Nigeria’s unity is negotiable – Soyinka

Wole Soyinka
[Photo: dailytimes.com.ng]
Wole Soyinka [Photo: dailytimes.com.ng]

The unity of Nigeria as a nation is an issue that must be debated in order to address lingering echoes of marginalisation, Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka said on Friday.

“The claim that the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable is a false statement,” Mr. Soyinka said. “The right of the people to determine their future is what is non-negotiable.”

The Nobel laureate’s comments came when he joined Governor Seriake Dickson to commission a new high school in Kaiama, Bayelsa State.

The Ijaw National Academy, which has been running for four months, accommodates up to 1,000 students at the junior and senior secondary levels.

After a brief exchange with the students about his exploits as a renowned writer, Mr. Soyinka took a frontal aim at those who maintain that Nigeria must remain as currently constituted and her unity cannot be negotiated.

“Don’t tell me that Nigeria, as it is, is non-negotiable,” Mr. Soyinka said. “To me, that’s a fallacy.”

Some politicians and top government officials have recently asserted that Nigeria’s structure is not defective contrary to what advocates of restructuring hold.

Two weeks ago, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo repeated the administration’s position on Nigeria as an entity.

“Our unity is not negotiable. We should make sure that we remain united in order to enjoy the resources God has blessed Nigeria with. So many nations envy what we have as a nation,” Mr. Osinbajo said while receiving Muslim leaders in the State House June 25.

But Mr. Soyinka further disagreed with Mr. Osinbajo and other proponents of the status quo.

“Negotiation involves ensuring that there’s no marginalisation. Negotiation involves ensuring that the major components of the country are not feeding on the centre,” Mr. Soyinka said.

The professor said he believes in the unity of Nigeria, but warned those against restructuring to stop being ‘dogmatic and dictatorial’ in expressing their position.


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  • PolyGon2013

    Right on. Our unity is definitely negotiable. I prefer than country to be broken up, so that each nation can go their own way. Sai Soyinka.

    • Justice Equity

      Hypocrisy is your lot,if you preferred what you stated in truth, why are you always in opposition to those calling for either restructuring or referendum.
      Don’t continue to be a chameleon.

      • Wale

        Why don’t you just fight your fight and the F up.

  • Riot50000

    Woke soyinka, the only Yoruba man with common sense, and sense of decency.
    The rest are Treachrous Hyenas blinded by hatred, and dedicated to sucking almajiri Cocks for ever.

    • Henry

      Soyinka is not the only Yoruba man that is speaking out for justice and fairness. There are many others, notably;
      Femi Fani-Kayode, Gov. Fayose, Femi Aribisala, Yinka Odumakin and others that I can’t remember at the moment.

      • Mufu Ola

        You love clowns a lot. Pretty sure u’re just another one!

  • Chym

    Meanwhile let us look at the facts.
    12 million children are out of school in Nigeria. Out of the 12 million, 10 million are from the north whilst Kano state alone has 3 million beggars.
    Nigeria has the highest number of young girls suffering from Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) in the world. And 90 per cent of those young girls are from the north.
    According to the UNDP 72 per cent of northern Nigerians are living below the poverty line.
    According to UNICEF if Nigeria were to ever break up the core north would be the poorest and most barren place on the African continent.
    According to Nasir El Rufai, the Governor of Kaduna state in northern Nigeria, if the north-western zone of the country were to ever find itself on its own it would be poorer and more ravaged by war than Afghanistan.
    According to the World Terror Index Boko Haram and the Fulani militias are the first and fourth “most deadly terrorist organisations in the world” respectively and they both come from northern Nigeria.
    According to UNESCO 65 million Nigerians, which represents 50 per cent of the total population!) are stark illiterates and 55 million of them are from the north.
    According to UNICEF the heartland and base of pedophiia, child sex, child slavery and child marriage on the African continent is northern Nigeria.
    According to President Donald Trump of the United States of America “northern Nigeria is one of the most dangerous places for Christians to live in the world” and “Christians are murdered there in their thousands every year whilst Churches are blown up and burnt down”.
    According to CNN “the bastion of radical Islam, Islamic terror and Islamic fundamentalism in Africa is northern Nigeria”.
    According to Governor Yari of Zamfara state in north western Nigeria the north has been afflicted with all manner of diseases and epidemics, including meningitis, as a consequence of their many sins against Allah.
    According to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo the northern states “have the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the country, the lowest rate of child enrolment in schools, the highest number of unemployed young people, the highest levels of poverty and faces the challenge of inter-ethic and inter-religious conflict including the Boko Haram terrorism.”
    All these daunting challenges, disturbing facts and alarming statistics and instead of putting their house in order the Arewa Youth Coalition not only threaten the Igbo with mass murder and genocide and order them to leave the north by October 1st but they have also gone a step further by insulting the Yoruba and accused us of being “serial traitors” and of “trying to impose Osinbajo on Nigeria as President”.

