The Kukah Offence And Ongoing Offensives By Wole Soyinka

 

The timing of Bishop Matthew Kukah’s Christmas message, and the ensuing offensives could not be more fortuitous, seeing that it comes at a time when a world powerful nation, still reeling from an unprecedented assault on her corporate definition, is now poised to set, at the very least, a symbolic seal on her commitment to the democratic ideal.

Let no one be in any doubt that some of the most extreme of the violent forces that recently assaulted her governance citadel are sprung from religious and quasi-religious affirmations, a condition that still enables many of them to be brainwashed into accepting literally, and uncritically, indeed as gospel truth, any pronouncement, however outrageous and improbable, that emerges from their leadership.

As usual, we have not lacked, within our own distanced environment, advocates who, even till recently, claimed to have seen in their vision, the triumph of God’s own anointed in the electoral contest of that same United States.

They have been specific in their prophesy that what was denied at the ballot box would be restored in the law courts. And to set a divine seal on the matter, were not our streets in a part of this nation actually inundated by religious processions in support of the candidacy of their supposed Messiah, named Donald Trump?

They had conferred on him the mantle of upholder of Christian values, endangered by satanic practices in, of all places, a nation designated as – God’s own Country!

Of course, not all such tendencies represent the true face of any professed religion, we need only remark that all religions are plagued by a lunatic fringe.

In this nation, we have learnt the painful way what such inbred loonies are capable of. Thus, extreme care, and historic awareness, should be taken in imputing any act or pronouncement as an attack on faith. At base, competitors for recognition as first-line defenders of the ramparts of religiosity are often motivated by non-religious agenda, which is yet another reason for the exercise of restraint and collective responsibility.

It should not come as a surprise that a section of our Islamic community, not only claims to have found offence in Bishop Kukah’s New Year address, what is bothersome, even unwholesome, is the embedded threat to storm his ‘Capitol’ and eject him, simply for ‘speaking in tongues’.

Any pluralistic society must emphatically declare such a response unacceptable. On a personal note, I have studied the transcript as reported in the media and found nothing in it that denigrates Islam but then, I must confess, I am not among the most religion besotted inhabitants of the globe. That, I have been told, disqualifies me from even commenting on the subject and, quite frankly, I wish that were indeed the case. Life would far less be complicated. However, the reverse position does not seem to be adopted by such religionists in a spirit of equity. They do not hesitate to intervene; indeed, some consider themselves divinely empowered to intervene, even dictate in secular life.

With the foregoing out of the way, we are compelled to remind ourselves that religion is upheld, and practised, not by robots, not by creatures from outer space, not by abstract precepts, but by human beings, full of quirks, frailties and conceits, filled with their own individual and collective worth, and operate in the here and now of this very earth.

That makes religion the business of everyone, especially when it is manipulated to instill fear, discord and separatism in social consciousness. The furore over Bishop Kukah’s statement offers us another instance of that domineering tendency, one whose consequences are guaranteed to spill over into the world of both believers and non-believers, unless checked and firmly contained. In this nation of religious opportunism of the most destructive kind especially, fuelled again and again by failure to learn from past experience, we must at least learn to nip extremist instigations in the bud.

One of the ironic features of religionists is, one is forced to conclude, a need to be offended. It is as if religion cannot exist unless it is nourished with the broth of offence. This may be due to an inbuilt insecurity, a fear that even the ascribed absolutes of faith may be founded on nothing more than idealistic human projections, not grounded in anything durable or immutable.

Hence the over prickliness, aggressiveness, sometimes even bullying tendencies and imperious posturing. This leads to finding enemies where there are none. In certain social climates, it degenerates into inventing enmities in order to entrench theocratic power. In its own peculiar way, this is actually a rational proceeding. A perceived threat to a collectivity tends to rally even waverers round the flag. The core mission of faith custodians then becomes presenting religion as being constantly under siege. It all contributes to interpreting even utterances of no hostile intent as “enemy action”.

Was it all that long ago when el Rufai – now governor of Kaduna state – came under blistering attack by the Christian community for allegedly insulting the divine persona of Jesus Christ?

What did el Rufai say exactly? Nothing new or startling. All he did was deploy a common, everyday figure of speech to describe an overwhelming challenge. Both the circumstances and his exact phrasing elude me right now, but all it amounted to was that even Jesus Christ would find a particular problem intractable. Or perhaps it was simply that even Jesus Christ, were to return to earth, would be subjected to the Nigerian national culture of calumny?

One or the other but, it hardly matters. What does matter was that instantly, there were demands from the ever-ready Onward Christian Soldiers – led by CAN leadership – for a withdrawal and apology. To my intense disappointment – as I declared at the time — el Rufai obliged.

A huge mistake. Again, and again, we have warned against succumbing to irrational demands of religionists, yet even the brutal lessons of past surrenders appear to exercise no traction on society’s faculty of cause and effect, especially in that religious propensity for incremental demands. Surrender one inch, they demand a mile!

And how near impossible it is to come to grips with an even more recent and egregious bill of offence that took place over this very last Christmas of the year 2020! The now universal sales pitch of BLACK FRIDAY to lure seasonal shopping addicts to Sale bonanzas drew solemn, sanctimonious flak from some religionists from the other side, this time the Islamic. A formal statement was issued, declaring these commonplace sale tactics an assault on the Islamic religion, since Friday happens to be its day of worship.

These are the depths of absurdity into which society is dragged by the coils of spurious purism. Until now, we have yet to learn of Boko Haram, ISWAP, al-Shabbab and other rabid Islamists declaring a cessation from killings in honour of Holy Friday. Again, one station that carried the broadcasts tamely withdrew its promotional campaign. Another piece of secular – that is, neutral – territory ignominiously surrendered. The tail continues to wag the dog.

Lest the point be missed or watered down, the escalation of such irrationality is very simply outlined. Christians, not to be outdone, will seize the next opportunity to remind the rest of the world how their own Holy Day, Sunday, must and must not be used in mundane transactions in the future. Next, the Seventh-Day Adventists will demand no-go areas for Saturdays. After that, the Hindus, the Sikhs, plus the thousand and one religions of the world cornering their own Holy Day, then week, then month until we are moved to reconstruct the present calendar entirely, abandon solar principles and rebuild temporal notation around some newly discovered power planet. Did that broadcasting station consider, for a moment, the preposterous dimensions of that sectarian demand before yielding ground to a ridiculous minority of extremists?

Of far weightier substance than any vaporous religiosity, however, is the early mentioned civic condition of all occupiers of the same demarcated slab of earth, called nation, and their material and non-material entitlement as guaranteed by their enabling constitution.

