Renowned Nigerian Nobel Laureate for literature, Professor Wole Soyinka has agreed with President Jonathan that the Boko Haram insurgency currently underway in Nigeria is worse than the Nigerian Civil War of between 1967 and 1970.
Speaking to the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, Soyinka had said amongst other things that he feared Nigeria was heading for a civil war. â€œWe see the nation heading towards a civil war.â€
Soyinka was also asked whether the unrest threatened the state of Nigeria itself, and replied: â€œIt is going that way. We no longer can pretend itâ€™s not.
â€œWhen youâ€™ve got a situation where a bunch of people can go into a place of worship and open fire through the windows, youâ€™ve reached a certain dismal watershed in the life of that nation.
â€ Soyinka said the issues raised by Islamist group Boko Haram, which was blamed for violence targeting Christians in the north of Nigeria and has sparked fears of a wider religious conflict, had been brewing for some time.
â€œThere are people in power in certain parts of the country, leaders, who quite genuinely and authoritatively hate and cannot tolerate any religion outside their own,â€he said.
â€œWhen you combine that with the ambitions of a number of people who believe they are divinely endowed to rule the country and whoâ€¦ believe that their religion is above whatever else binds the entire nation together, and somehow the power appears to slip from their hands, then they resort to the most extreme measures.
â€œYouths who have been indoctrinated right from infancy can be used, and who have been used, again and again to create mayhem in the countryâ€
He added: â€œThose who have created this faceless army have lost control.â€
It may be recalled that before the April general elections, a group of individuals who had for long pretended to be nationaist had banded themselves into a group known as the Northern Elders Political Leaders Forum and used that platform to agitate for the return pf power to the North in 2010.
And then in October of 2010 when it seemed likely that the candidate they had selected to challenge President Jonathan for the PDP primaries was going to lose out, a prominent member of the group, Alhaji Lawal Kaita had openly told newsmen that they would make Nigeria ungovernable for Jonathan should he win the Presidential elections.
it would also be recalled that in December of 2010, the candidate of the Northern Elders Political Leaders Forum, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, had made a statement that ‘those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable”. And only last month in Kaduna at the venue of the Northern Peace Conference, former minister of education and oil, and a former senator, Jubril Aminu, had called for the scrapping of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
It would also be recalled that many local and international pundits have asked the question why major Northern politicians have refused to speak up against the activities of Boko Haram. In fact, incumbent senate President, David Mark, had asked the question at the Northern Peace Conference.
A lot of Nigerians were also taken aback by the virulent insults heaped on the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria by Malam Bashir Yusuf, the Depeuty Director General of the Atiku campaign when the CAN President called on Christians to defend themselves. Bashir had called the CAN President a “bigot’ and a “hypocrite” and insinuated that Pastor Oritsejafor, the CAN President, was affected by drug use and bitterness against his mother.
It may also be recalled that after the verdict of the Supreme Court which threw out his petition against the election of President Jonathan, Muhammadu Buhari, the candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) had said Nigerians will pay the price for voting for President Jonathan. This sentiment was equally re echoed by his crony, Malam Nasir Elrufai, the controversial former minister of the FCT who himself had once accused Buhari of being incompetent to rule Nigeria. Elrufai had given an interview to the Sun Newpapers last week under the title ‘Boko Haram: Nigerians will pay the price for not voting Buhari’. How Elrufai expects Nigerians to pay the Price remains to be sin.