Professor Wole Soyinka
…Says many people would have been in prison for corruption if Buhari’s govt hadn’t run out of steam
Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, yesterday urged the National Assembly to listen to the calls for the restructuring of Nigeria and take responsibility towards the effect.
His call is in consonance with the Presidency which had repeatedly asked agitators for restructuring to channel their clamour to the National Assembly, being the representatives of the people.
Such regional groups as the Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, its counterparts in Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, and the Middle-Belt Forum have been very vociferous in the call for the nation’s restructuring.
They had often argued that the National Assembly was not better placed to restructure the country, since the 1999 constitution currently in operation and which the lawmakers are applying, was not written by the people but a select few.
However, Soyinka, who spoke on AIT’s Kakaaki programme yesterday, said the National Assembly had the powers and moral authority to respond to the calls, if the Presidency was not doing so.
He said: “The Presidency is saying it’s not my responsibility. On the other hand, the National Assembly keeps saying it wants the President to take action.
‘’When that happens, why doesn’t the National Assembly say ‘fine, we take this as our responsibility, we are obliged to the people who elected us here, the shout is heard, even by the deaf today that this nation must restructure, and if that has to be done through the constitution, we are now going to face this as one of our major tasks’ and then lead the Presidency on its own?
“If the Presidency is not responding, then the National Assembly has the powers and the moral authority to respond to the desire of the populace.”
On why the National Assembly has been reluctant to take up the leadership opportunity, Soyinka said: “Very often, they are struggling for those various committees where I think all the goodies are shared, so they are compromised.
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‘’But when I speak about this, I’m not speaking about the entirety. But unfortunately, there are those who are purely for their own interest and who make compromises with the Executives simply because they want to fulfil’ their own personal interest.”
Soyinka also said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari lacked the steam to fight corruption.
He said so many people ought to be in prison if the government was serious about the fight against corruption.
“There are so many people who should be in prison if this government had not run out of steam, and so the system is being manipulated.
“There are cases where the prosecution had reached the level where evidence had been given on governors who had been stealing and depositing in bits and pieces so as not to flout a certain regulation.
“I mean cases have been taken to that level and suddenly, silence. The EFCC, which I back solidly ever since the days of Nuhu Ribadu, in all kinds of ways, we no longer know the distinguishing from rights and left,’’ he said.
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