Soyinka said this in Abuja on Saturday at the book reading and signing of two of his books titled ‘Trumpism in Academe’ and ‘Chronicles of the Happiest People on Earth’ organised by Rovenheights Bookstore and Orisun Gallery.
Former Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State had asked Soyinka if he could write a Nigerian story that would evoke patriotism and inspire unity among the various tribes in the country. Responding, the playwright said no narrative would unite the people of Nigeria without restitution and justice.
He explained that persons in Internally Displaced Persons’ camps, who had lost relatives and loved ones due to violence, would not embrace any story of unity unless they got justice. The Nobel laureate said Nigeria had lost a key opportunity to unite, adding that he didn’t believe the regime of Buhari could unite Nigeria because it suffered from systemic failure.
Soyinka added, “We had a critical moment and we lost that moment. The moment when this country could have come together; and the sense of oneness, belonging. That vision of oneness. We lost that moment. There has been more than one moment and we lost the moment. Will another one come? I don’t know. Right now I don’t see it under this government quite frankly.
“There is a failure, a systemic failure in present governance and I don’t know who can put it together. These days, I try to go some days without reading the newspapers. It is so depressing.”
Soyinka said he personally believed that Nigeria should not break up but should remain one entity. He, however, argued that it was wrong of the government to continue to say the country’s unity was non-negotiable.