Soyinka speaks on fuel scarcity, Buhari’s 1977 statement

Wole Soyinka [Photo:]

A Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, on Saturday said he wished Nigerians less miseries in the new year.

Mr. Soyinka also called on the Nigeria government to end the current fuel scarcity in the country rather than resort to blame passing.

The Nobel laureate in a New Year message on Saturday said government must not be fooled by the quietness in major cities, adding that Nigerians are going through pains to get petroleum products.

“In the accustomed tradition, I wish the nation less misery in the coming year. A genuine Happy New Year greeting is probably too extravagant a wish,” Mr. Soyinka wrote Saturday.

In the message titled, “Blame passing: The New Year Gift to a Nation,’’ he cited the viral newspaper clipping of the 1977 edition of the Daily Times newspaper when then minister of petroleum and natural resources, Muhammadu Buhari, was quoted as saying, “Fuel crisis may be over next year.”

He recounted what he experienced at filling stations when he travelled through Lagos, Ibadan and Abeokuta, describing the situation as traumatising.

“Even with ‘unorthodox’ aids of passage, this was no task for the faint – hearted,” Mr. Soyinka wrote of efforts to get fuel around the cities.

“Just getting past fuelling stations was traumatising, an obstacle race through seething, frustrated masses of humanity, only to find ourselves on vast stretches of emptied roads pleading for occupation. As for obtaining the petroleum in the first place – the less said the better.

“I suspect that this government has permitted itself to be fooled by the peace of those empty streets, but also by the orderly, patient, long -suffering queues that are admittedly prevalent in the city centres. It is time the reporting monitors of government moved to city peripheries and sometimes even some other inner urban sectors, such as Ikeja and Maryland from time to time to see, and listen!”

The Nobel laureate argued that pronouncements such as the one contained in the 1977 Daily Times newspaper’s viral headline are “a delusion at best, a formula that derides public intelligence.”

He described it as attempts to buy time and pass blame, adding that the current hike must be remedied quickly.

Of the 1977 newspaper clipping, Mr. Soyinka said, “When many of us are blissfully departed, an updated rendition of this same clipping – with a change of cast here and there – will undoubtedly be reproduced in the media, with the same alibis, the same in -built panacea of blame passing.”

He explained that apart from the current fuel crisis, there had been other challenges requiring immediate fix, among which he said was the call for ‘restructuring’ of the nation.

Mr. Soyinka said he wonders what happened to initiatives by different states of the federation to create their own energy sources, saying such moves had been sabotaged by the federal government.

“Just to think laterally for a moment – what became of the initiatives by some states nearly two decades ago – Lagos most prominently – to decentralize power, and thus empower states to generate and distribute their own energy requirements?

“Frustrated and eventually sabotaged in the most cynical manner from the federal centre!” he lamented.

“As the tussle for the next round of power gets hotter in the coming year,” Mr. Soyinka wrote, “The electorate will again be manipulated into losing sight of the base issue … Sooner than later, but not as soon as pledged, the fuel crisis will pass.

“And then, of course, we shall await the next round of shortages, then a recommencement of blame passing.”

In an apparent reference to the nation’s perennial lack of basic amenities, the Nobel laureate lamented that despite the nation’s abundant resources, nothing is beyond shortage.

“What will be the commodity this time – food perhaps? Maybe even potable water? In a nation of plenty, nothing is beyond eventual shortage – except, of course, the commonplace endowment of pre-emptive planning and methodical execution,” Mr. Soyinka concluded.


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  • growthengine

    Ancient form of governance. No new ideas. Same old same old for 40yrs we have the same person as minister of petroleum. This country has retrogressed. Simply deregulate. Anyone should sell his petrol at whatever price he or she likes. If you like bring it from heaven.

    • FineBoy

      Take heart.

      U have fresh ideas?

      Hope it’s not yahoo yahoo

      • Annabelle

        Greed and corruption of the rulers are the cause of “yahoo yahoo,” armed robbery, kidnapping and other heinous crimes in society because people are desperate to survive and most don’t see a way out of the dungeon! It’s nothing to be proud of!

    • Factsayer

      Ain’t u shouting Sai Buhari anymore?

