…Comments Sad, Unfortunate -Presidency.
Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, Tuesday took a critical look at President Goodluck Jonathan administration, likening to the biblical King Nebuchadnezzer over what he described as the reign of impunity in the country.
Soyinka specifically condemned the president over the recent police’s invasion of the National Assembly, arguing that the lawmakers rather than the police ought to be hailed for scaling the Assembly fence.
Addressing a press conference on what he titled ‘King Nebuchadnezzar – The Reign of Impunity’ at the Freedom Park in Lagos on Tuesday, the Nobel laureate criticized the president for allowing the police action, adding, that the battle line had been drawn and Nigerians must decide whether to submit or resist to the current democratic dispensation
“I shall not insist that the biblical figure of Nebuchadnezzar is uniquely apt for the pivotal figure of the ‘democratic’ history in the making at this moment,” he stated.
Adding: “For one thing, Nebu was a nation builder and a warrior. One could argue even more convincingly for the figure of Balthazar, his successor, or indeed Emperor Nero as reference point – you all remember him – the emperor who took to fiddling while Rome was burning.
“However you should easily recall why I opted for King Nebu – the figure that currently sits on the top of our political pile himself evoked it, albeit in a context that virtuously disclaimed any similarities, even tendencies. Perhaps he meant it at the time when he claimed: ‘I am no Nebuchadnezzar.’ Perhaps not. One judges leaders on acts however, not pronouncements, which are often as reliable as electoral promises.
“The recent choice of a new leader for the guard was clearly no accident, and this hitherto unknown enforcer, one Suleiman Abba, has wasted no time in inaugurating a season of brutish power. When a people’s elected emissaries are disenfranchised, cast out like vagrants and resort to scaling fences to engage in their designated functions, the people get the message.
“However, the choice is always there, and each choice comes at a cost. It is either we pay now, or pay later.
“Peaking at his own personalised example where he set the law of arithmetic on its head – I refer to the split in the Governors’ Forum, and his ‘formal’ recognition of the minority will in a straightforward, peer election – democracy has been rendered meaningless where it should be most fervently exemplified.
“Nothing is more unworthy of leadership than to degrade a system by which one attains fulfillment, and this is what the nation has witnessed time and time again in various parts of the nation, the recent affront against the legislative chamber being only the most blatant and unconscionable…
“It is a warning. His choices for the occupancy of crucial public positions – such as the protective arm of the nation – constitutes an even more immediate and constant public alert. The signals are ominous – for and beyond 2015.
Soyinka who also spoke on Jonathan’s last week visit at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife said: “That a national leader should go campaigning on the platform of ethnic support at a time when priorities dictate a united national engagement for survival, is a grotesque undertaking.
“Jonathan has continued to degrade the political system by endorsing lawlessness and supporting lawless appointees, not minding the chaos Nigeria is going through.”
However, the presidency has reacted to the statements , describing Soyinka’s comments as sad and unfortunate.
Jonathan’s Specail Adviser on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe said the president was disappointed at the remarks.