2019: Soyinka has not changed his mind about Buhari’s candidature

by Alexander O. Onukwue

At the height of the conversations about President Muhammadu Buhari’s health, fitness to continue leading the country beyond 2019, Prof Wole Soyinka made the candid observation that “Buhari needs to take a rest. I hope he doesn’t put himself up for the Presidency in 2019”.

It was a remark that was taken as being very significant of the weakening belief in the Buhari project, even if the Nobel Laureate was quick to not discard the things that could still be achieved by the administration between now and the 2019 elections.

Soyinka’s distant advice to the President to not contest a second term was not made in the heat of political debates, but the matter has come up for conversation again. This time, it has not been necessitated by questions concerning the President’s health but the growing feeling that contestants are readying themselves for the battle.

“Why are we talking about a second term for heaven’s sake?” Soyinka said, while speaking at the commemoration of an exchange programme involving writers from his centre and the Cedar Institute of the University of Lebanon. “I don’t understand this. We have hardly gone half-way or barely gone half-way and people are already talking about positions”

Soyinka’s tone is of one who is apparently frustrated that his hopes for the administration have yet to manifest, but this does not represent a change of position. He appears to sound like he would rather have Nigerians hold Buhari accountable for the remaining years of his tenure than the call for his reelection two years before the end of his tenure.

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