When any individual or group, however lofty and privileged in its own self-regard, orders a citizen to quit his or her chosen place of habitation, then the very concept of nation being is nullified. This is not the first time this fundamental principle of co-existence has been challenged. Still fresh in one’s mind was the mode of response by the Inspector-General of Police to a similar violation by a northern Youth organization a few years ago when that group pronounced a deadline for the Igbo to quit their abode throughout the northern territory of Nigeria.

It was a dangerous, provocative act, incendiary under any condition. That worthy maintainer of law and order was asked – and I recall this distinctly – why he failed to take action against this incitement to mayhem, such as even inviting the self-acknowledged leaders “for a chat”.

That question was, of course, posed in the context of the starkly contrasting ‘rapid response’ agility by state security agencies, when a similar inciting proclamation was made by an Igbo group ‘expelling’ northern citizens from their territory.

His answer was: such action would have security implications. By contrast, the Igbo group was proscribed as a terrorist organization. It should be chastening to any government that its proclamation remains ignored internationally.

What is Bishop Kukah saying? Simply what observant and concerned citizens of United States society recently remarked. The conduct of the US security forces, when confronted by peaceful protesters during the BLACK LIVES MATTER movement, was vastly different from that of the same security agencies when a predominantly white mob invaded its seat of government, thrashed it and hunted down a people’s elected representatives, rampaging for hours before they were finally “escorted out”.

Such a contrast goes to the heart of the nation being and poses a real and urgent danger. That accusation has been voiced by both sides of the colour divide and across class divisions. Again and again, the warning was loudly voiced, it was unheeded. We remain fools if we fail to learn from the costly complacencies of others.

The obvious issue, to summarize, is – double standards. Lack of equitable dealing. Agreement or disagreement with Bishop Kukah’s position is demonstration of a nation’s badge of maturity, and should be read, quite obviously, as a continuation of that nagging, provocative discourse.

One fails to understand why religion is being sprung centre stage as a legitimate extract from that New Year address. There is a deliberate, emotive displacement of a central concern. It is calculated avoidance, diversionary, and thus, nationally unhealthy. Humans should not attempt to play ostrich.

Nigeria Had Always Been Divided, Presidency Replies Soyinka

 

The presidency has been reacting to recent comments by Professor Wole Soyinka, suggesting that under the present government Nigeria has become more divided than ever before.

Mr. Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, says while the Nobel Laureate is respected and revered, not everything he utters should be taken absolutely.

“Professor Wole Soyinka is somebody we respect, you don’t have them too many in a country, even on a continent. Professor Soyinka is an icon, he is an avatar, we respect him, we listen to him but then we don’t take everything he says hook, line, and sinker,” the president’s special adviser said.

According to Adesina who on Wednesday was a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today, President Buhari inherited a “terribly” divided country, one which he has been trying to reunite since he came to power back in 2015.


Obasanjo’s Comment: Not Every Criticism Should Give You Sleepless Nights – Adesina

Obasanjo Says Nigeria Is Falling Apart Under Buhari, Offers Solution

Nigeria More Divided Than Ever Before, Soyinka Backs Obasanjo


The president’s media aide said, “Nigeria had always been divided. Always. Right from amalgamation in 1914, Nigeria has always been divided. Nigeria is an inconvenient amalgamation but we have worked at it and I tell you that there is no time in the history of this country that the country was not divided but then we had kept at it and we were trying to make it work.

“As of 2015, when President Buhari came, Nigeria was terribly, terribly divided; divided along religious lines, divided along ethnic lines; divided along language, divided hopelessly, terribly and that is the division that the President had been working at. But you see that a lot of people instead of letting harmony return to this country, thrive and luxuriate in widening the gulf. They play politics with everything.”

Similarly, Adesina said not every criticism against the Buhari-led administration should be taken seriously.

Addressing recent comments by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the media aide said all criticisms must be thoroughly looked at to ascertain what value they add to discussions around moving the nation forward.

Obasanjo while delivering a speech titled ‘Moving Nigeria Away from Tipping Over’ at a consultative dialogue attended by various socio-cultural groups, said Nigeria is falling apart under Buhari.

At the consultative dialogue attended by members of various groups, including Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, Northern Elders Forum, Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo, and Pan Niger Delta Forum, Obasanjo noted that the country is becoming the world capital of poverty.

A file photo of Mr Femi Adesina.

He said, “I do appreciate that you all feel sad and embarrassed as most of us feel as Nigerians with the situation we find ourselves in,” Obasanjo said. “Today, Nigeria is fast drifting to a failed and badly divided state; economically our country is becoming a basket case and poverty capital of the world, and socially, we are firming up as an unwholesome and insecure country.

“And these manifestations are the products of recent mismanagement of diversity and socio-economic development of our country. Old fault lines that were disappearing have opened up in greater fissures and with drums of hatred, disintegration, and separation and accompanying choruses being heard loud and clear almost everywhere.”

In reaction to Obasanjo’s comments, Adesina argued that “not every criticism should give one sleepless night”.

According to Adesina, there is no government that Obasanjo has not criticized.

“Obasanjo has criticised every government since the Shehu Shagari government that succeeded him in 1979. The only government he has not criticised is the Olusegun Obasanjo government”.

The media aide added that Obasanjo has a right to air his opinions, he, however, stressed that it is in the Buhari government’s right to take the former president’s reproval or dismiss them as mere claims aimed to detract from a performing administration.

Nigeria More Divided Than Ever Before, Soyinka Backs Obasanjo

Professor Wole Soyinka (File Photo)

 

 

Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, says Nigeria is more divided than ever before under the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

He said this on Tuesday in a statement titled “Between ‘Dividers-in-chief’ and Dividers-in-law,”.

“The nation is divided as never before, and this ripping division has taken place under the policies and conduct of none other than President Buhari,” he said.

Speaking further, Mr Soyinka accused the President of going to sleep while communities were ravaged by cattle rustlers and thousands were displaced.

According to him, even when the President visited the scenes, rather than proffer an authoritative solution, he “advised the traumatised victims to learn to live peacefully with their violators”.

“And what happened to the Police Chief who had defied orders from his Commander-in-Chief to relocate fully to the trouble spot – he came, saw, and bolted, leaving the ‘natives’ to their own devices. Any disciplinary action taken against ‘countryman’? Was it a spokesman for some ghost president who chortled in those early, yet controllable stages of now systematised mayhem, gleefully dismissed the mass burial of victims in Benue State as a “staged show” for international entertainment? Did the other half of the presidential megaphone system not follow up – or was it, proceed? – with the wisdom that they, the brutalised citizenry, should learn to bow under the yoke and negotiate, since “only the living” can enjoy the dividends of legal rights?”.

His comments come just days after former President Olusegun Obasanjo made similar comments about the state of the country.

Read Also: Obasanjo Says Nigeria Is Falling Apart Under Buhari, Offers Solution

Obasanjo said the country is failing and badly divided due to the recent mismanagement.

He made the comment in Abuja on Thursday while delivering a speech titled ‘Moving Nigeria Away from Tipping Over’ at a consultative dialogue attended by various socio-cultural groups.

The consultative dialogue was attended by members of various groups, including Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, Northern Elders Forum, Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo and Pan Niger Delta Forum.

“I do appreciate that you all feel sad and embarrassed as most of us feel as Nigerians with the situation we find ourselves in,” Obasanjo said.

“Today, Nigeria is fast drifting to a failed and badly divided state; economically our country is becoming a basket case and poverty capital of the world, and socially, we are firming up as an unwholesome and insecure country.

“And these manifestations are the products of recent mismanagement of diversity and socio-economic development of our country. Old fault lines that were disappearing have opened up in greater fissures and with drums of hatred, disintegration and separation and accompanying choruses being heard loud and clear almost everywhere.”

Soyinka also noted that while he was not a fan of Obasanjo, he would not hesitate to agree with “any accurate reading of this nation from whatever source”.

He said, “I am notoriously no fan of Olusegun Obasanjo, General, twice former president and co-architect with other past leaders of the crumbling edifice that is still generously called Nigeria. I have no reasons to change my stance on his record. Nonetheless, I embrace the responsibility of calling attention to any accurate reading of this nation from whatever source, as a contraption teetering on the very edge of total collapse. We are close to extinction as a viable comity of peoples, supposedly bound together under an equitable set of protocols of co-habitation, capable of producing its own means of existence, and devoid of a culture of sectarian privilege and will to dominate.”

Netflix Partners Mo Abudu’s EbonyLife Studios To Adapt Two Nigerian Literary Classics

Ebony Studios To Produce Shoneyin, Soyinka’s Literary Work For Netflix

 

Mo Abudu’s EbonyLife Media has penned a contract with the streaming giant, Netflix, to make film adaptations of two Nigerian literary classics.

The two classics are Lola Shoneyin’s acclaimed novel The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives and Wole Soyinka’s Death And The King’s Horseman.

Netflix Naija made the announcement in a thread on Twitter, Friday.

“Netflix has partnered with acclaimed producer @MoAbudu to bring you two of Nigeria’s most beloved literary classics to screens around the world!” part of the tweet read.

Netflix in a statement said that they “ . . . believe that more people deserve to see their lives reflected on screen and for that to happen, we need to make sure there’s a wide variety of content that caters to our members’ diverse tastes.”

Ebony Life Studios has produced box office hits like Fifty, Isoken, and Wedding Party.

Dorothy Ghettuba, Netflix lead for Original Series in Africa commended Abudu’s work saying, “Mo is at the forefront of creative storytelling in African television. Her passion for creating high-quality, riveting multi-genre films and TV shows that capture the imagination while showcasing the diversity and richness of Nigerian culture is evident in her impressive body of work.”

Reacting to the adaptation of her book, which the video streaming platform said will be first produced, Lola Shoneyin said, “I was thrilled when Mo contacted me about making a show out of my novel The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives. I’d turned down so many offers but this one felt right.”

Shoneyin said it is an opportunity to see her work in the hands of “a woman who pursued excellence” in Africa in the same way she did.

“I grew to trust her very quickly, so when she told me about the possibility of working with Netflix, I was overjoyed,” she added. “Soon, people everywhere will have access to the story of Baba Segi. And that is more than I could have asked for as a writer.”

Abudu tweeted that she was thrilled that five years after she requested and acquired the rights for Wole Soyinka’s play, she gets to produce it as a feature film.

 

In his reaction, Wole Soyinka said he is delighted to see the robust challenges offered by the female gender in a male-dominated creative industry.

“Mo Abudu’s incursion into this arena as film and television producer has been especially stimulating. It becomes part of one’s sense of achievement if one has contributed, however minutely, to the creation of an enabling environment,” he said.

 

Soyinka, Sani, Odinkalu In Court As Sowore’s Trial Resumes

Nobel laureate Professor, Wole Soyinka, and a former Nigerian Senator Shehu Sani on Wednesday stormed the Abuja High Court in solidarity with the convener of #RevolutionNow Protest, Omoyele Sowore.

Also, the former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Professor Chidi Odinkalu and popular activist Deji Adeyanju were in court in solidarity with Sowore whose trial resumes today.

RELATED: Alleged Treason: Judge’s Absence Stalls Resumption Of Sowore’s Trial

Sowore and co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, are facing trial over charges of a treasonable felony for organising the revolution now protest on August 5, 2019, which the government saw as an attempt to disrupt peace in the country.

The trial was stalled yesterday due to the absence of the presiding judge, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu. It was subsequently adjourned till February 12.

Sowore was arrested on August 3, 2019, by the Department of State Services (DSS) and was in custody until December 24, 2019, when he was eventually released on the orders of the Attorney General of the Federation who directed the DSS to comply with the orders of the court which granted him bail.

See more photos below…

Amotekun: Soyinka Replies Balarabe Musa Over Comment On Oduduwa Republic


 

Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has replied ex-governor of the old Kaduna State, Balarabe Musa, following his comment that the Western Nigeria Security Network code-named Operation Amotekun would lead to the declaration of Oduduwa Republic.

In a statement he personally signed on Tuesday, Soyinka said Balarabe is sadly wrong and he wished Nigeria to avoid such blunder.

He added that blunders like that of Balarabe are the basis for tragedy in a nation.

A file photo of security vehicles for the Operation Amotekun during the launching ceremony.

 

“Balarabe is sadly, but I hope not tragically wrong. I invoke the tragic dimension here because the making of tragedy, especially for nations, often begins when fears are mistaken or promoted as facts, and governments either by themselves, or together with interest groups, are enticed by fears into embarking on precipitate, irrational, and irreversible acts.

“Such acts turn out, in the end, to be based on nothing but fears, sometimes generated by guilt over past injustices, such as inequitable dealing. That is the basis of tragedy, towards which nations are propelled by a partial or wrongful reading of socio-political realities and – history.

READ ALSO: Amotekun: Atiku Supports Community, State And Zonal Policing

“I would like to see this nation avoid such a blunder. So, I am certain, would Balarabe Musa.

“Raising the spectre of secession is a facile approach to the dangerous, self-evident lapses in governance which Balarabe himself acknowledges in his response to the Amotekun principle made flesh.

