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Nigeria wouldn’t have survived more years under Jonathan – Soyinka

Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has noted that Nigeria could not have survived another four years of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s rule, adding that the
continuous revelation of looted funds meant for procurement of arms for the armed forces justifies his position that the country was being run aground by the last administration.

He also added that he has no regret supporting President Muhammadu Buhari during the electioneering.

The play wright stated this on Tuesday during a Channels Teelevision programme: ‘Channels Book Club’.

Soyinka said he used to have a bad impression of Buhari who he once described as a “devil for whom in my calculation, no spoon existed long enough to justify the risk even of an impromptu snack,” but some of his trusted companions convinced him during the electioneering period that Buhari has changed, adding that the highhandedness that plagued his military rule in the 80s cannot be repeated now.

According to him, “We were left with two credible contestants in terms of catchment area for the nation. We had reached, in my view, the bottom. I became convinced that if this country underwent four more years under President Jonathan, the country would run aground completely. I looked at the record and said this cannot go on, this has to stop.

“Then I looked at this man who had contested elections three times before and said he would not contest anymore and then decided to throw his hat in the ring. I talked to people and I said do you know what you’re doing?

“And after weighing all the options, I said let’s try a new one. And since in electoral terms, he was the one, I guardedly, with reservations, announced that no, not a continuation under Jonathan.

“And so very reluctantly, I want this on record, because I made it quite clear, I weighed the two of them and I said this nation stands a better chance under Buhari. And what has been coming out now? Look at all that has been coming out? Look at the figures which virtually hammer one into the ground just the sheer enormity of the robbery of this nation that is getting exposed progressively. It shows that we did not make a bad choice.”

On Buhari’s six months in office, the Nobel Laureate said, “Not totally but Buhari has proven that there is such a thing as a born again democrat.”

He called on the government to meet with pro-Biafran agitators so as to understand their problem and know how to tackle it.

The playwright said the government should convoke a fresh National Conference which would address the feelings of pro-Biafran elements.

He further stated that there was nothing evil about secession, noting that Nigeria even ceded the Bakassi peninsula to Cameroun.

“So, let us sit down, let us talk once again about restructuring the nation in a way that no one will want to leave. The agitations, for me, are not surprising. It was expected that it would happen sooner or later.

“So, I am referring to a genuine and authentic National Conference. Not like the one that former President Olusegun Obasanjo called which was meant to try to perpetuate himself in office.

“The one under Jonathan was extensive; it covered lots and lots of ground. It proposed some far-reaching changes, not far-reaching for me, but far-reaching. It is about time we went back to efforts like that; genuine ones like that,” Soyinka stated.