Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, has labelled the government of President Muhammadu Buhari as a failure, adding that the current government lacks the creative capacity to resolve the issues ravaging Nigeria.
Soyinka, a professor of literature, made the assessment while fielding questions from 85 pupils drawn from all the six geopolitical zones of the country on the occassion of his 85th birthday at his residence in Ijegba, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, on Sunday.
Asked about a particular state government which he admired, the playwright stated that government continuously changes hand, therefore, making it difficult to make comparisons.
He then dropped the bombshell against the current administration, stating that unlike some state governments, President Buhari in his task as a leader to ensure his appointees and government effectively tackle the issues of the country.
The poet referred to the farmers/herders clashes and the escalating insecurity crisis in the country as his reason for his position on the government.
Soyinka said: “The problems of this nation are beyond the solution that can be offered by this government, that’s the first admission; they have to stop thinking in partisan government.
“The major problem that we have is successive governments; it is easier, on the state level, to say that this particular state is doing better than this state, but the central government, I am afraid, has failed and that is my view in the main to really serve the people intelligently, creatively and be even handed in their apportionment of facilities to various areas of the nation.
“Look at what is happening today, how is it possible for me to say for instance that I am pro this government, it is being negligent, look at what is happening with the cattle all over the place. That is a security issue which should never have reached this level.
“I am sure that carelessness and single act which has resulted in hundreds of people being massacred in their farms and their farms taken over; it has wiped away a lot of the positive achievements of the government.
“It is an issue that is so serious and which concerns the welfare of you and me that any carelessness or any failure there is totally unforgivable and unpardonable. It is not that one likes to criticise for the sake of criticising; no! It is just that we believe that there is a minimal level which any government which has been elected to power must achieve to be considered a true representative of the people. So, I am afraid I am waiting for you to grow up and become president.”
Responding to a question on the level and quality of governance in the country, the poet said some politicians become easily carried away when get into positions of authority, to the extent that they misplace their priorities against those in Nigerians’ interest.
He said: “Governance is a very difficult occupation; Nigeria is a very complex nation for a lot of reasons; its history, the background, the formation of it, the complexity, the culture, balancing here and there and then, you have several complications like fuel, among others.
“Politicians that money has gone into their heads misdirect themselves in terms of priority, they neglect some sections, some of them are nepotistic and some of them alienate themselves from the public which is the people they are supposed to serve and govern and they think they are still colonial masters, especially when we went through the military period.”
Soyinka called for a national conference where all the country’s challenges could be addressed for the good of all, making reference to security threats posed by cattle herders.
“They need to confront this nation as a habitation of human beings where very serious issues like economy, security, health, even threats of secession come up every day and convoke at the same time, a national conference, what I call an Indaba across all section which we will all meet and debate everything, including the economy of this nation”, he said.