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To Shock And Awe: Wole Soyinka Responds To Muhammadu Buhari’s Threat Of War On S’East |The Republican News

By Prof. Wole Soyinka

We heard it last during the heydays of Donald Rumsfeld under George Bush – and judge in what condition it has left that part of the world, and beyond. Rumsfeld’s namesake – a sobering coincidence – also spat the same gung-ho rhetoric. That Donald once ordered his uniformed forces to “go out there” and “dominate the environment”, following civilian protests at extra-judicial killings of blacks by state police. Soon enough, leaving nothing to chance, that Donald II seized on the first opportunity to personally mobilize a mob to “dominate” Capitol Hill, his own seat of government that was clearly slipping from his control.

Optimists are free to underplay that threat to the much-acclaimed democratic beacon. Study that scenario carefully however, and you find It is not a question of: it could never have succeeded. Such surmises are wrong, It COULD HAVE SUCCEEDED, albeit with unpredictable consequences for America and the world. And so, when the elected head of a democratic state like Nigeria, not perched precariously on the knife edge of power but with a couple more years in the kitty, threatens to “shock” dissidents, we should indeed be shocked out of any complacency. Even if History has been deliberately eliminated from the school’s curriculum, Memory suffices to jerk us into a watchful, precautionary alert.

I hold no brief for those who resort to burning down police stations, slaughter their occupants simply for the crime of earning a measly monthly pittance, torch electoral offices, assassinate politicians in calculated effort to set sections of the country against others in the promotion of their own political goals. These are largely nihilists, psychopaths and/or criminal lords, soul mates of Boko Haram, ISWAP, Da’esh and company, not to be confused with genuine liberators. All over the world, throughout history, elections are denounced, boycotted, and generally delegitimized without recourse to wanton butchery.

When, however, a Head of State threatens to “shock” civilian dissidents, to “deal with them in the language they understand”, and in a context that conveniently brackets opposition to governance with any bloodthirsting enemies of state, we have to call attention to the precedent language of such a national leader under even more provocative, nation disintegrative circumstances. What a pity, and what a tragic setting, to discover that this language was accessible all the time to President Buhari, where and when it truly mattered, when it would have been not only appropriate, but deserved and mandatory!
When Benue was first massively brought under siege, with the massacre of innocent citizens, the destruction of farms, mass displacement followed by alien occupation, Buhari’s language – both as utterance and as what is known as “body language” – was of a totally different temper. It was diffident, conciliatory, even apologetic. After much internal pressure, he eventually visited the scene of slaughter. His language? Learn to live peacefully with your neighbours. The expected language, rationally and legitimately applied to the aggressors, was exactly what we now hear – “I shall shock you. I shall deal with you in the language you understand”. That language was missing at the moment that mattered most. It remained “missing in action” for years until a belated “Shoot at sight” outburst. Too late, and of course, inappropriately phrased. The precedent had been set, the genie let out of the bottle, consolidating a culture of impunity that predictably spread its bloody stain all over the nation.

Buhari’s recent deployment of this language is thus wrongly targeted, and tragically untimely. Even while he was threatening dissidents, an agenda of both secessionism and alien occupation was taking place not too distant from Aso Rock. ISWAP was taking over the already excised territories of Shekau’s Boko Haram, appointing new warlords of the occupational forces, sectioning Nigeria into vassal states and unfurling their replacement flags of domination. Soon, logically, ISWAP’s letters of diplomatic accreditation will be presented in Aso Rock?

We must however backtrack a little – that is the function of memory. It would be false to suggest that these eggs of impunity are newly laid. They have been incubating in loathsome hatcheries of power and domination for years, even decades, and now the raptors have been hatched and taken wings. The political culture of the devil’s bargain, of denial, evasion, avoidance of constitutional mandates, the culture of “appeasement of the unappeasable” – to quote myself – in order to gratify the vested interests of a narrow, power obsessed elite has blossomed. Finally, the chickens have come home to roost.

The evocation of the Civil War, where millions of civilians perished, is an unworthy emotive ploy that has run its course. In any case – and this has been voiced all too often, and loudly – the nation is already at war, and of a far more potentially devastating dimension than it has ever known. Every single occupant of this nation space called Nigeria has been declared potential casualty, children being pushed to the very battlefront, without a semblance of protective cover. We have betrayed the future. We need no breast beating about past wars. The world has moved on, so have nations. Some, however, prefer to move backwards. The continent is full of these atavists. In Nigeria, powerful cliques of this persuasion still roam the corridors of power We are indeed at war. It does not take the formal declaration of hostilities, with or without lethal bombardments, for a nation to find itself shell-shocked. The populace of this nation is already in that shell-shocked condition. So, what is there left to shock?
It is time to think “outside the box”. That many, in so doing, find no landing place except dissolution, is not a crime. It is not peculiar to any peoples, and is embedded in the ongoing history of many, and not only on this continent. It is their natural right as free citizens, not slaves of habit and indoctrination. Where disillusion rides high, sentiment tumbles earthwards, and the only question becomes: what can be salvaged? It thus remains the responsibility of leadership to persuade them, through both discourse and remedial action, that there are other options. Attempted bullying is not a language of discourse, nor the facile ploy of tarring all birds with the same feather.

