Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, says President Goodluck Jonathan is worse than neo-Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, describing Jonathan as a President that embraces impunity.
According to the account of the Holy Bible, Nebuchadnezzar at the height of his reign became too arrogant and God tampered with his heart and made him to eat grass and live like an animal for seven years.
The title of the text Soyinka read at the briefing was, “King Nebuchadnezzar – The Reign of Impunity.”
The opening of the address read, “I shall not insist that the historical/biblical figure of Nebuchadnezzar is uniquely apt for the pivotal figure of the ‘democratic’ history in the making at this moment – for one thing, Nebuchadnezzar was a nation builder and a warrior.
“One could argue even more convincingly for the figure of Balthazar, his successor, or indeed Emperor Nero as reference point – you all remember him – the emperor who took to fiddling while Rome was burning. However you should easily recall why I opted for King Nebuchadnezzar – the figure that currently sits on the top of our political pile himself evoked it, albeit in a context that virtuously disclaimed any similarities, even tendencies.”
He blamed Jonathan for the security invasion of the National Assembly, during which lawmakers resorted to scaling the fence of the Assembly complex to gain access to the chambers.
He said, “The act of scaling gates and walls to fulfil their duty by the people must be set down as their finest hour. They must be applauded, not derided. If shame belongs anywhere, it belongs to the Inspector General of Police and his lavish adherence to illegal and unconstitutional instructions – to undermine a democratic structure, and one (to make matters worse) convoked in response to an emergency of dire concern.
“What sticks to this policeman (Abba) is worse than shame, it is infamy. Such a public servant deserves to be publicly pilloried, tried and meted a punishment that is appropriate to treasonable acts, if only to serve as a deterrent to others in positions of responsibility under the law. To demand less is to reduce ourselves below the status of free citizens of a free nation.
“For this latest outrage, one in an escalating series of impunity, the buck stops yet again at the presidency and that incumbent, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, continues to surprise us in ways that very few have conjectured.”
He said the split in Nigeria Governors’ Forum last year in which 16 governors had the final say over 19 other governors showed that the President was willing to do anything to achieve his political goals.
Soyinka said the barring of governors by policemen from entering Ekiti State to campaign for former Governor Kayode Fayemi in June showed that Jonathan was not only a dictator but was encouraging impunity by encouraging security agents to disrespect constituted authority.
He also berated the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Suleiman Abba, whom he said was appointed for the sole purpose of achieving Jonathan’s selfish ambition.
He said Jonathan was using ethnic sentiments to ensure his return to Aso Rock next year, describing the President’s recent visit to the Obafemi Awolowo University to consult with Yoruba leaders as appalling.
He said doing such on the same day Boko Haram attacked a mosque in Kano was irresponsible, adding that Jonathan’s quest for power had prevented his ability to think out a way to stop terrorists.
He said, “The shambles that punctuated a presidential campaign visit at the OAU a few days ago merely underline the total alienation of President Jonathan from the reality that has engulfed the nation.
“That a national leader should go campaigning on the platform of ethnic support at a time when priorities dictate a united national engagement for survival is a grotesque undertaking that was tragically rebuked in the massacre of worshippers and desecration of the Kano mosques almost simultaneously with the alienated gathering of selected crowned heads.
“Long before Nyanya, long before Chibok, long before the mildest of then now innumerable violations of our basic right to exist as free citizens, the march of a nation towards implosion has dominated the landscape but an obsession with the pettiness of power has obscured remedial vision and thus, the creative options constantly open to prescient leadership.”
Soyinka said the refusal of other countries to continue to help Nigeria in the fight against terrorism was because the foreign countries were cynical of Nigeria’s claim to fight insecurity.
He said by sacking a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Gbenga Ashiru, at a time when Nigeria needed to strengthen its foreign policy, Jonathan had shown the he preferred to play politics than deliver the true dividends of democracy to the people.
He said insecurity would have been curbed if Nigeria had learned from what happened to Mali wherein al-Qeda militants brought the nation to its knees.
He said, “The lesson of Mali was completely lost on complacent leadership, however, leaving time and space for alien invaders to make common cause with the internal, unleashing detruction at will and dancing around a nation whose armed forces have acquitted themselves creditably on foreign missions.
“The architect of the initial policy of containment was the recently deceased Gbenga Ashiru, then Foreign Minister, unceremoniously removed for the ends of premature politicking, before the logical development of that initiative.
“Now of course, the very manipulators of Ashiru’s removal are falling over one another, to heap praises on the quality of his achievements in office.”
Soyinka said Nigeria had come to a point where citizens would now have to defend themselves since the government had failed to ensure the safety of the citizens.
However, the Presidency on Tuesday said Soyinka was only playing the ostrich by accusing Jonathan of being worse than King Nebuchadnezzar.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, said, in a text message sent to one of our correspondents, that it was saddening that the Nobel Laureate also failed to apprehend Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, who he described as the “national champion of impunity and official recklessness.”
He said, “Our eminent professor also sadly plays the ostrich as he failed to reprimand Governor Amaechi who is the national champion of impunity and official recklessness.
“The administration of President Goodluck Jonathan proves itself as the most liberal, keeping faith with adherence to rule of law and tolerance.”