NOBEL Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has criticised President Goodluck Jonathan for embarking on a political rally barely 48 hours after the Nyanya bomb blast and the abduction of school girls in Chibok in Bornu State.
Soyinka lamented that while the leadership of the country visited some victims of Nyaya Motor Park explosion and assured victims that they would not be abandoned, the President travelled to Kano for a rally.
Soyinka, who spoke on Wednesday at the main opening of the Port Harcourt UNESCO World Book capital, expressed surprise that the President was more interested in attending a political rally than tackling the Boko Haram insurgence.
He charged President Jonathan to face the problem of Boko Haram uprising and stop concentrating on his re-election campaign.
Soyinka, who was the keynote speaker at the occasion, said the leadership of the country was expected to have convened an emergency security meeting with a view to chart a way forward against the violent Islamic group.
Explaining that the bomb blast in Nyaya, Abuja, and the kidnapping of over 200 school girls call for an urgent attention by the leadership of the country, the Nobel Laureate expressed sadness over the trauma the abducted students were passing through.
He said, “Permit me to impose on the leadership of this nation a simple straightforward exercise in empathy. I want you to imagine yourself in a hospital ward; one among the over thousand victims of so many origins in Nigeria. You remember that the actual and wounded are not the only casualties.
“On that hospital bed, you find yourself playing host to the high and mighty. “You are immobilised, speechless and incapable of motion, except perhaps to your eyelids.
“Local government chairmen, councillors, ministers, senators and the nation’s President, making promises of free medical treatment and rehabilitation among others, then your spirits are uplifted. You no longer feel depressed and abandoned.
“A few hours after the departure of your August visitors, you see your erstwhile visitors participating in a chieftaincy jollification, just a few hundred miles away.
“Again, a few hours later, the same leadership is at a campaign rally, where the chief custodian of the people’s welfare is complaining that someone allegedly diverted campaign funds to unauthorised use. That national leader then rounds off his outing with a dance that would put Michael Jackson to shame.”
However, President Jonathan, who was represented at the event by his aide, Omolara Wood, lauded Port Harcourt City for emerging as the World Book Capital for 2014.
Jonathan explained that Port Harcourt had distinguished itself as the centre of enlightenment as a result of such an achievement.
Also, the former military Head of State, General Abudulsalami Abubakar, who was the chairman of the occasion, praised the state Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, for his administration’s efforts towards educational development through the provision of infrastructure and training of teachers.
Abubakar appealed to Nigerians to live in peace, adding that there would be no country and books without peace.
In his remark, Amaechi promised that his administration would provide scholarship for the students that were abducted in Borno if they (students) wished to continue their schooling in Rivers.
He pointed out that the Army alone would not be able to fight the Boko Haram insurgence, maintaining that the way out of the menace was education and agriculture.