  • Solomon Brown

    It is immoral for Buhari to have two jobs while there are millions of unemployed able bodied men and women roaming the streets aimlessly. Our Dinosaur President talks a great deal about how agriculture will help improve the economy, when his savage nomadic kinsmen can’t keep their cattle off people’s farms. For those who voted in this mess, I say to you all, enjoy your change. Maybe next time you all will learn to read signs correctly. Peace

    • FineBoy

      You can take one

      • Solomon Brown

        Nah, I don’t want it that bad. I am speaking for those who have done everything society asked of them, yet do not get to reap the rewards for their actions.

        • FineBoy

          You are their spokes man or this is whistle blowing?

          • Annabelle

            You go to school, get educated, acquire power not just for yourself, but so you can be an advocate/spokesperson for those who’re less fortunate. Are you comfortable watching them suffer while you live in splendor?

          • FineBoy

            How many have u helped trained or provided them employment?

            Also, come back home and represent them and let us evaluate your balance sheet

          • Annabelle

            It’s not a question of evaluating any balance sheet, we all need to do our bit and if we support one another, things are likely to improve. We just have to be willing and not give up!

    • Annals Soyinka presentation and pointer, seemly meant; the president “Buhari” has been a source of Nigeria petroleum problems since 1977?

      • 0tile

        What are you trying to say?

  • Otile

    Damned be any_fool who blames Jonathan for Buhari’s corruption and incompetence.

  • Mizch

    BEFORE, they supported Buhari LAUGHING
    NOW, they support Buhari SIGHING.
    AFTER, they will supporting Buhari MOURNING.

    • Lanre

      Wonderful. Poem of the Year 2017. This is wishing you a Happy New Year.

      • Mizch

        Thanks Lanre. May you also enjoy a great New Year, filled with inner joy and peace.

  • Opekete

    Honestly speaking Buhari have no business holding the petroleum ministry. As a matter of fact Nigeria needs smart young resourceful and innovative people to launch the country into the realm of development. Buhari may be a honest person and meant well for the nation but good intention and honesty alone does not parachute a nation to success. We need courage to do the needful.

    • Alhaji

      Prove that he is a honest man and he means well for Nigerians. He has been supporting Boko Haram,he spent millions of pound in Britain, for aircraft parking, surrounding himself with his brothers who are looting Nigeria dry, no regular electricity, good roads, security, and he has been junketing the whole world with zero achievements, Are these the meaning of honesty in Hausa language? How many Boko Haram members has he prosecuted and executed for killing over 50000 innocent people? How many Fulani herdsmen has he prosecuted for killing and raping women? How many treasury looter among his brothers has he prosecuted? Tell Nigerians his good achievements since Boko Haram installed him as our president.


    Oh’ what a difference it will make if states where allowed to exploit their energy resources and manage their distribution networks. The Abuja grid lock is a huge problem . A country where the president who appoints 8 dead men to boards of parastatals is also the petroleum Minister has no chance.

    • Annabelle

      It’s disheartening to watch Nigeria, a country of intellectuals and hardworking people go down the drain because of ignorant, greedy, unsophisticated men who rule by guns and hired assassins!

  • Lanre

    Anyone that thinks Nigeria can progress without a major surgical operation is wasting his/her time. Thank you Kongi for the intervention at this time. Once again, you have reminded us of the state of anomie and confusion that is Nigeria. I know we disagree on the solution – I demand for an independent Yorubaland – but the diagnosis remains the same. 40 years ago, Muhammudu Buhari was the Minister of Petroleum with Olusegun Obasanjo as Head of State. Today, Muhammudu Buhari is President and Minister of Petroleum and the situation of fuel delivery is worse. Nigeria imports refined crude even though we have four refineries. Now, time for some self-evident truths.
    Sir, thieves are ruling Nigeria. From 1977 to date they have ruled the country. There will be no revolution in Nigeria – The Igbo does not trust the Yoruba, the Hausa-Fulani distrust the Igbo. In this perfect setting, we have predatory opportunists and criminals using illegally acquired state resources to perpetually subjugate a citizenry. From Abeokuta to Osogbo in Yorubaland, Owerri to Awka in Igboland, Kebbi to Damaturu in the North.
    Forty years from now, I will be addressing Yoruba youth on the strides we have made in Space, with our own SpaceCraft. By then every home in our land will have running potable water and electricity guaranteed as a fundamental right of existence. Amen.

