minister declared as “ our president in 2019” .

But the renowned playwright is not amused by the debates going on in the country on the political permutations ahead of the 2019 general elections .

Soyinka noted that the current administration had barely gone halfway, wondering why people were already planning to fill political positions .

The Nobel laureate spoke with some journalists after a press briefing to unveil the second batch of students departing Nigeria for Lebanon on Tuesday for the Study Abroad In Lebanon programme by The Cedars Institute , Lebanon , in collaboration with The Wole Soyinka Foundation .

When asked a question on the current debate about a second term for Buhari and if he would endorse the President for a second term , Soyinka stated , “Why are we talking about second term for heaven ’s sake ? I don ’t understand this. I refuse to be part of that discussion. I absolutely refuse to be part of the discussion. ’’

On performance of the current administration , the revered writer said there were “ yawning gaps” , noting that an average Nigerian was now less secure than he was few years ago.

He said , “Take simple security for instance . The average citizen feels less secure now than he did a few years ago; that is evident . 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 and parcel of reconstruction or reconfiguration .

“ The economy , there is a big question about it right now. Fortunately , everybody admits that we went through a very bad patch . Right now , it is a question of have we come out of it or not or there is no question at all.

“ The past few years have been years of real internal economic disaster for the average citizen .’’

He, however , said there was a question of who was responsible for the agony the nation was plunged into in the last two years .

Besides , Soyinka said people shouldn’t allow themselves to be put off by those who tried to cheapen the word “ restructuring ” .

The renowned playwright stated , “ Like I said when I visited the Women Arise (For Change Initiative ) the other day , it doesn ’t matter by what name you call it . We all know what we are talking about. We all know that this nation was deconstructed and that what we live in right now as a nation is not along a structure that expresses the true will of Nigerians.

“ So , when people use words like ‘ restructuring , reconfiguring or call it reconfiguration, return to status quo , or call it reformulating the protocols of our association or used a single word like restructuring , it doesn ’t matter . Everybody knows what we are talking about. That is number one .

“ Also, there are those who try to divert the attention away from the main issue by mouthing platitudes, clichés like it is the mind that needs restructuring . You know those I am referring to .

“ This is a constant process —restructuring the mind . It is both an individual exercise as well as a theological exercise. People go to church and mosque to have their minds restructured . They go to school and extramural classes to have their minds restructured . Restructuring the mind is not the issue .

“ Nobody is saying that the exercise of restructuring the mind should not be undertaken ; it should be undertaken . Anybody who indulges in self – examination is already engaging in an exercise of mental and attitudinal reconstruction. We know that . People shouldn’t try to substitute one for the other.

“ I find it very dishonest and cheap time – serving , trivialising the issue when I hear expressions like ‘ it is the mind that needs to be restructured .’ Who is arguing or denying that ? Why bring it up? Why is it a substitute ?

“ We are talking about the protocols of association of the constitutive parts of a nation . We are talking of decentralisation . That is another word . This country is over- centralised .

“ Are you saying we cannot reconstruct the mind and reconstruct the nation at the same time ? Call it by whatever name . We are saying that this nation is long overdue for reconfiguring . That is the expression I choose to use now .’’

Soyinka , who also commented on Buhari ’s position that Nigeria ’s unity was settled and not negotiable in the President’s speech after returning from his medical trip to the UK , said he had heard the expression often .

He added , “I don ’t know why people bother . Again, that is another deploy for sidetracking the issue . Nobody is talking about disuniting Nigeria .

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