March 19, 2015 – Wole Soyinka: I No Longer Regard Patience Jonathan As The First Lady Of Nigeria
Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka has criticised the Federal Government for not moving fast against Boko Haram — the Islamist sect whose activities have killed thousands.
According to him, Nigeria would not have had to cope with Boko Haram on this large scale had the government taken action when the sect’s activities were just taking root. “This is the biggest problem I have with the Jonathan government,” he said.
Soyinka, who spoke in an interview with German Radio DW said some people were still bent on creating a political crisis in the country by stalling the elections and installing an interim government.
Soyinka told DW: “Ex-military officers and security officers are trying to push aside the political contestants and use the unrest as an excuse to establish an interim government. The nature of the interim government wants to pretend it’s not really a military intervention. A few political leaders, well-known civilians, want to give the veneer of civilian structure, but basically it’s a kind of political intervention.”
He expressed regret that Nigeria “is aspiring very hard to become a failed state.” Speaking about the more than 200 schoolgirls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram a year ago, he expressed little hope that “the majority of them” will ever be found. Despite military gains made by troops from neighboring Cameroon, Niger and Chad, in collaborating with their Nigerian counterparts, Soyinka believes there’s no chance of a rapid victory over the jihadist group. “It will take a generation at least to exterminate this phenomenon altogether. The military would not have had to cope with Boko Haram on this level if the proper action had been taken at the right time. This is the biggest problem I have with the Jonathan government.”
Soyinka said he no longer regards Mrs. Patience Jonathan as First Lady. Soyinka spoke in an interview with DW.
He expressed concerns that the military could take over power.
The 80-year-old writer, who has taken an active role in African politics for more than 50 years, says he fears there are “clear indications of a military intervention” .
He lamented the increasingly aggressive direction the election campaign is taking. Recently, the president’s wife called on her husband’s followers to stone people who demanded a different leader. Political observers saw this as a call for violence against the main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), which is campaigning on a platform of change.
Soyinka told DW that while he doesn’t support the opposition’s move to file criminal charges against the First Lady before the International Criminal Court (ICC), her comments should not go unchecked.
”What she said was totally unacceptable. I no longer regard her as the First Lady of Nigeria,” he said.