  • Höly Wähala

    “The claim that the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable is a false statement… The right of the people to determine their future is what is non-negotiable.” – Prof. Wole Soyinka

    Everything is negotiable, that’s why we pray to God… it is negotiating for entry into Paradise via prayers. Lol!
    So, right and aptly said by the ancient sango-worshipper who must have looked into the crystal ball to see that lugard Nigeria is negotiable… just like Danjuma and other fossils are removing the cobwebs of denials from their eyes, likewise, Prof. Wole Soyinka. Respect!

    • princegab

      You just must contradict the good old man as a way of expressing yourself as a bad old man. Where have you beeen anyway?

  • 0tile

    We wish many educated Yorubas were as brave and outspoken as Kongi, Gov Fayose, and FFK Nigeria would not be in this deep doodoo. If it were not for patriots like Kongi, FFK, Fayose, Tompolo, Dokubo and Honorable Nnamdi Kanu the Northern Islamists would have eaten the South alive.

    Long live our patriots
    Death to cowards
    Death to Islamic terrorists
    Death to murderous herdmen

  • Ben Ola

    Twinkas twinkas twinkas
    contact the admin on 08066140822 for upgrade of your account
    happy twinckling.;;;

  • Justice Equity

    Yoruba has been the greatest enemy of a Nigeria built on justice, equity and fairness.
    If not for the treachery of Yoruba, the Fulani almajiri imbeciles would have been given their rightful seat in Nigeria.
    It beats my imagination how a people with the lowest I Q,worst environment, worst climatic conditions, worst educated ,should be the one dictating the pace for reasonable intelligent people. How on earth should Hausa Fulani be holding Nigeria ransom by refusing to grow up and yet constituting an impediments to others who want to grow.
    It is the betrayal and treacherous mischief of the Judas Iscariot generation that have been the greatest strength used by Fulani in running Nigeria aground.
    Anytime Nigerins says enough is enough, Yoruba has always been the one to sabotage Nigerias march to freedom.
    They did it in 1966,did it in 1994,did it against Gideon orkar,did it against Jonathan.
    Until Yoruba stop playing sabo and Judas kiss against Nigeria, that is when Nigeria shall arise from this pit of latrine where Hausa Fulani has dumped her.
    If Yoruba turns a new leaf today in saying enough is enough, Nigeria shall arise and shine. May God deliver Yoruba from the evil spirit of sabo,treacherous mischief,chameleon spirit, Judas Iscariot kiss and betrayal tendencies.

    • Wale

      Your bicycle had a flat tire, na Yoruba man cause am
      You were unable to dick you gay partner last night; It’s Yoruba’s fault.
      Your sufferings and penniless life; na Yoruba man de behind your miserable life.
      Hausa/Fulani gave you and your rag tag countrymen ultimatum to get the “F” out of their enclave; yibo man blames Yoruba for their unfortunate predicament.
      Ok now, Yoruba should “boycott yibo businesses” if you hate us this much, you should also hate our dinero. (money).
      Boycott yibo buy and sell stalls.
      “Yibo must go”
      “Enough of this bullshit”.

      • IBRAHIM DAUDA

        Honestly enough of this bullshit. Why all these noises about restructuring/sepration? Majority of Nigeria has agreed to stay together, those that suppose to start the process are against it.We should stop blaming any tribe for our failures, without unity we cant achieve anything, Igbo want to go their leaders said no, but some ignorant will come here to blame Yoruba and Hausa. Jonathan has the opportunity to restructure he couldn’t do it. He spent billion on confab he couldn’t implement it, now they are blaming Buhari. GOD BLESS NIGERIA AND NIGERIANS AAMEEN.