“The midwives of Amotekun have repeatedly acknowledged that theirs is only a contribution towards a crisis of escalating proportions. Other states should be encouraged to emulate, not misread such initiatives, then demonize them by false attributions. That is the certain recipe for tragedy,”

Operation Amotekun is a security task force initiated by the six South-West governors to tackle kidnapping, banditry and other crimes in the region.

Balarabe in an interview attributed to him and published by a national newspaper over the weekend urged the Federal Government not to allow the establishment of Amotekun.

According to him, the security outfit was a ploy to secure Yoruba land and a prelude to the declaration of Oduduwa Republic.

Amotekun Is A ‘Pleasant New Year Gift’ – Soyinka

 

 

Nobel Laureate Professor Wole Soyinka has declared his support for the Western Nigeria Security Network, popularly known as ‘Amotekun’.

He described the security outfit as a pleasant New Year gift, saying it has shown that the yearnings of Nigerians prevailed.

Professor Soyinka stated this while addressing some elder statesmen and prominent Nigerians at an event held on Monday at the Muson Centre in Lagos.

The event tagged ‘Never Again’, was organised to discuss the way forward, 50 years after the Nigerian civil war.

READ ALSO: Crowd, Noise Force Supreme Court To Suspend Hearing Of Governorship Appeals

It was also aimed at reminiscing on the woes of the war which ended in January 1970 and adjudged as one of the worst scenarios of civil rife across the world.

It was well attended by a number of eminent Nigerians such as Professor Anya Anya, Professor Banji Akintoye, Professor Pat Utomi, Major General Obi Umahi (rtd), and the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, among others.

 

A Controversial Move

Professor Soyinka’s remarks came four days after the governors of the south-west region met in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital to launch the Western Nigeria Security Network.

Codenamed ‘Amotekun’, the unveiling of the outfit was to reinforce the existing security architecture of the region.

Some of the governors present at the event which held on Thursday last week include Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), and Seyi Makinde (Oyo).

They took turns to explain the rationale behind the decision which they said was aimed at ending the spate of banditry, armed robbery, kidnapping, herdsmen invasion, and other threats to the security of lives and properties, as well as the economic advancement of the region.

More than 130 patrol vans and hundreds of motorbikes were commissioned for use to kick start the project.

The launch of ‘Amotekun’ was also attended by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, as well as the leader of the Yoruba World Congress, Professor Banji Akintoye.

However, the unveiling of the security network has sparked a debate in some parts of the country.

50 Years After Civil War: Soyinka, Utomi, Elder Statesmen Discuss Way Forward

 

 

Some eminent Nigerians including Nobel Laureate Professor Wole Soyinka and Professor Pat Utomi on Monday gathered at the Muson Centre in Lagos to discuss the way forward, 50 years after the Nigerian civil war.

Tagged ‘Never Again’, the event is aimed at reminiscing on the woes of the war which ended in January 1970 and adjudged as one of the worst scenarios of civil rife across the world.

In his address, Prof Anya Anya, who is the chairman of the occasion believes violence cannot provide the solution to the problems facing the nation.

READ ALSO: Amotekun Is A ‘Pleasant New Year Gift’ – Soyinka

A cross-section of some of the participants at the event.

 

 

According to him, Nigeria must learn from the mistakes of the past and what some say was a failure of leadership.

He added that Nigeria was not the only country that has gone through such a situation as the civil war, stressing that losing a war was not necessarily a badge of failure.

One of the organisers of the event, Major General Obi Umahi (rtd), said history must be brought back into the nation’s education and school syllabus.

He explained that the aim of the conference was to sensitise Nigerians on the need for forgiveness, healing, and national cohesion.

 

General Umahi urged Nigerians to see the present situation in the country as a moment for national reflection, stressing that there was an urgent need to build bridges of unity and peace.

Giving his keynote address, Professor Pat Utomi highlighted the collapse of culture as one of the major problems of the country.

He, therefore, called for urgent attention and a joint effort to fix the problem.

Also delivering his keynote address, Professor Soyinka spoke about democracy and the need to allow it to thrive in the country.

On security, the Nobel laureate declared his support for the Western Nigeria Security Network, popularly known as ‘Amotekun’.

He described the security outfit as a pleasant New Year gift, saying it has shown that the yearnings of Nigerians prevailed.

FULL SPEECH: ‘Taming The Monster’ By Wole Soyinka

Impunity Rides Again – Wole Soyinka
A file photo of Professor Wole Soyinka.

 

 

Nobel laureate Professor Wole Soyinka on Monday delivered a speech at the United Nations World Anti-Corruption Day in Abuja.

Read the full speech below:

THE OPEN SOCIETY ENDANGERED

(Being a talk delivered at the UN World Anti-Corruption Day, Abuja, Dec. 9. 2019)

Present here, I fully expect, is the Youth contingent of this undertaking. We are still within the United Nations designated Year of the Child, and that makes youth involvement doubly appropriate as an integral part of our encounter.

This is not mere sentiment. As some of you here may recall, I have referred to my set on occasion as the Wasted Generation. I recall that this led to some members of the generation after mine referring to theirs as the Lost Generation.

It all happened during a lecture, and the speaker’s comment went thus: “Professor Soyinka does not know how lucky he is. His generation has been merely wasted, ours is lost.” I do not know if that speaker was right, or I was, or maybe both were. Frankly, I am not even sure which is worse – to be lost or to be wasted.

All I am certain of is – moral endangerment, the degradation of moral sensibilities in the vulnerable sector of any society, however, defined.

That impressionable sector is always at risk wherever abnormalities become accepted as the norm, and the jettisoning of moral restraints is lauded, through example, as the basis of routine existence.

If I may use a notorious example, can anyone of us have failed to remark how the phenomenon of cultism has penetrated downwards, lower and lower in generational infiltration until we now read of it even in some elite primary schools?

Children may not find themselves in situations where they can actual engage in corrupt practices, but they grow up eventually into that stage, and if they have been raised in an environment where adults are exposed as corrupt, even expelled from their positions of status, only to return to their home base, to be lauded by their communities, received with pomp and pageantry and garlanded with chieftaincy titles, it requires no special exercise of the imagination to project what the future holds for overall society.

The principle of “catch them young” is one that pervades most spheres of human activity, so it’s all a question of who does the “catching”.

If we are serious and convinced about a foundational principle of social conduct, then we obviously cannot leave others to do the catching.

One of the most telling exercises I have indulged in my creative career was one which evolved from my activities in the Lagos Black Heritage Festival. We initiated a youth item called “The Vision of the Child”.

This consisted of members of that yet undefined generation being set a theme for creative interpretation – in painting, essay and even poetic forms.

