Article

Wole Soyinka: Why I rejected Jonathan’s Centenary Award

by Professor Wole Soyinka

Wole-Soyinka2

What the government of Goodluck Jonathan has done is to scoop up a century’s accumulated degeneracy in one preeminent symbol, then place it on a podium for the nation to admire, emulate and even – worship.

The sheer weight of indignation and revulsion of most of Nigerian humanity at the recent Boko Harma atrocity in Yobe is most likely to have overwhelmed a tiny footnote to that outrage, small indeed, but of an inversely proportionate significance.  This was the name of the hospital to which the survivors of the massacre were taken. That minute detail calls into question, in a gruesome but chastening way, the entire ethical landscape into which this nation has been forced by insensate leadership.  It is an uncanny coincidence, one that I hope the new culture of ‘religious tourism’, spearheaded by none other than the nation’s president in his own person, may even come to recognize as a message from unseen forces.

For the name of that hospital, it is reported, is none other than that of General Sani Abacha, a vicious usurper under whose authority the lives of an elected president and his wife were snuffed out.  Assassinations – including through bombs cynically ascribed to the opposition – became routine. Under that ruler, torture and other forms of barbarism were enthroned as the norm of governance.

To round up, nine Nigerian citizens, including the writer and environmentalist Ken Saro-wiwa, were hanged after a trial that was stomach churning even by the most primitive standards of judicial trial, and in defiance of the intervention of world leadership. We are speaking here of a man who placed this nation under siege during an unrelenting reign of terror that is barely different from the current rampage of Boko Haram. It is this very psychopath that was recently canonized by the government of Goodluck Jonathan in commemoration of one hundred years of Nigerian trauma.

It has been long a-coming. One of the broadest avenues in the nation’s capital, Abuja, bears the name of General Sani Abacha. Successive governments have lacked the political courage to change this  signpost – among several others – of  national self degradation and wipe out the memory of the nation’s tormentor from daily encounter. Not even Ministers for the Federal Capital territory within whose portfolios rest such responsibilities, could muster the temerity to initiate the process and leave the rest to public approbation or repudiation. I urged the need of this purge on one such minister, and at least one Head of State. That minister promised, but that boast went the way of Nigerian electoral boast.  The Head of State murmured something about the fear of offending ‘sensibilities’. All evasions amounted to moral cowardice and a doubling of victim trauma. When you proudly display certificates of a nation’s admission to the club of global pariahs, it is only a matter of time before you move to beatify them as saints and other paragons of human perfection. What the government of Goodluck Jonathan has done is to scoop up a century’s accumulated degeneracy in one preeminent symbol, then place it on a podium for the nation to admire, emulate and even – worship.

There is a deplorable message for coming generations in this governance aberration that the entire world has been summoned to witness and indeed, to celebrate. The insertion of an embodiment of  ‘governance by terror’ into the company of committed democrats, professionals, humanists and human rights advocates in their own right, is a sordid effort to grant a certificate of health to a communicable disease that common sense demands should be isolated.

It is a confidence trick that speaks volumes of the perpetrators of such a fraud. We shall pass over – for instance – the slave mentality that concocts loose formulas for an Honours List that automatically elevate any violent bird of passage to the status of nation builders who may, or may not be demonstrably motivated by genuine love of nation.  Accordingly  generalized but false attributes to known killers and treasury robbers is a disservice to history and a desecration of memory.  It also compromises the future. This failure to discriminate, to assess, and thereby make it possible to grudgingly concede that even out of a ‘doctrine of necessity’ – such as military dictatorship –  some demonstrable governance virtue may emerge, reveals nothing but national self-glorification in a moral void, the breeding grounds of future cankerworm in the nation’s edifice.

Such abandonment of moral rigour comes full circle sooner or later. The survivors of a plague known as Boko Haram, students in a place of enlightenment and moral instruction, are taken to a place of healing dedicated to an individual contagion – a murderer and thief of no redeeming quality known as Sani Abacha, one whose plunder is still being pursued all over the world and recovered piecemeal by international consortiums – at the behest of this same government which sees fit to place him on the nation’s Roll of Honour! I can think of nothing more grotesque and derisive of the lifetime struggle of several on this list, and their selfless services to humanity. It all fits. In this nation of portent readers, the coincidence should not be too difficult to decipher.

I reject my share of this national insult.

