Nigerian playwright, Professor Wole Soyinka has cautioned President Muhammadu Buhari-led government not to dismiss the recent warning on security by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The Noble Laureate gave the warning when he spoke in Lagos on Wednesday at the Africa Day 2019 organised by United Bank for Africa (UBA), adding that the issues on security recently raised by Obasanjo should be taken seriously.
Obasanjo had at a recent event in Delta State alleged that the rising insecurity in the country, championed by Boko Haram and killer herdsmen, are moves to Fulanize and Islamise Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
In its response, Buhari’s government had through the Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, asked Obasanjo to withdraw the statement and apologise to Nigerians.
But speaking at the Wednesday event themed: “Africa’s history redefined: Our past, a path to the future”, Soyinka feared that country was going through “horrendous descent into the abyss” and that the people on the street are interested in having their problems solved.
He further accused the government of abandoning the substance as high level of kidnapping, youth suicide and terrorism in the land.
While he insisted that issues raised by Obasanjo must not be dismissed, Soyinka called on the people to unite and ensure that their demands for good and equitable leadership are achieved.
“We should be careful not to be too dismissive over the matter. The Federal Government is leaving aside the substance, which is the high level of kidnapping, youth suicide and terrorism in the country. I support unity in Africa but we need to particularize the area of unity we seek. Even Boko Haram also tries to unify everybody.
“When you talk about Uthman Dan Fodio, what comes to people’s mind is threat to dip the Koran into the Atlantic Ocean. There are many people in this controversy. My feeling is that the response of Minister of Information shows that they are leaving behind the substance, and worried about the language.
“Obasanjo was calling for a meeting to tackle some the serious issues in the country, including youth suicide. He said there are immediate needs to sit down and discuss these issues. And I am saying there are more immediate needs to do that,” he said.