We encouraged them to let their imagination roam free in all directions. One such themes that I set them was “The Thousand And One Faces of Corruption”. The results were remarkable.

If anyone thought that children even at the ‘innocent’ age downwards from thirteen or fourteen all the way down to seven or six, do not know what ‘corruption’ means, how it works, how it affects their lives and their families, they should see some of those visual and literary compositions, talk to their authors and artists, and ask the latter to explain some of the seemingly abstruse images they create. You would be thoroughly chastened.

For example, even I had not thought of dragging Sambisa forest into the geography of corruption, being too preoccupied with the horror of that outrage in itself.

They did, albeit inspired by an earlier thematic imposition – THE ROAD TO SAMBISA. This is how it all begins – read their submissions -, with corruption overwhelming even basic social and governance responsibilities.

Mr Magu, the chairman of EFCC happened on that exhibition and was sufficiently struck as to request that it tour the nation. We were more than willing.

Some of his staff visited the exhibition at Freedom Park and went into preliminaries with our young collaborators. That was – how many years ago? More ruefully, will that exhibition ever travel beyond its present confines?

Since then, that initiative has metamorphosed into an even more elaborate movement with the name Corruption Busters – launched in Lekki in December 2017.

I was able to attend just the beginning of the event but, from evidence of the video recording, the Vice-President threw himself most vigorously into that initiative.

So did a couple of supportive foreign embassies since then, however, that movement appears to have gone into recession – but I may be wrong. I would be curious to see if they participated in the Walk from EFCC to this venue this morning. If not, Mr. Magu, you and I have a problem!

The coincidence of global affirmations of past agreements on social conduct such as the ongoing celebration of the Convention on the Rights of Children, the World Anti-Corruption Day which is today, reinforced by the World Human Rights Day on Tuesday, tomorrow, should be exploited to the fullest, not merely to involve that generation in a progressive seizure of society and humanity, but also to compel adults to see both themselves and the society they have created through the eyes of children, obtain a glimpse of how that generation itself views and assesses the conduct and values of their parents, uncles, aunts, chiefs, their ministers, even their priests and supposed moral exemplars.

Youth participation takes multiple forms, even where the youths are not physically present. Images are useful ‘take-away’ teachers.

The venue of this encounter could have been festooned with the results from that – or similar — exhibitions, or other related exercises that represent minds yet under formation.

If you must take on corruption, which runs 24/7 all-year-round, then we must be alert to all opportunities to propagate the counter-gospel 24/7 all year round, with bonus ‘opportunity targets’ – to borrow from military parlance – such as the mentioned triple notations on the UN calendar.

Do some of us sometimes perhaps appear obsessed by this problem? Of course. Long before any government ever thought it to make it its business, hundreds and thousands of Nigerian individuals in their fields of activities have tackled it head-on with all attendant risk.

The choice was ‘join them or fight them’. How many here are old enough to have heard of the civilian Anti-Bribery League headed by the owner – I hopefully recollect — of Lisabi Mills in Yaba? Or later, of the government’s short-lived initiative, the X-Squad with offices in 5(?) Milverton Street, Ikoyi? Somehow or the other it takes on the intensity of a personal battle, for which agonising setbacks, such as the assassination of the late Bola Ige, a personal friend, but also Attorney-General and Minister of Justice of this nation, only serve as further spur.

Only the cynical fail to accept that it is a contest that transcends politics, partisanship and even governance, which, in this particular instance, has sunk in recent times to its lowest ebb.

Corruption triggers off numerous collateral activities in institutional conduct and governmental interface with citizenry, confrontation with its effects is thus plainly transformational.

This means that, for any corruption degraded society, it should be nothing less than revolutionary in approach – call it by that or any other word, it is still a revolutionary undertaking.

Revolution Now? Or Soon? Later or Whenever? An anti-corruption focus is surely integral to any revolutionary agenda, often it constitutes its very trigger – check any society you wish – from Cuba through China to Egypt or Myammar.

Corruption is hardly ever omitted in the list of indictments that justify that very undertaking called a revolution. Thus, anti-corruption activism is a conscious, revolutionary offensive that aims at transformation of the totality of the social phenomena.

Those agencies, or governments that permit themselves to be terrified by the word had better learn to live with it. Even governments sometimes pride themselves with claims that they have revolutionized this or that facet of society or indeed, of governance itself, meaning that such a government embarks on a drastic self-transformation in both form and practice.

So much, in general terms. Now we turn our spotlight more specifically on that agency that appears to consider the word treasonable.

Has anyone been following recent testimonies in the media by those who have entered the dungeons of the state security agency and lived to tell the tale? What has emerged in these past few days is that the very agency that recently desecrated the sanctum of justice is itself charged with corruption.

It is publicly claimed that extortion has become commonplace, inflicted on helpless citizens, some of whom lack a voice, or influential contacts, unlike the yet ongoing instance of a former media publisher and presidential candidate.

Corruption can only be fought and degraded, if not entirely destroyed, within the reality of an open society. And an open society is built and sustained on the freedom of expression.

And here comes the complement to that assault. We need only veer laterally and consider a recent – perhaps merely fortuitous act of – partnership by another governance installation – the legislative houses.

We must thank the DSS for impressing on us the same obligatory call to interrogate any proposition that curtails that right of free expression, even where camouflaged under the rubric of Hate Speech. Or Fake news.

Both, we all agree are not only harmful but cowardly and despicable. However, combine these recent sample offerings from the two institutional within the context of an Open Society and where do we find ourselves?

Let me repeat: a legislature proposes nothing less than capital punishment for what it deems Hate speech. First, are we really prepared to take on the awful responsibility of telling our children that the rational response to any kind of social outrage is to kill? Does that truly reflect the ascent of humanity from instinctive animal predatoriness?

Let us take a moment to follow the trajectory of what amounts to nothing less than a vicious cycle. This very setting in which we are assembled, Aso Rock, could not be more appropriate for charting the perilous waters into which this nation is being plunged.

So, here goes, a reconstruction that should by no means be considered a worst-case scenario. Society does not operate in virtual reality. We exist palpably.

The structure that is constitutionally empowered to determine what is denounced as Hate or Toxic Speech is rendered ineffectual daily through acts of executive condescension and disdain from the peak of governance.

The seal of desecration was finally planted on the institution of law, the sole legitimate adjudicator, by an agency that now stands accused of violating the very principles that this agency, the EFCC and its sister ICPC, were set up to uphold.

Is it excessive to consider the possibility that other potential accusers of that security agency are locked up in dungeons, some forgotten for upwards three to four years?

