Nobel Laureate Mr Wole Soyinka has slammed President Muhammadu Buhari for his “slow response” in dealing with the terror caused by Fulani herdsmen across many parts of Nigeria.
He said Buhari has failed on the security threat posed by herdsmen, adding that he was repeating the mistakes of his predecessor, Mr Goodluck Jonathan, in not dealing with the Boko Haram menace in a timely and adequate fashion. “The man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny”, he said.
Soyinka appeared on the BBC’s Hardtalk programme on Monday and anchored by Zeinab Badawi.
“His response was slow. Buhari has failed (in tackling Fulani herdsmen and farmer’s crises). He behaved exactly like Jonathan. He was apathetic!”
Reacting to Badawi’s question that he backed Buhari in 2015 describing the ex-army general as a “reformed democrat”, Soyinka said Buhari “didn’t really win the election; he won by default” in 2015 because “it was impossible to continue with Jonathan,” which meant supporting a continuation of the corruption associated with that regime.
Nigerians, he said, were caught “between the devil and the deep blue sea. When somebody competes in an election, three times and persists, he must believe in democracy.”
On (tackling) corruption, he said Buhari “has a pass.”
Soyinka criticised Jonathan’s ineffective response to Boko Haram, but placing the blame for failing to nip the problem in the bud at the feet of Mr Olusegun Obasanjo, who was president from 1999 to 2007.
He said: “Obasanjo contributed to the emergence of Boko Haram by not preventing the first governor in one of the northern states from establishing a “theocratic state.”
Soyinka said that the president failed to act because he was “compromised” by his ambitions to continue in office beyond the second term limit.
He was however silent about why Buhari’s response to the killings of the herdsmen was so inadequate and said little about how the problem could be tackled effectively.
On the February 23 presidential election, he described it as “one of the most depressing elections we’ve been through… The two candidates had history, one immediate, one past.”
Efforts to get the president’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, to respond to Soyinka were unsuccessful.
After a telephone conversation, he requested an e-mail on the matter; which was promptly sent to him.
No response came.