        • Justice Equity

          Dauda,those that have Ibrahim as their names, are incapable of knowing the truth that have the capacity to set free,they are permanently doomed to lies and false narratives.

          • BEN IKARI

            JUSTICE EQUALITY: I AGREE THE YORUBAS INCLUDING THE ACTING PRESIDENT OR MR. SAN—OSINBAJO, LIKE THE ELDERS AND POLITICIANS FROM SOUTH-EAST AND SOUTH-SOUTH ARE PART OF THE NIGERIA’S PROBLEMS. ALSO, I AGREE NIGERIA IS NEGOTIABLE, ESPECIALLY SINCE FEW PEOPLE FROM THE WAZOBIA ETHNIC GROUPS (H-F-Y-I) CREATED ALL PREVIOUS AND CURRENTLY AMENDED ILLEGAL MILITARY CONSTITUTION WHILE OTHERS WATCHED HELPLESSLY DUE TO LACK OF NUMBER AND POWER. AT NO TIME HAS ALL THE OVER 250 ETHNIC GROUPS IN NIGERIA SENT REPRESENTATIVES WHO SAT TO DISCUSS AND DRAFT A PEOPLES’ OR “PEOPLE’S” CONSTITUTION THAT STANDS FOR AND PROTECT ALL THE PEOPLES AND ETHNIC GROUPS. THEREFORE THE IMPERATIVE TO RENEGOTIATE TO INCLUDE AND PROTECT ALL THE GROUPS AND PEOPLES IF NIGERIA WILL CONTINUE WITHOUT SECESSION THREATS. IMPORTANTLY, I DISAGREE WITH YOUR POSITION ON IBRAHIM EVEN THOUGH THE IBRAHIMS HAVE NUMEROUSLY DOOMED THE OPPRESSIVE NATION BUILT BY THE ROGUE BRITISH ON TREACHERY AND ILLEGALITY. THIS IBRAHIM IS PARTIALLY RIGHT. AS IBRAHIM SAID, IT’S TRUE IGBOS ARE NOT SERIOUS ABOUT LEAVING NIGERIA, EVEN WHEN HAUSAS OR NORTHERNERS HAVE HANDED THEM A GREEN BLANKET WITH THEIR QUIT NOTICE TO DO SO. WHILE MANY ARE SHOUTING: TIME TO LEAVE; GIVE US REFERENDUM, EVEN THOUGH BIAFRA LEADERS AND ADVOCATES HAVEN’T DONE PROPER ENLIGHTENMENT AND PREPARATION TO SECURE ENOUGH VOTE AND SENSITIZATION ABOUT THE RIGHT OF IGBOS TO CONTINUE TO OWN THEIR PROPERTIES AND WEALTH IN THE NORTH SO NO NEED TO FEAR. THE POLITICIANS AND MANY ELDERS AND YOUTHS BENEFITING FROM THE CRIMINAL STATUS QUO ARE TRUMPTING: WE NEED RESTRUCTURING AND NOT SECESSION. THEY ENVISAGE ONE MORE STATE FOR IGBOS AS ONE ETHNIC GROUP TO MAKE 6, LIKE YORUBA, WHICH HAS 6 STATES AND MAY ALSO GET MORE. HAUSA-FULANI, WHICH IS ALSO ONE ETHNIC GROUP EVEN THOUGH FULANIS SEEMS INHERENTLY DIFFERENT AND HAVE BEEN INTERLOCKED INTO HAUSA, HAS ABOUT 9 OR MORE STATES THAT ALL DEPEND 100 PERCENT LIKE MOST YORUBA AND IGBO STATES ON SHARING OIL MONEY. WITHOUT OIL MONEY THEY CAN’T SURVIVE ANOTHER 6 MONTHS. IBRAHIM IS ALSO RIGHT WHEN HE SAID JONATHAN HAD THE OPPORTUNITY, AND IGNORANTLY WATCHED EVERYONE IN HIS CABINENT AND WIFE STEAL MILLIONS OF OIL DOLLARS (CAN’T CLAIM HE DIDN’T STEAL ANY), BUT COULDN’T CHANGE ANY OF THE BAD LAWS USED TO STEAL FROM AND OPPRESS HIS OWN IJAW PEOPLE NOT TO MENTION SOUTH-SOUTH OIL COMMUNITIES IN GENERAL AND NIGERIA. INSTEAD HE WAITED TO BE OUT OF FAVOR TO CALL A NONSENSE CONFERENCE ON HIS WAY OUT OF A NEARLY 6-YEAR PRESIDENCY THINKING THIS COULD PULL HIM BACK INTO FAVOR, AND KNOWING HE CAN’T IMPLEMENT CONFERENCE RECOMMENDATIONS IF OUT OF OFFICE. NOW HE AND HIS IGNORANT SUPPORTERS, EVEN PEOPLE AND THEIR