Wole Soyinka, a professor and Nobel Laureate, has described Muhammadu Buhari, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as the most brutal face of military dictatorship after Sani Abacha.
The revered professor, who spoke to the BBC, suggested that Nigerians are in a serious dilemma with lack of alternative.
When asked about his comments about the general as a brutal devil, Soyinka said he did not exactly call him the devil, but a brutal dictator.
“I didn’t exactly call him a devil, but of course I talked about dinning with the devil with a very long spoon, but he (Buhari), I didn’t even want to dine with him at all,” he said.
“After Abacha, he represented the most brutal face of military dictatorship, there’s no question at all about that.
“I’ve got to the point whereby I look at the possibility of a genuine internal transformation with some individuals. I have been disappointed before, and we must always be ready to be disappointed again.”
Speaking about deepening democracy in Nigeria, the 80-year-old said: “There are many, many actions, especially by the government in power which I won’t say are exactly democratic. Let’s have a fair war, it’s not yet deep enough.”
He went on to speak about the abducted Chibok girls, branding insurgency in the north-east a failure of leadership by Jonathan and his predecessors.
“What happened was a clear failure in leadership. One cannot hold the government solely; the responsibility spreads, because the Boko Haram thing began in various ways a long time ago.
“There was a time when they announced the Islamisation of Nigeria; they should have been stamped upon by the constitution, using the constitution as a weapon.
“While definitely, the responsibility of what is going on rests with Jonathan, the bigger problem began with previous governments.”
On the options before Nigeria in the coming presidential elections, the erudite scholar urged Nigerians to be prepared to go back to the trenches if the wrong choice is made.
“Basically, for me, anything which so smells of soliciting permanent incumbency or littling the options is not palatable. But you know, the environment changes, the circumstances change and then even the worst military can become demobilised, self-internally demobilised if you like.
“All I know is that if a wrong choice is made, we must all be prepared, we should start preparing to go back to the trenches, whatever it takes.
“Let’s put it this way: the way you fight a civilian misrule is different from the way you deal with people like Sanni Abacha.
“So I’m saying Nigerians should be prepared to deal with any new betrayals by any ruler with the same kind of passion, commitment and understanding of a lack of alternative as they did with Sani Abacha, because we cannot continue this cycle of repetitious evil and irresponsibility.”