Kindly check the media for testimonies of those who have recently been discharged from or discovered in DSS custody after years in their hellholes. How would the DSS now respond, given the protection of this ready-to-kill Bill on Hate?

Obviously, with complaint of Hate Attack by the accusers, punishable by death. The agency proceeds to arrest the newspaper staff and the accusers. The case goes to hearing.

The judge sets a date and grants the accusers bail. What happens next? The agency under accusation invades the court, scatters everyone, pounces on the recently bailed ‘felon’ and drags him off struggling desperately for life and liberty.

That, I repeat, is not a worst-case scenario, nor is it far-fetched. The blueprint is out in public domain.

The anti-corruption offensive, on which we are hopefully sincerely engaged, is meaningless without complete openness and without the total liberty of every citizen, subject only to constraints imposed under the law.

It is, therefore, most heart-warming that civil society is waking up to its responsibilities and has called strongly for an apology to the nation from the so-called Directorate of State Services. We must proceed further.

We need from the DSS a list of all its current detainees, their names, addresses, and records of confinement. I see no security issue fulfilled in keeping such names secret.

Why is any citizen reduced to paying 50,000 Naira to bribe an officer to procure a cellphone, just to let his family know that he is alive but immured in a dungeon?

The right to information must be exercised comprehensively and most certainly in favour of citizen liberty, in conformity to that third United Nations notation – Human Rights – that it has designated for tomorrow.

So perhaps something positive will be extracted from this collective violation that this nation has recently undergone.

With that foregoing, Greetings on my own behalf, and on behalf of – shall we call them? – the anxious generation, on this World’s Anti-Corruption Day. Let this morning’s overture, the symbolic walk from the designated citadel of ethical transformation to this venue be absorbed as a walk to freedom within a corruption-free air for those forgotten Nigerians in illegal captivity.

A LONG WALK TO FREEDOM, wrote Nelson Mandela, victim of a vicious system called apartheid. We do not labour under apartheid terror, so let us shorten that walk and open up society by giving voice to the voiceless, and presence to the absent, held under our very noses under inhuman conditions, forced to pay for the privilege of reminding the rest of us, in approximate freedom, that they still exist.

In short, let us embrace the liberating, transformative spirit of — if not exactly Revolution Now – then at least, maybe — Liberation Now?

Wole SOYINKA.

Soyinka Criticizes DSS For Sowore’s Re-Arrest

 

Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka has criticised the Department of State Services (DSS) for the re-arrest of the convener of the RevolutionNow protest, Omoyele Sowore.

While delivering a keynote address at an event organised by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to mark the UN Day on Anti-Corruption, Soyinka described the act as another form of corruption.

He had earlier condemned the invasion of a court in Abuja by operatives of the DSS in a bid to re-arrest Mr Sowore.

In a statement personally signed by him on Friday, Professor Soyinka asked President Muhammadu Buhari to call the agency to order.

Read Also: Sowore’s Re-Arrest: Soyinka Condemns DSS’ Action, Sends Message To Buhari

The Nobel laureate also warned the government to uphold and respect judicial institutions in order to prevent the present situation from degenerating into chaos.

He also advised that those he described as the “wild dogs of disobedience” be taught some basic court manners.

Before Friday’s incident occurred, the court had ruled to adjourn the trial of Sowore and his co-accused, Olawale Bakare, until February 11, 2020.

The duo are facing charges of treason following the demonstrations by some Nigerians under the #RevolutionNow to protest what they described as worsening conditions in the country.

Read his full speech below.

THE OPEN SOCIETY ENDANGERED

(Being a talk delivered at the UN World Anti-Corruption Day, Abuja, Dec. 9. 2019)

Present here, I fully expect, is the Youth contingent of this undertaking. We are still within the United Nations designated Year of the Child, and that makes youth involvement doubly appropriate as an integral part of our encounter. This is not mere sentiment.

As some of you here may recall, I have referred to my set on occasion as the Wasted Generation. I recall that this led to some members of the generation after mine referring to theirs as the Lost Generation. It all happened during a lecture, and the speaker’s comment went thus: “Professor Soyinka does not know how lucky he is. His generation has been merely wasted, ours is lost.” I do not know if that speaker was right, or I was, or maybe both were. Frankly, I am not even sure which is worse – to be lost or to be wasted. All I am certain of is – moral endangerment, the degradation of moral sensibilities in the vulnerable sector of any society, however, defined. That impressionable sector is always at risk wherever abnormalities become accepted as the norm, and the jettisoning of moral restraints is lauded, through example, as the basis of routine existence.

If I may use a notorious example, can anyone of us have failed to remark how the phenomenon of cult-ism has penetrated downwards, lower and lower in generational infiltration until we now read of it even in some elite primary schools? Children may not find themselves in situations where they can actual engage in corrupt practices, but they grow up eventually into that stage, and if they have been raised in an environment where adults are exposed as corrupt, even expelled from their positions of status, only to return to their home base, to be lauded by their communities, received with pomp and pageantry and garlanded with chieftaincy titles, it requires no special exercise of the imagination to project what the future holds for overall society. The principle of “catch them young” is one that pervades most spheres of human activity, so it’s all a question of who does the “catching”. If we are serious and convinced about a foundational principle of social conduct, then we obviously cannot leave others to do the catching.

One of the most telling exercises I have indulged in my creative career was one which evolved from my activities in the Lagos Black Heritage Festival. We initiated a youth item called “The Vision of the Child”.

This consisted of members of that yet undefined generation being set a theme for creative interpretation – in painting, essay and even poetic forms. We encouraged them to let their imagination roam free in all directions. One such themes that I set them was “The Thousand And One Faces of Corruption”. The results were remarkable. If anyone thought that children even at the ‘innocent’ age downwards from thirteen or fourteen all the way down to seven or six, do not know what ‘corruption’ means, how it works, how it affects their lives and their families, they should see some of those visual and literary compositions, talk to their authors and artists, and ask the latter to explain some of the seemingly abstruse images they create. You would be thoroughly chastened. For example, even I had not thought of dragging Sambisa forest into the geography of corruption, being too preoccupied with the horror of that outrage in itself. They did, albeit inspired by an earlier thematic imposition – THE ROAD TO SAMBISA.

This is how it all begins – read their submissions -, with corruption over-whelming even basic social and governance responsibilities. Mr. Magu, the chairman of EFCC happened on that exhibition, and was sufficiently struck as to request that it tour the nation. We were more than willing. Some of his staff visited the exhibition at Freedom Park and went into preliminaries with our young collaborators. That was – how many years ago? More ruefully, will that exhibition ever travel beyond its present con-fines?

