- His position not gospel truth –Presidential aide
Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has again hit hard at President Muhammadu Buhari.
He told journalists in Lagos, yesterday: “Mr. President, I think you are under a trance,” adding, “the sooner he gets out of it the better.”
He claimed that the phenomenon of herdsmen and farmers clashes was not new but an issue that graduated to an alarming state in the last eight years.
He described the armed herdsmen as a new breed of Boko Haram and internal colonialists.
“The important thing is the consciousness of a need for organised resistance against the incursion of cows.
“In Ogun State, we have formed a sort of informal organisation called OSHA, Ogun State Hunters Association, and we intend to collaborate with similar movements, the police and the military,” he said.
With the theme; “Herdsmen and Nation: Valentine Card or Valedictory Rites?”, he gave an analogical tale of a state whose master’s insensitivity allowed for the overbearing actions of his subjects.
He lamented that mass destruction of farmlands in the most horrifying manner had become a norm festering with the encouragement of the government’s body language.
The Nobel Laureate said he was not happy with “the body language” of the government in handling the matter.
He described as appalling the position of the Inspector General of Police that the continuing loss of lives in Benue State, and consequent increase of internal refugees was simply a communal clash, stressing that little would be achieved in security without the adoption of state policing.
“If the IG can sit in Abuja and say of an event that is happening under the jurisdiction of a governor in another state is a just a communal clash when people are being slaughtered and their villages are being occupied, it shows of complete alienation.
“We have been saying it for a long time. We are now getting back to the commonsensical issue that the nation cannot function under a single police command,” he said.
Soyinka said the Nigerian Army “must now turn around to face another phenomenon which is considered in some international circles more deadlier than the Boko Haram.”
According to him, the containing efforts happening now should have begun six months as he expected the force to have immediately transferred its concentration from operations such as Python Dance and Crocodile Smile to where the heat was.
He said: “Why colonies were brought in to complicate things, I do not know. Ranching that is the word used everywhere. There is no organised illegal force that does not sooner or later spin up. Are these internally generated, or are they being launched by individuals who in their interest the nation must be in a state of anarchy?
“We sometimes talk about corruption but we don’t understand how far corruption goes. When you think of the amount being stolen in this country, enough funds, illegal funds flocking to destabilise the country. We might end up discovering that some of these people profit from ensuring there is chaos from Maiduguri to Lagos.”
Speaking on restructuring, Soyinka said: “Sooner or later people will recognize the fact it’s not broken record they are listening to, it’s their hearing that is impaired.
“In other words we have been shouting restructuring, now its inevitability has always been stressed.
“Anytime you talk about restructuring, you hear this gibberish that the sovereignty of this country will not be compromised. Who is talking about sovereignty?
“We are stating that the internal components of the country needed to be addressed on rational and the parameters were always set. We must decentralise governance.”
He cited Buhari’s recall of the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Usman Yusuf, after he was suspended for alleged graft by the Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, as a recent example of the unforced errors that characterised the government.
Reacting to Soyinka’s statement, the Special Adviser on Media to the President, Mr. Femi Adesina, said: “Wole Soyinka is respected but his opinion does not constitute the gospel. He is not in government, so he is speaking from a perspective. Not everyone believes government is not doing anything.
“A large number of people believe the government is tackling the issue of herdsmen. The president is concerned about the opinions of people, but when it comes from the PDP, you know they are interested in getting power, so they will try to de-market the president.”