Southeast should get Nigeria presidency to heal from civil war, says Wole Soyinka

Southeast should get Nigeria presidency to heal from civil war, says Wole Soyinka

Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka has said the Nigeria presidency should go to the southeast region to heal from the wounds of the civil war.

The Nigerian civil war lasted for three years between 1967 and 1970 after the southeast declared the independence of Biafra. More than one million died in the war according to an estimate.

More than fifty years after the end of the war, separatist agitators in the region are still pushing for independence, highlighting the festering sore caused by the war.

To heal from the civil war, Soyinka suggested that the presidency going to the southeast will help to “rewrite the history”.

“It is not just about reconstruction, it is also about rewriting of history,” Soyinka said in an interview aired on Channels Television on Monday.

“We believe that to close the circle of negativity, that we have embarked on before and during the civil war, I believe, the presidency, as soon as possible, should go towards the eastern region which lost a war.

“This is one of the ways to heal the wounds of the nation – that is a principle and philosophy.”

Soyinka, an advocate of restructuring, reechoed his stance that Nigeria should be restructured.

The Nobel Laureate, who spoke on the buildup and aftermath of the 2023 election, said none of the leading candidates presidential candidates provided a believable agenda for restructuring, hence, the reason he did not endorse anyone.

“In fact one of the reasons I refused to endorse any candidate is because none of the candidates addressed the things closest to my heart, like again, reconstructing the nation,” Soyinka said.

“I did not see any genuine commitment, any believable agenda about restructuring, decentralization of Nigeria which is at the heart of the problem for me at the moment.

“People were more concerned with just aiming for power.”

Soyinka stated that he disagrees with criticisms that Nigeria is yet to fully understand democracy following the conduct of the 2023 election.

“I do not think we do not understand democracy, certain stakes have been catapulted to the fore and over – have come to overwhelm what should be the real stuffing of the democratic process,” Soyinka said.

“We can still come back to that phase where we had a common purpose that enough of military rule, I’m talking about June 12, and demonstrated, not just to ourselves but to the whole world.

“Yes, we know what democracy is and we know how to practice it and unfortunately, we seem not to have succeeded in reaching that level of the democratic concert that we exhibited when said, look, let us take back our political violation and get rid of the Kaaki boys and we can still come back to it.”

He, however, noted that the result of the election showed that a “point has been scored” and “people now know the power they have and the youths have woken up.”


The Guardian

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