BY GEORGE OKOJIE, Lagos –
Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka on Monday said the debate over the restructuring of Nigeria being given different appellations is long overdue, even as he said it is disheartening for some people to be agitating against it.
Soyinka who stated this while fielding question from journalists at the Freedom Park on Lagos Island, Lagos said those who said what Nigeria needed was just a restructuring of the mind were economical with the truth.
The literary icon said, “My position is that people should not allow themselves to be put off by those who tried to cheapen the expression; As I said when visited the Women Arise the other day, it doesn’t matter what name you called it, we all know that this was deconstructed and that what we live in right now as a nation is not along a structure that expresses the true will that we love Nigeria.
“So when people use words like restructuring, reconfiguring, you can call it reconfiguration, you can call it return to status quo, you can call it reformulating the protocol of association, you can use those long words, but you can use a single word like restructuring, it doesn’t matter, everybody knows what we are talking about.”
Soyinka who implicitly attacked his target on the ongoing debate added that, “There are those who try to divert direct attention away from the main issues by mounting platitudes, clichés like it is the mind that needs restructuring, you know who I am talking to.
“This is a constant process of restructuring the mind is both an individual exercise as well as theological exercise, people go to church and mosque to have their mind restructured, they go to school, they go to extra-mural classes to have their mind restructured, restructuring the mind is not the issue, nobody is saying the exercise of restructuring them and should not be undertaken, anybody who indulges in self-examination is already engaging in mind restructuring.
“I find it very dishonest and cheap, time selling, trivializing the issues when I hear the expression that it is the mind which needs to be restructured, who is arguing it, who is denying that, it is not a substitute, why are you bringing it up?
We are talking about the protocol of association of the constituting part of a nation, we are talking about decentralization, that is another word.
“This country is over-centralised and that has been the burg bare of development, even on issues like security for decade, so individuals should not now try and sidetrack the issue and say concentrate on that rather than this, are you saying that you cannot reconstruct the mind and reconstruct the nation at the same time? My take on it and my express advice to the citizenry is that they should not allow themselves to be sidetrack, call it whatever name, what we are saying is that this nation is long-overdue for reconfiguration.”
That is the expression I chose to use now.”
He explained that secession is a different thing from restructuring, saying,” to try and suggest that the moment you say restructure, you are calling for disintegration, is for me intellectually dishonest, that is not the issue at all.