Prof Wole Soyinka has added his voice to the on-going agitations for restructuring of the country, saying that Nigeria is over-centralised.
The eminent writer also gave his backing to the clamour for the decetralisation of the police.
“My own position is that people shouldn’t allow themselves be put up by those who try to cheat on the expression, ‘restructuring.’ It doesn’t matter by what name you call it. We all know that this nation was deconstructed and what we live in right now, as a nation, is not allowing structuring that expresses the true will of Nigerians,” he said.
Soyinka spoke yesterday in Lagos, when he announced the 10 Nigerian writers, who would be leaving for Lebanon in a cultural exchange programme, The Sail Project, between The Wole Soyinka Foundation and Cedar Institute, University of Lebanon.
According to him, every Nigerian knows what restructuring is all about, whether it is called reconfiguring, return to status quo, or reformulating the protocols of association.
He however decried those who try to divert away attention from the main issue by mouthing platitudes like it is the mind that needs restructuring. To him, this is a constant process, both as individual exercise as well as even the theological exercise. “People go to churches and mosques for their minds to be restructured. Restructuring the mind is not the issue; nobody is saying restructuring the mind should not be undertaken; anybody who is involved in examination already engages in mental and or attitudinal reconstruction.
“So people should not try to substitute one for another. I find it very dishonest and cheap, trivialising the issue when people said it is the mind, which needs to be restructured. Who is denying that? So, why bring it up? We’re talking about the protocol of the association of the constitutive part of the nation. We’re talking about decentralisation, that is, another word. This country is over-centralised and that has been the bugbear of development, even of issues like security.
“Even if it is one state, that state has the right to say, listen people, let us restructure this state; the protocols that went into the making of this state are no longer viable or have been distorted along the way or have been abandoned and we want to go back to the original set of protocols that created what we call his national entity. You can say you want to reinvent the wheels completely or you want to go back to the original protocols of association,” he added.
He noted that an average citizen felt less secure than a few years ago, yet ‘when people talk about state police, there are reasons for it. When they talk about bringing policing right down to the community level, they know what they are talking about; this is also part of restructuring or reconfiguration of the articles of association.’
When asked to comment on the clamour for a second term in office for Buhari by his aides and supporters, Soyinka said he was shocked by the move just midway into the president’s administration.
“Why are we talking about second term, for heaven’s sake? I don’t understand this; we have hardly gone half-way or barely gone half-way and people are already talking about positions. I refuse to be part of that discussion and absolutely refuse to be part of that discussion.”