“ I want to see the trains, don’t mind the loans ” Nigeria – The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News
• We don’t function as a nation, says Soyinka
• Gumi defect theory
Nobel laureate Professor Wole Soyinka urged Nigerians to spend less energy to question the number of loans taken by the federal government to improve infrastructure, stressing that the benefits of rail transport far outweigh the loan value.
He also said the Chinese lending controversies are missing the point because, according to him, “it is for lawmakers to decide where the loans come from.”
His words: “I take loans as a human being, how much more if you run a country and need the facilities, as long as you figure out how to repay the loans.” It is beyond my jurisdiction to review the terms of borrowing and loan repayment.
“I want to see the trains. I grew up seeing trains. It’s time we got the trains back. Don’t let adverse conditions scare us away. This is why economists and the CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria) are withdrawing. That’s why the procurement agencies are there. That is why we put the senators there.
While explaining the importance of rail transport, Soyinka urged the federal government not to cut old railway lines. He said the old railroad would be relevant in the area of livestock transportation and herders’ safety amid the current chaos over AK47 shepherds welders.
“The old railway lines should continue because we have to move the cattle, the rail is one of the best ways to transport the cattle.
“While the cattle are on the trains, the police should protect them rather than the Fulani boys wielding the AK47 with which they threaten everyone. Let’s have a new style of structured movement across the tracks rather than having police officers protecting individuals.
The venerable writer, who spoke in an exclusive interview with The Guardian, criticized the process of gaining political office in the country, said: “It is we, the citizens, who must now take our fate between our hands.
He said: “If I can come back to security a bit, one of our problems is that we don’t have a sense of continuity. This means that we are ignoring the warnings. And even with warnings, when you notice that something abnormal is happening, you don’t project from there to ask yourself, what does that mean? What can come after that? How did this anomaly happen?
“My mind is on one of the very first experiences of shepherd violence. How many years ago was a general murdered on the highway while changing his tires? The whole story ended with the claim that the shepherds came out of the bush and approached this general and something or the other happened and they slaughtered him.
“This was followed shortly after by a similar episode also in the south. It somehow doesn’t resonate with anyone. It happened and people felt it was the end; a few years later, of course, a real massive shepherd-induced hemorrhage began to occur.
“I traveled to lecture at Enugu and went to Benue when these things happened. When Benue was criticized, I mean constant fire, and Miyetti Allah was sounding an ultimatum – I don’t know what the road looks like to go from Enugu to Makurdi and other parts, but I don’t even advise it for young bones. – I made this trip and the return also by road because it was essential for me to be in contact with the people of Benue and to exchange notes on what we saw here and also to sympathize with them and to express my indignation at the attitude of the center.
“If you remember: Buhari was finally persuaded to go out there and sympathize with them or do something and what did he do? He got there and said, “You Tivs, learn to leave like good neighbors”. It was after the murders, which transcended three digits.
“Two, one of his spokespersons, when the mass burial took place, said Governor Ortom was doing a movie show because there was a barrage of cameras and so on – you know. , he was supposed to bury them in secret, maybe, in the bush, and forget them.
“A former head of state even went there to lay a wreath. A spokesperson for Buhari, who was not immediately sacked, said that Ortom was putting on a show and therefore, because of the symptoms, which is why I am very closely linked with what is happening around the governor, of the people and of Bénoué. people.
“They were truly the first to face the fire that the whole nation is facing today. Sorry, I don’t like to repeat the whole story because it doesn’t seem to have an impact on people. ”
The Nobel Laureate said he was sufficiently alarmed by what he saw in the bush, remarking: “You know I partly live in the forest. I became alarmed enough to seek a date with the late General Owoeye Andrew Azazi, former Chief of Defense Staff and Chief of Staff of the Army (COAS), but we already knew enough on Boko Haram’s infiltration into the governance structure.
“I was alarmed enough to refuse to meet him in Nigeria. I contacted him and told him whenever he was outside Nigeria; I will try to organize myself so that we can meet. I said, I don’t want to talk to him in Nigeria, because even your security services were infiltrated by Boko Haram and, therefore, we met in London.
Advocating the restructuring of the entire national security architecture, Soyinka denounced “this very minimalist structure of defense and protection of the people.
“And so when people ask me what the remedies are and so forth, I say, ‘Come back to what was suggested. Go back to the report of the organization Pro-National Conference (PRONACO). Let me remind you that it (the conference) lasted a year and a few months and that a draft constitution was proposed.
“It’s printed and was presented and nobody said it was your constitution; we just said it’s something of a group of people across the country, across professions, across ethnic groups, across religious beliefs, all of them have been carefully selected.
“Every aspect of this nation was covered in this exercise, which I thought lasted over a year and the proposals were there for people to look at. Then there was of course, Goodluck Jonathan’s, it’s still there; What happened to him? Professor Akinyemi was the secretary and they worked very hard.
On the issue of negotiating with the bandits for the release of abductees, especially schoolchildren, Soyinka said: “I support any kind of effort and I actually find commendable any action that involves personal risk.
“The question, however, is what I call the Gumi approach, it’s the theology that goes with it. That is problematic. It seems safe to say that he goes there to plead the cause of the offenders and not the raped. For me, this is my problem with what I call the Gumi theory.
“He uses language, which to me is pernicious. In a moment, the victims will feel guilty for allowing themselves to be kidnapped. This is the logical conclusion of this kind of language.
“If he says he is going there to negotiate, negotiations have taken place with bandits throughout history all over the world. I was involved in the negotiation by MEND, for example, and it was possible for me to identify with MEND, but at the same time, and asking them, I said that I did not approve of your kidnapping.
“I think I was probably the first person in this country to speak out against such tactics. It speaks of adults, how many more vulnerable children. So Gumi must have both her approach and her language correct, so as not to present herself as an accomplice to the phenomenon of kidnapping itself.
He said calls from activists and agitators for the establishment of the Republic of O’odua or Biafra will come as no surprise, noting: “For starters, we don’t operate as a nation, which means we let’s not operate on a constitution that has our will.
“This kind of call, we did not live it, did we have it immediately post-independence until the first military coup? We have not experienced this kind of loud and determined sequence of calls from different parts of the country.
“I know that at one point we had Araba. It was after the first military coup and the secession of Araba, which came from the North and was taken over over the years from different parties, simply because the events, the problems, which led a section to want to secede, have never been addressed.
“On the contrary, these problems have been compounded by the centralized constitution imposed on the nation, which even denies the limited autonomy of collective action of the components of what bears the name Nigeria and we have been regressing since then.”