Since then, that initiative has metamorphosed into an even more elaborate movement with the name Corruption Busters – launched in Lekki in December 2017. I was able to attend just the beginning of the event but, from evidence of the video recording, the Vice-President threw himself most vigorously into that initiative. So did a couple of supportive foreign embassies Since then however, that movement appears to have gone into recession – but I may be wrong. I would be curious to see if they participated in the Walk from EFCC to this venue this morning. If not, Mr. Magu, you and I have a problem!

The coincidence of global affirmations of past agreements on social conduct such as the ongoing celebration of the Convention on the Rights of Children, the World Anti-Corruption Day which is today, rein-forced by the World Human Rights Day on Tuesday, tomorrow, should be exploited to the fullest, not merely to involve that generation in a progressive seizure of society and humanity, but also to compel adults to see both themselves and the society they have created through the eyes of children, obtain a glimpse of how that generation itself views and assesses the conduct and values of their parents, uncles, aunts, chiefs, their ministers, even their priests and supposed moral exemplars.

Youth participation takes multiple forms, even where the youths are not physically present. Images are useful ‘take-away’ teachers. The venue of this encounter could have been festooned with the results from that – or similar — exhibitions, or other related exercises that represent minds yet under formation. If you must take on corruption, which runs 24/7 all-year-round, then we must be alert to all opportunities to propagate the counter-gospel 24/7 all year round, with bonus ‘opportunity targets’ – to borrow from military par-lance – such as the mentioned triple notations on the UN calendar. Do some of us sometimes perhaps appear obsessed by this problem? Of course. Long before any government ever thought it to make it its business, hundreds and thousands of Nigerian individuals in their fields of activities have tackled it head-on with all attendant risk. The choice was ‘join them or fight them’. How many here are old enough to have heard of the civilian Anti-Bribery League headed by the owner – I hopefully recollect — of Lisabi Mills in Yaba? Or later, of the government’s short-lived initiative, the X-Squad with offices in 5(?) Milverton Street, Ikoyi? Somehow or the other it takes on the intensity of a personal battle, for which agonizing setbacks, such as the assassination of the late Bola Ige, a personal friend, but also Attorney-General and Minister of Justice of this nation, only serve as further spur. Only the cynical fail to accept that it is a contest that transcends politics, partisanship and even governance, which, in this particular instance, has sunk in recent times to its lowest ebb.

Corruption triggers off numerous collateral activities in institutional conduct and governmental inter-face with citizenry, confrontation with its effects is thus plainly transformational. This means that, for any cor-ruption degraded society, it should be nothing less than revolutionary in approach – call it by that or any other word, it is still a revolutionary undertaking. Revolution Now? Or Soon? Later or Whenever? An anti-corruption focus is surely integral to any revolutionary agenda, often it constitutes its very trigger – check any society you wish – from Cuba through China to Egypt or Myammar.

Corruption is hardly ever omitted in the list of indictments that justify that very undertaking called a revolution. Thus, anti-corruption activism is a conscious, revolutionary offensive that aims at transformation of the totality of the social phenomena. Those agencies, or governments that permit themselves to be terrified by the word had better learn to live with it. Even governments sometimes pride themselves with claims that they have revolutionized this or that facet of society or indeed, of governance itself., meaning that such a government embarks on a drastic self-transformation in both form and practice. So much, in general terms.

Now we turn our spotlight more specifically on that agency that appears to consider the word treasonable. Has anyone been following recent testimonies in the media by those who have entered the dungeons of the state security agency and lived to tell the tale? What has emerged in these past few days is that the very agency that recently desecrated the sanctum of justice is itself charged with corruption. It is publicly claimed that extortion has become commonplace, inflicted on helpless citizens, some of whom lack a voice, or influential contacts, unlike the yet ongoing instance of a former media publisher and presidential candidate. Corruption can only be fought and degraded, if not entirely destroyed, within the reality of an open society. And an open society is built and sustained on the freedom of expression.

And here comes the complement to that assault. We need only veer laterally and consider a recent – perhaps merely fortuitous act of – partnership by another governance installation – the legislative houses. We must thank the DSS for impressing on us the same obligatory call to interrogate any proposition that curtails that right of free expression, even where camouflaged under the rubric of Hate Speech. Or Fake news. Both, we all agree are not only harmful but cowardly and despicable.
However, combine these recent sample offerings from the two institutional within the context of an Open Society and where do we find ourselves? Let me repeat: a legislature proposes nothing less than capital punishment for what it deems Hate speech. First, are we really prepared to take on the awful responsibility of telling our children that the rational response to any kind of social outrage is to kill? Does that truly reflect the ascent of humanity from instinctive animal predatoriness? Let us take a moment to follow the trajectory of what amounts to nothing less than a vicious cycle. This very setting in which we are assembled, Aso Rock, could not be more appropriate for charting the perilous waters into which this nation is being plunged. So, here goes, a reconstruction that should by no means be considered a worst-case scenario.

Society does not operate in virtual reality. We exist palpably. The structure that is constitutionally empowered to determine what is denounced as Hate or Toxic Speech is rendered ineffectual daily through acts of executive condescension and disdain from the peak of governance. The seal of desecration was finally plant-ed on the institution of law, the sole legitimate adjudicator, by an agency that now stands accused of violating the very principles that this agency, the EFCC and its sister ICPC, were set up to uphold. Is it excessive to consider the possibility that other potential accusers of that security agency are locked up in dungeons, some for-gotten for upwards three to four years? Kindly check the media for testimonies of those who have recently been discharged from or discovered in DSS custody after years in their hellholes. How would the DSS now respond, given the protection of this ready-to-kill Bill on Hate? Obviously, with complaint of Hate Attack by the accusers, punishable by death. The agency proceeds to arrest the newspaper staff and the accusers. The case goes to hearing. The judge sets a date and grants the accusers bail. What happens next? The agency under accusation invades the court, scatters everyone, pounces on the recently bailed ‘felon’ and drags him off struggling desperately for life and liberty. That, I repeat, is not a worst-case scenario, nor is it far-fetched. The blueprint is out in public domain.

The anti-corruption offensive, on which we are hopefully sincerely engaged, is meaningless without complete openness and without the total liberty of every citizen, subject only to constraints imposed under the law. It is, therefore, most heart-warming that civil society is waking up to its responsibilities and has called strongly for an apology to the nation from the so-called Directorate of State Services. We must proceed further. We need from the DSS a list of all its current detainees, their names, addresses and records of confinement. I see no security issue fulfilled in keeping such names secret. Why is any citizen reduced to paying 50,000 Naira to bribe an officer to procure a cellphone, just to let his family know that he is alive but immured in a dungeon? The right to information must be exercised comprehensively and most certainly in favour of citizen liberty, in conformity to that third United Nations notation – Human Rights – that it has designated for tomorrow. So perhaps something positive will be extracted from this collective violation that this nation has recently undergone.

