NOBEL Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has picked holes with President Goodluck Jonathan’s comments that the anti-fuel subsidy removal protests, organised by civil society groups in Lagos last January following the removal of fuel subsidy, was manipulated by a class of people to embarrass his government.
President Jonathan argued that the protests were not a true reflection of the position of the masses, because the sponsors hired top musicians and provided packed food and bottled water for the protesters.
In a statement entitled: ‘Not Again, Jonathan’, Soyinka said the President’s comments showed that he was “lamentably alienated” from the true pulse of the nation. He insisted the people had right to protest and kicked against the government’s use of soldiers to quell the protests.
The statement in part read: “The most generous response that can be given to President Jonathan’s recent statement on the people’s fuel subsidy protest is that he is suffering from a bad conscience. The worst – which I fear is closer to the truth – is that he is lamentably alienated from the true pulse of the nation, thanks perhaps to the poor, eager-to-please quality of his analysts, those who are supposed to provide him an accurate feel of the public mood.
“Since I have had the opportunity to contest this perception of the protest with him directly, it is clear what kind of interpretative diet he prefers. The nation needs all the luck it can get.”