Literary giant, Prof Wole Soyinka has shared words of wisdom with the Nigerian government over recent statement made by former president Olusegun Obasanjo in which he ascribed the Boko Haram insurgency to a cause towards Islamising and fulanising the country.
In the said statement, Obasanjo pointed to the need for immediate measures to obliterate the raging campaign of destruction being waged against Nigeria by the insurgent group.
“It is no longer an issue of lack of education and lack of employment for our youths in Nigeria which it began as, it is now West African Fulanisation, African Islamisation and global organised crimes of human trafficking, money laundering, drug trafficking, gun trafficking, illegal mining and regime change,” Obasanjo observed.
He continued, “Yet, we could have dealt with both earlier, and nip them in the bud, but Boko Haram boys were seen as rascals not requiring serious attention in administering holistic measures of stick and carrot.”
For this reason, the federal government through the Information and Culture Minister, Lai Mohammed, fired a salvo at the former leader claiming the remarks were ‘divisive’, adding that impeccable facts show the group care little about ethnicity or religion when perpetrating their killings and destruction.
To buttress the point, Mohammed said, Boko Haram has attacked more mosques than churches since 2015.
However, the Noble Laureate, Soyinka asserted that the Nigerian government is worrying too much about the language of the former President instead of focusing on the substance of the statement.
Soyinka, while speaking yesterday in Lagos at the Africa Day 2019 organised by United Bank for Africa (UBA), said Nigeria was going through “horrendous descent into the abyss”.
According to him, “We should be careful not to be too dismissive over the matter. The Federal Government is leaving aside the substance, which is the high level of kidnapping, youth suicide, and terrorism in the country. I support unity in Africa but we need to particularize the area of unity we seek. Even Boko Haram also tries to unify everybody.
“When you talk about Uthman Dan Fodio, what comes to people’s mind is a threat to dip the Koran into the Atlantic Ocean. There are many people in this controversy. My feeling is that the response of Minister of Information shows that they are leaving behind the substance, and worried about the language.
“Obasanjo was calling for a meeting to tackle some the serious issues in the country, including youth suicide. He said there are immediate needs to sit down and discuss these issues. And I am saying there are more immediate needs to do that.”