With that foregoing, Greetings on my own behalf, and on behalf of – shall we call them? – the anxious generation, on this World’s Anti-Corruption Day. Let this morning’s overture, the symbolic walk from the des-ignated citadel of ethical transformation to this venue be absorbed as a walk to freedom within a corruption-free air for those forgotten Nigerians in illegal captivity. A LONG WALK TO FREEDOM, wrote Nelson Mandela, victim of a vicious system called apartheid. We do not labour under apartheid terror, so let us shorten that walk and open up society by giving voice to the voiceless, and presence to the absent, held under our very nos-es under inhuman conditions, forced to pay for the privilege of reminding the rest of us, in approximate free-dom, that they still exist. In short, let us embrace the liberating, transformative spirit of — if not exactly Revolution Now – then at least, maybe — Liberation Now?

Wole SOYINKA.

Sowore’s Re-Arrest: Soyinka Condemns DSS’ Action, Sends Message To Buhari

Professor Wole Soyinka                                                                                                     Omoyele Sowore

 

 

Nobel Laureate Professor Wole Soyinka has condemned the invasion of a court in Abuja by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS).

In a statement personally signed by him on Friday, Professor Soyinka asked President Muhammadu Buhari to call the agency to order.

He issued the statement hours after DSS operatives who came in at least three pickup trucks stormed the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, in a bid to re-arrest Mr Omoyele Sowore.


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The attempt to make the arrested inside the court was, however, resisted by Sowore and his supporters, resulting in a scuffle between both sides.

Confronting the security officials, Sowore’s lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana, stated that it was very wrong to carry out such an operation in court.

He, thereafter, asked the officials to go out of the court premises after with Sowore was driven in Falana’s vehicle to the DSS office where he was re-arrested and detained.

In his reaction, Professor Soyinka likened the incident to what he called ‘Lessons from the African Wild Dog.”

According to him, disobedience calls to disobedience and the disobedience of the orders would only lead to the disregard of the authority of other arms of civil society by the people.

The Nobel laureate warned the government to uphold and respect judicial institutions in order to prevent the present situation from degenerating into chaos.

He also advised that those he described as the “wild dogs of disobedience” be taught some basic court manners.

Before Friday’s incident happened, the court had ruled to adjourn the trial of Sowore and his co-accused, Olawale Bakare, until February 11, 2020.

The duo are facing charges of treason following the demonstrations by some Nigerians under the #RevolutionNow to protest what they described as worsening conditions in the country.

The DSS released Sowore and Bakare on Thursday after refusing to do so in disobedience to two court orders.

Despite the refusal, the security agency insisted that it has always obeyed the orders of the court.

Read Professor Soyinka’s statement below:

Lessons From The African Wild Dog (Lycaeon Pictus)

A few years ago, I watched the video of a pack of the famed African wild dogs hunt, eventually bring down, and proceed to devour a quarry. It was an impala, antelope family.

The pack isolated the most vulnerable looking member of the herd – it was pregnant – pursued it, until it fled to a waterhole which, for such animals, is the nearest thing to a sanctuary.

A few minutes ago, almost as it was happening, I watched the video of a pack of the DSS, bring down, and fight over their unarmed, totally defenceless quarry within the sanctuary of a court of law.

I found little or no difference between the two scenarios, except that the former, the wild dogs, exhibited more civilised table manners than the DSS u court manners.

Only yesterday, in my commentary on the ongoing Sowore saga, I pointed out the near-perfect similarity between plain crude thuggery and the current rage of court disobedience.

Little did I suspect that the state children of disobedience would aspire to the level of the African wild dogs on a pack hunt.

I apologise for underestimating the DSS capacity for the unthinkable. I reiterate the nation’s concern, indeed alarm, about the escalating degradation of the judiciary through multiple means, of which disobedience of court orders is fast becoming the norm.

May I remind this government that disobedience calls to disobedience, and that disobedience of the orders of the constitutional repository of the moral authority of arbitration  – the judiciary – can only lead eventually to a people’s disregard of the authority of other arms of civil society, a state of desperation that is known, recognised and accepted as – civil disobedience.

It is so obvious – state disobedience leads eventually to civil disobedience, piecemeal or through a collective withdrawal of recognition of other structures of authority.

That way leads to chaos but – who set it in motion? As is often the case, the state, unquestionably. Such a state bears full responsibility for the ensuing social condition known as anomie.

It has become imperative and urgent to send this message to President-General Buhari:  Rein in your wild dogs of disobedience.  And for a start, get a trainer to teach them some basic court manners!

Wole SOYINKA

Soyinka Calls For ‘Holistic Approach’ To Nigeria’s Security Challenges

Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, speaks during a visit to the Government House in Makurdi, the Benue State capital on November 5, 2019.

 

 

Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has asked the Federal Government to take decisive action against Boko Haram, armed herdsmen, and the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP).

He stated this at a meeting with Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State on Tuesday at the Government House in Makurdi, the state capital.

Professor Soyinka, who visited some displaced persons at their camp in the Abagana area of the state, noted that the insurgents and others were terrorising Nigerians.

READ ALSO: Why Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore’s President Must Be Arrested – Ortom

According to him, the security situation in the country requires the immediate attention of the government, especially at the federal level with an all-inclusive approach.

“It’s a pity that this area of the country is really besieged. First it was Boko Haram, then it is these herdsmen, and then recently there is ISWAP; it strikes me that a holistic approach has to be taken,” said the Nobel laureate.

He added, “It’s not the responsibility of Benue alone, it’s not the responsibility of the affected states alone; it’s a national responsibility.

“And I hope that this government has seen the result of taking things easy when they should be taken by the throat and tackled very decisively; now that they’ve seen how violence calls to violent, how impunity calls to impunity, and arrogance calls to arrogance.”

 

Philosophy Of Disorder

Professor Soyinka also condemned the herdsmen attacks which claimed several lives and left hundreds displaced in Benue.

He decried the situation where a group of persons would threaten the peace of a state in a civilised society when the government takes decisions in the interest of its people.

The Nobel laureate said, “When you have any kind of unit in an overall community which says, ‘either you do this or we’ll show you’, this is the mentality which led to the virtual takeover of an order by a philosophy of disorder.

“The possibility that any section of society can call the shut for the totality, and I’m referring to when Benue State passed the law about open grazing and the criminals, the homicidal maniacs had inhaled to say ‘you take the law out or else’ … that means we don’t live in a civilised society.”