Wole Soyinka: Present political arrangement ‘not working’
Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, has said that the present political arrangement in Nigeria is not working.
During a recent interview with BBC Pidgin, Soyinka expressed his preference for a united Nigeria – but not in its current shape.
The professor asked those calling for Yoruba Nation to define what it really means.
“I don’t like the sound of a Yoruba Nation any more than I like the sound of a Tiv nation or an Igbo nation. The reason is this: there are certain pejorative overtones, chauvinistic overtones attached to it. That’s not the issue. When you talk about Yoruba Nation, are we talking about the creation of a nation within Nigeria alone or across colonial borders into Cotonou, Benin Republic, where Yoruba exists, moving on to Togo and even Ivory Coast? So when we talk about Yoruba Nation, I have to know exactly what you mean. Do we even talk about the Yoruba in the Diaspora?
So it’s a question which is not for me to answer at this particular moment. All I know is this, on a sentimental level, I will prefer us to mend and manage what we have but under certain, rigorous conditions.
“The condition is decentralisation. We have to move away completely from this constitution which was imposed on us by an internal, neo-colonial force called the military. Now, if it had worked, if it were working, my position would have been different.
“My conditions are non-negotiable. We have to get away from the present political arrangement because they clearly are not working; they are creating internal overlords, they are creating a skewed, lopsided revenue-sharing system. They are robbing Peter to pay Paul.
Right now, what we have is not a nation but a basket-case, a real basket-case which is disintegrating all over the place, and all the contents are spilling over the basket. And all we are trying to do is to hold it there, grab it there, cover it there, cover that leak, and so on; a nation can’t continue like this. It’s obvious. And some people are more impatient than others.”