GREEDY ELDERS ARE SHAMELESSLY CALLING FOR THE NO GOOD FAITH CONFERENCE DOCUMENT TO BE IMPLEMENTED? BY THE WAY, THIS DOCUMENT PROTECTS THE CRIMINAL STATUS QUO—THE 36 STATES WITH MOSTLY NONVIABLE ECONOMY AND MORE SUCH PARASITIC STATES IF CREATED USING THIS DOCUMENT WILL BE INTACT AND OIL BLOCS REMAIN IN THE HANDS OF HAUSA-FULANIS, YORUBAS AND IGBOS WHOSE LANDS HAVE NO OIL OR ACTIVE OIL PRODUCTION. THIS MEANS POLLUTION AND POVERTY WITH MASSIVE DEATH WILL CONTINUE TO PLAGUE THE OIL COMMUNITIES. THE DANJUMAS, ABUBAKARS, KOLAS AND OMEKERES, ALISON-MADUEKE OF NIGERIA WILL CONTINUE TO STEAL OIL MONEY AND COMMIT SCAMS—BUILDING FORTRESSES ALL OVER THE WORLD WHILE THE OIL OWNERS SUFFER. MEANWHILE, I AGREE WITH THE CALL FOR RESTRUCTURING, BUT ONLY ON THE BASIS OF TRUE-FISCAL FEDERALISM, WHICH CAN BE ACHIEVED WITH A RETURN TO REGIONAL SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT CONSIDERING THE NIGERIA’S CONTEXT. THE CURRENT CRIMINAL STATUS QUO THAT WILL CHANGE NOTHING BUT MAKE PEOPLE STEAL MORE WHILE THE OIL OWNERS ARE CHEATED AND GRANTED ONLY 13 PERCENT OIL MONEY VIA THEIR STATES BASED ON A SO-CALLED DERIVATIVE PRINCIPLE WHILE THE REST MONEY SHARED BY MOSTLY NONVIABLE WAZOBIA STATES, AND POLLUTION INCREASED TO INCREASE ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION, SICKNESSES, POVERTY AND DEATH MUST STOP SO THAT THERE SHALL BE COMPETITION AND INNOVATIVE TENDENCIES AND ACTIONS BETWEEN REGIONS—ABOUT 6 OF THEM. BY THIS MEANS DECADES OF NATIONAL LAZINESS, HYPER-CORRUPTION AND DESPICABLE VIOLENCE TO GRAB OIL MONEY WILL STOP OR DRASTICALLY REDUCE!

  • Christopher Ozili Okafor Biose

    It is an indisputable historical fact that Yorubas have been at the forefront of progressive politics in Nigeria since the 1920s. Let’s beg Yoruba political elite to join forces and save Nigeria through political restructuring.

    • Karl Imom

      What is political restructuring? Nigeria started with South and North; from there to 3 Regions; 4 Regions; 12 states; 19 states, and now 36 states. Most of these states are not viable yet were created to appease trouble makers. Now what kind of restructuring are they talking about? Make every family a state so that each head of household becomes a governor? India with a population of 1.2 Billion People has only 7 states. Only in Nigeria do we have states that are far less than 50 Miles across in every direction.

  • Chukwuka Okoroafor

    As controversial as it seems to some, we all see that we need one another, far more than what many can see or will admit. The jihad is the number one threat to the existence of Nigeria, but we must have faith in God and continue to fight politically against it. The Islamic agenda is collapsing but it is in a trap thus the Islamists have no choice but to continue until it collapses completely. A new nation is indeed being born and it will be our Masada. Our Masada shall never fall.