    • Chukwuka Okoroafor

      Once people’s back is against the wall, you will be surprised at what they will do. So far, Nigerians have found ways around the wall but when there is no more, the people will unite. However, I think the change will come from general chaos rather than anything coordinated.

    • Timothy

      The only solution is disintegration but the parasites in Nigeria like Mr Soyinka will not support this beautiful idea. So they remain silent as the living continues to appoint the dead into political positions and as board members. And not even a single Governor, Senator or Minister has been courageous enough to speak out.

      • Alhaji

        The Senators and the Governors cannot talk because they are all thieves. They fear that if they talkl, Buhari will unleash EFCC on them. They don’t want to offend a hypocrite.

        • Lanre

          Thank you Alhaji. Wishing you a happy new year. Igba titun a san wa si rere. Amin.

      • Lanre

        My Brother. They cannot talk. Governance in Nigeria is a huge criminal enterprise.

        • Annabelle

          Correct! You right on point! Unfortunately, too many fail to understand the danger of this “criminal enterprise” and would rather caress the deceitful promises of these thieves, which they’ve been making since 1960, and pray God falls from heaven to solve their ignorance!

  • Dr Pat Mumuwole Awosan

    This fake Professor without PhD is part of the problem. He it was who once opined that Buhari was unfit to be president while giving his crude and brazen arrests, detention and jailing of journalists and other Nigerians without trials amidst other human rights abuses for which he is notorious. But once Buhari launched his political movement from the forests of the North East trepidation soon took the better of Soyinka and other chicken hearted folks like Parrot Bakare …and silence soon became the code of conduct. Senior Governor, Sir Ayo Fayose, Femi Kayode and a few others became lone voices in the wilderness. In a most ridiculous manner Mr Soyinka destroyed his US green card in far away SA just because President Trump was rumoured to have caressed the backside of some Ladies. He found that disgusting but not Buhari’s statements supporting Boko Haram. And not his killing of IPOB protesters and unarmed Shiite Muslims …all who were killed and bodies buried in mass graves…And Soyinka would not destroy his Nigerian passport to protest this evil by Buhari. He would say nothing. Why? Because he is an ATTENTION SEEKER!!! …Why is Soyinka just realizing the mess? Why is he now speaking up? Because Buhari now leans more towards the dead than the living? Come on Mr Soyinka, give us a break! Too late!

    • emmanuel

      Na you dey call person fake?
      There is trouble in the land, for an unfortunate cattle reare from igeria Savannah to call an oni jekuje Professor fake

  • emmanuel

    Bros Soyinka, i sori for you. You made lot of noise when Buhari began his move for election. Shortly after dem use Amaechi to give you so much soup to lick. Na so you come dey follow dem do back yard campaign.
    The chicken has now come to roost. Please do not pretend to be irked by Buhari’s failure, because you are older than him (his false age) and knows so well that he is a fraud and cannot deliver, so why inundate us with your position.

  • The gods makes mad a person who is about to be punished bought in lie and other hidden acts. One can not cheat on human a go stone free say the lord of living. Just a reminder- Soyinka.

  • Gaskins

    It is not the masses that are fooled but when a Nobel Laureate like Soyinka can be fooled you wonder if ever Nigeria will get it right!

    When an uneducated vulcanizer knew Buhari was fake a Nobel Laureate did not know but was roundly and soundly fooled!

    Not only Soyinka. Where is the voice of Tunde Bakare?

  • Kenny

    Straight talk Professor Soyinka! You disected the “bitter” truth. You killed it!! No light at the end of the tunnel. Buhari is a perrenial underachiever with a penchant for passing blames other than accepting responsibility for failure.

    • Musa M. Dantsoho

      If only the trash would get to the two million voters in Kano and other millions across North west geographical zone.

  • Olatubosun

    Fuel scarcity will be thing of the past….

  • Olatubosun

    This administration is working hard to make things easy for the masses