I shall end on a personal note. It was not intended but, in view of breast thumping rhetoric by one president after the other over military sacrifice – undeniable, certainly – such recalls should be considered salutary.

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Fulani Herdsmen Attack Wole Soyinka’s Abeokuta Residence |The Republican News

Prof. Wole Soyinka

By Unini Chioma


■ As Groups Condemn Attack

The Southern and Middle Belt Forum has condemned attack on the Abeokuta residence of the Nobel Laurette, Prof. Wole Soyinka, by Fulani herdsmen on Tuesday, According to SaharaReporters.

SaharaReporters learnt that Soyinka had moved to Lagos in the meantime, following the attack and one of the herders has been arrested.

It was also learnt that the rest ran away, leaving their cows behind.

A source in the area told SaharaReporters that the police and some hunters in the area have taken possession of the cows.

In a statement issued by the forum on Wednesday, signed by Yinka Odumakin (South-West); Chief Guy Ikokwu (South-East); Senator Bassey Henshaw (South-South); and Dr Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt), the group described the attack on the professor as a painful development.

The group also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to caution Fulani herdsmen in the country, saying their criminal activities could cause division in Nigeria.

The statement read, “Hours after Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, warned this country that the activities of Fulani herdsmen could lead to a civil war and urged President Buhari to denounce them clearly to show he is President of Federal Republic of Nigeria, the herdsmen stormed the elder stateman’s residence in Abeokuta around 1 pm on Tuesday and caused serious scare before the professor called in the police.

“It is a painful development that herders will not even give a scant regard to a man of Soyinka stature in their madness let loose on Nigeria with no authority to call them to order.

“If there are people still living in denial about the intention of these criminals and those shielding them, there is no further evidence than this.

“We do not know what they have that they are playing this roulette but we are sure when a blind man says we have to settle this stoning ourselves, it is either he is stepping on or clutching one.

“We also want to warn them of the implications of hurting a man like Soyinka with the fragile unity of the country.

“Let President Buhari know that these criminals are working hard to make him the last President of One Nigeria.”

In the same vein, the Women Arise and Centre for Change condemned the attack on Soyinka.

A statement signed by the President of the group, Joe Okei-Odumakin, described the attack as a confirmation that Nigeria is on the edge of a precipice.

The group urged the security agencies to accost the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

The statement read, “After a confirmation from Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, that some herders struck at his Abeokuta home on Tuesday at 1pm, leading to a siege on the world literary figure, we can now safely say that Nigeria is at the edge of the precipice.

“Soyinka had warned the country last weekend of how close Nigeria is to civil war if President Muhammadu Buhari did not act fast.

“Instead of the president acting, his media aides said he would become a talkative if he continued to speak on Miyetti Allah.

“Nigeria is dying before our very eyes and its death pang is what the attack on Soyinka symbolised.

“We hope security agencies will still have the guts to accost the assailants and bring them to justice, although the prognosis does not look good at all.”

A video was shared on the social media where a man stated that Fulani herdsmen who attacked Prof Soyinka had been arrested by the police in Ogun.

However, when SaharaReporters contacted the Police spokesperson in Ogun, Abimbola Oyeyemi, he said he could not confirm the incident as he had yet to get full details from the Divisional Police Officer of the area where the incident occurred.

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Attack On Bishop Kukah, Calculated Avoidance And Diversionary —Wole Soyinka |The Republican News

Prof. Wole Soyinka

By Wole Soyinka

The timing of Bishop 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 Father 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 be far less 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 Kukay’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 this common placesale 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 organizationa 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 Father 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 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 Father 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.

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Soyinka To Buhari: Quit Tyrannical Use Of Security Agencies To Silence Nigerians |RN

Prof. Wole Soyinka has alleged that the Buhari-led administration is using security agencies to silence Nigerians.

The Nobel Laureate made this claim at the unveiling of an art gallery in commemoration of his 85th birthday. Insisting that such move only shows that the government is afraid, Soyinka added that it also reduces those running the government, Igbere TV reports.

“It is important to send strong message to this government and to the security services to stop trying to muzzle people when they come together to exchange ideas.

“You’re reducing them as human beings and you’re also reducing yourselves as human beings, because it means you’re afraid to listen” he said.

Speaking further at the event held on Saturday August 24, Soyinka told Nigerians not to believe everything they read on social media.

“Be very, very careful what you believe even when you read such materials in social media or sometimes in newspapers because in this country, we have a most fertile multiplier effect.

“When somebody hears something, he puts it on the Internet, it spreads and an industry begins as people start commenting on things which never existed.

“Sometimes on social media, you’ll even see trending quotes supposedly from me, with my name, my photograph, with statements which represents what those people want to say but lacked the courage to say it” he said.

This is coming after security operatives sealed off the venue of a symposium where Soyinka, Falana and many others were expected to speak on the security issues ravaging the country.

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