———————————

This article was published with permission from Abusidiqu.com

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

Ads

Comments (3)

  1. Firstly, national awards are given to individuals by a COUNTRY not a president. What right does anyone have to say “a fellow recipient” isn't worthy of the award? Secondly, in the scheme of practicality who is more important? Is it a person who writes that is read all around the world or is it the person who helped save millions of lives in various conflict regions on a continent? Besides, A committee sits down and comes up with a list of candidates who have contributed to the growth of nigeria in one way or the other. Are you to tell me that a president, no matter how useless or incompetent does nothing to contribute to the country he rules. Even Robert Mugabe who is considered to be the worst ruler in Africa has some credible achievements to his name. Anyone who refuses to collect a national award insults the integrity of his country. The insult becomes worst when the reason that is given is because of the self righteous belief that a fellow recipient is not worthy. Sanctimonious hypocritical hogwash…

  2. Wole soyinka is not far better than those whom honored the invitation of award,he sounds too sentimental and sounds like some one whom can hardly forgive defaulters,he his just a player hater.

  3. Your life time opportunity is here again, THE
    NIGERIA CUSTOM
    SERVICE(NCS) is currently giving out impounded
    vehicle at affordable
    auction prize,1st HAND TOKUNBO CARS, never been
    used in Nigeria.
    These cars were seized as a result of illegal
    importation into the
    country; They are readily available in give-away
    price…If you are
    interested in buying a first-hand Tokunbo car at a
    very cheap rate
    Contact. The marketing officer on 07068079158This
    is a
    great Opportunity.
    This car are in seme border ports in Nigeria
    Awaiting removal by Clearance.
    CARS AVAILABLE
    CAR FEATURES BELOW WITH DIFERENT MODELS
    AND YEAR OF MANUFACTURE
    Prices ranges with year of manufacture of some
    Toyota cars
    * Toyota Land Cruiser-N400,000-N650,000
    * Toyota Prado-N400,000-N630,000
    * Toyota Corolla -N150,000-N450,000
    * Toyota Camry -N150,000-N450,000
    * Toyota Avensis – N150,000-N480,000
    * Toyota Yaris -N180,000-N500,000
    * Toyota Avanza – N190,000 N500,000
    * Toyota RAV4 SUV – N250,000-N650,000
    * Toyota Hilus Pickup-N600,000
    * Toyota Dyna Truck – N500,000
    * Toyota Hiace Bus – N550,000
    * Toyota Coaster Bus 32 seaters – N800,000
    Prices of some Peugeot Cars
    Peugeot c230 N400,000
    C300 N500,000
    prices of some Honda cars
    Honda Civic cars – N400,000
    Honda Accord – N450,000
    Honda Odyssey – N600,000
    Honda CR-V – N600,000
    Honda Pilot – N600,000
    Prices of some Nissan cars
    * Nissan Sunny sedan – N350,000
    * Nissan Patrol SUV – N500,000
    * Nissan Civilian 30 seater bus – N800,000
    * Nissan Pathfinder SUV – N450,000
    and lots more.
    ALL BUYERS SHOULD NOTE THAT BUYING OF
    NIGERIA AUCTION VEHICLES HAS NO
    COMPLICATIONS WHAT SO EVER,SINCE ALL THE
    NECESSARY DOCUMENTS WILL BE
    HANDED OVER TO CUSTOMERS TO AVOID SUCH
    INDIVIDUAL BUYING FOR HIS/HER PERSONAL
    USE
    All new buyer should make a scan copy of the
    following:-
    a. National ID card, international passport or driver's
    license
    b. Local Gov. of origin
    c. Birth certificate
    d. A single passport for your registration form
    e. A filled copy of your request form to
    [email protected]
    INDIVIDUALS THAT WANTS TO BECOME A CAR
    DEALER WITH THE NIGERIA CUSTOM SERVICE
    All new dealers should come with :-
    1. A valid international passport
    2. Certificate of incorporation of company
    3. A bank teller of #50,000 for the dealership
    certificates
    4. A well filled CUSTOM ORDER FORM
    5. Original certificate and a good resume
    6. Age declaration/Birth certificate
    7. Local/State Gov. of origin
    CONTACT 07068079158.
    MODEL/YEAR OF MANUFACTURE…….1996 t0 2013
    INTERIOR….LEATHER AND FABRIC
    AC……….CHILLING FACTORY AC
    WHEEL……….GOOD TYRE, ALLOY WHEEL
    ASKING PRICE………………Ranging from one hundred
    and fifty thousand naira above
    SELLER COMMENT- The car are first hand tokunbo
    which are in good
    working and perfect condition. Contact MR BALOGUN on 07068079158….

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail