Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has advised former President Olusegun Obasanjo to desist from struggling to restore Nigeria to the path of sanity and moderate rectitude, describing him as ‘objectively unfitted’ for the role.
He urged him to instead head for a monastery.
Soyinka said, “…I know that deep inside, there is a soakaway pond of personal insecurity struggling to be drained. Beneath every bully, there is a scared product of insecurity and troubled conscience. Now, fight your own demons as best as you can, and feel free to flagellate Buhari (President Muhammadu) with all the weapons in your armoury. I have only one demand: keep away from movements struggling to restore this nation to the path of sanity and even moderate rectitude. End your hijacking propensity.’’
Soyinka said these in the latest of his interventions series, Interventions VIII, titled ‘Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?: Gani’s Unfinished Business’ officially released to the public by Bookcraft on Tuesday. It formed the text of his speech at the 10th memorial lecture of the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi.
He also described the Presidential Library in Abeokuta, Ogun State, built by Obasanjo as ‘Presidential Laundromat’, alleging that it was constructed with fraud.
He said, “That structure in Abeokuta remains a moral eyesore to those who were in a position to obtain even a glimmering of the proceedings that inflicted such a purulent carbuncle on the landscape of my state, Ogun. However, even the grossest evil can be turned to some good. When we were school pupils, one of our illustrated reading texts was one entitled, ‘This is the house that Jack built.’ Today, and forevermore, generations will point to that thing which I have daubed the Presidential Laundromat and say: This is the house that Fraud built.’’
The playwright also asked if someone with Obasanjo’s ‘governance record dare accuse anyone of failing to rise to the challenges of governance.’
Soyinka, who said one of the challenges that had confronted Nigeria since military incursion into politics was electricity, asked Obasanjo to tell Nigerians how he rose to the challenges of power while he was in office for eight years.
He added, “I dare Obasanjo to meet me one-on-one on any podium to present the facts of that stewardship to the Nigerian people… Just how did you, in eight years, rise to the challenges of power generation for a population of a hundred and fifty million people, endowed with enormous energy resources…
“Eight years-repeat, eight years in office, and the elected estate manager of this vast territory could not even provide the modicum level of power to activate even a low-level cottage industrial culture. And such individual has the nerve to sermonise about rising to challenges.’’
The essayist and poet also said that he had a vested interest in the power industry and could claim to be an insider in that ministry for a while when the late Bola Ige agreed to serve as minister of power in Obasanjo’s cabinet against his (Soyinka’s) personal conviction.
Besides, he noted that the allegation of corruption against Obasanjo by a former Abia State governor, Chief Orji Kalu, should be formally addressed, adding ‘‘again, we are also duty bound to point out that the author of that damning expose is himself standing trial on charges of corruption. We are aware that this pioneer letter-writer has been summoned by the EFCC to substantiate his claims.’’
Meanwhile, Obasanjo has been appointed as a part-time academic coordinator at the National Open University of Nigeria, Abeokuta Study Centre, Ogun State.
Our correspondent learnt that Obasanjo, who received a Doctor of Philosophy in Christian Theology at the NOUN in January 2018 and was the first PhD holder from the institution, was conducted round his office on Tuesday by the director of the Abeokuta centre, Prof. Ibrahim Salawu.
According to a release on Tuesday by the NOUN Director of Media and Publicity, Ibrahim Sheme, the former President was appointed as a facilitator at the institution by the NOUN Vice-Chancellor, Prof Abdalla Adamu.
Sheme said Obasanjo had expressed satisfaction at the office space allotted him and promised to work for the progress of the university.
The release said, “Former President of Nigeria, Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo, is now a bona fide worker of NOUN, as he inspected his office space at the institution’s Abeokuta Study Centre in Ogun State on Tuesday, in his capacity as a facilitator. The VC, Prof Adamu, had soon after the former President’s graduation in January appointed him as a facilitator.
“A facilitator is a part-time academic coordinator for students in the Open and Distance Learning system which open universities operate.”