Noble Laureate Prof Wole Soyinka yesterday urged the Federal Government to consider former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s comments on rising insecurity in the country and the alleged Africa Fulanisation and Islamisation.
He said the issues raised by Obasanjo should be taken seriously, and not dismissed.
Obasanjo had, during the second session of the Synod of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Oleh, Isoko South Local Government Area, Delta State, said that every insecurity challenge in the country must be taken seriously and addressed squarely without favoritism or cuddling.
The former president said Boko Haram and herdsmen’s acts of violence were not treated as they should at the beginning and that they have both incubated and developed beyond what Nigeria can handle alone. They are now combined and internationalized with ISIS in control.
He said: “It is no longer an issue of lack of education and lack of employment for our youths in Nigeria which it began as, it is now West African Fulanisation, African Islamisation and global organised crimes of human trafficking, money laundering, drug trafficking, gun trafficking, illegal mining and regime change.
The Federal Government berated the former President on Tuesday, describing his comments as divisive and unfortunate.
But speaking yesterday in Lagos at the Africa Day 2019 organised by United Bank for Africa (UBA), Soyinka caution the government against dismissing Obasanjo’s advice.
Soyinka, who spoke on the theme: “Africa’s history redefined: Our past, a path to the future”, noted that the country was going through “horrendous descent into the abyss” and that the people on the street are interested in having their problems solved.
He said that government was leaving behind the substance – high level of kidnapping, youth suicide and terrorism in the land, urging the people to unite to ensure that their demand for good and equitable leadership are achieved.
The literary giant said: “We should be careful not to be too dismissive over the matter. The Federal Government is leaving aside the substance, which is the high level of kidnapping, youth suicide and terrorism in the country. I support unity in Africa but we need to particularize the area of unity we seek. Even Boko Haram also tries to unify everybody.
“When you talk about Uthman Dan Fodio, what comes to people’s mind is threat to dip the Koran into the Atlantic Ocean. There are many people in this controversy. My feeling is that the response of Minister of Information shows that they are leaving behind the substance, and worried about the language.
“Obasanjo was calling for a meeting to tackle some the serious issues in the country, including youth suicide. He said there are immediate needs to sit down and discuss these issues. And I am saying there are more immediate needs to do that.”
Also speaking, Chairman, Heirs Holdings, Tony Elumelu, said that Africa is richly endowed and should harness all the potential that make the economy really great.
He said that he wants to see banks, telecommunication firms, manufacturing and other sectors staring from Africa and conquering the world.
Elumelu said: “We see MTN, Dangote Group, United Bank for Africa (UBA), all trying to make history. UBA started in Nigeria, but today, we in in more than 20 African countries. We need to encourage the younger generation through history and the fact that hard work pays. We want people with capital to invest in Africa. We also need African governments to create enabling environment for private sector to thrive.
Also speaking, Prof. Djibril Tamsir from Guinea, said Africa should be united despite the language differences. He said Africa should focus on leadership that benefits the populace. Other speakers at the event are Afrobeat musician, Femi Kuti and Samia Nkrumah from Ghana, among others.