Noble Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has been somewhat quiet for a while now as regards the happenings in the national polity, since President Muhammadu Buhari took over the reins of power.
Many Nigerians are used the the revered professor’s reactions to issues that crop up in the society, as his opinions are usually laced with facts and history that are relevant to any subject of discourse in the polity.
Premium Times had interviewed Soyinka before the election and just published it. He spoke about varying issues ranging from Nigeria as a country, how former president, Goodluck Jonathan was caged, the Jonathan’s administration corruption index, his criticisms of the Jonathan government and why he is not a member of any political party in Nigeria.
Read the excerpts of the interview below:
On the state of affairs of the country
“Nigeria is so peculiar and dramatic. Even talking about the potentials before we talk about the negativities, Nigeria is a nation for perpetual study. I think in Nigeria, it is the potential which hits people and makes them believe in Nigeria. It tends to make them react when they see potentials being wasted and it is a tragedy to see potentials wasted. But paradoxically, it is a realization of the existence, that positive, that keeps many Nigerians and even foreign people going.”
How Jonathan was caged
“There were forces around Jonathan, you put your fingers around it, which he himself did not understand and that is why I stressed that, you’ve got to choose your circle of advisers very carefully, when you are in charge. He was caged; things were going on in his ministry that he did not know about.”
Jonathan’s stance on corruption
“As a president, you’ve got to show some example. I am disturbed for instance when I read that a candidate said, ‘I will not probe anybody or something like that’. You don’t fight corruption by sweeping everything under the carpet, you don’t. You just say, am going to allow the law take its course; I am going to empower the agencies which has been set up for such specific purpose of stemming the corrupt out flow of resources from this nation and don’t even talk to me about corruption beyond saying you going to strengthen existing institutions.”
His criticisms of the Jonathan government
“I have been speaking with President Jonathan not only publicly, but privately. There are policies that are avoidable. When it comes to the issue of corruption, Jonathan surrounds himself with certain unsavoury characters and that is something you don’t have to do if you are in charge. You are in a position to select those who are seen with you so that the populace can look up to them.”
Why he is not a member of any political party in Nigeria
“Temperament. In any case, I did try to set up a political party – as a platform for a new generation. Ironically, it lost steam when the members found I was dead serious about NOT contesting any office. They came in mostly on personalized grounds, not on faith in a carefully worked out manifesto. But the party still exists – at least as a movement.”
Details on Premium Times
Meanwhile, last week, Governor Adans Oshiomhole of Edo state and his wife, Iara, paid a courtesy visit to Soyinka and his wife, Folake, at their Abeokuta home.