Scaling of National Assembly gate our lawmakers’ ‘finest hour’ – Soyinka

Prof Wole Soyinka

Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, has criticised the Nigerian media for continuously describing as ‘show of shame’ the incident where some members of the House of Representatives scaled the gate of the National Assembly to gain entrance into the complex.

Speaking at a press conference in Lagos, Tuesday, Mr. Soyinka said that the phrase ought to be reserved for Suleiman Abba, the Inspector General of Police.

About 15 members of the Lower House scaled the fence to gain access into the complex, two weeks ago, after they were stopped by police officers.

“Legislators are not elected for their athletic prowess, and such endeavours should not be demanded of them,” said Mr. Soyinka, a professor of Comparative Literature.

“There are even presidents and prime ministers who were elected despite physical handicaps. The brain is where it matters, the vision and commitment to service.”

Mr. Soyinka said that by scaling the National Assembly gate, the legislators were made to perform over and beyond the call of the Olympics.

“I don’t understand why some media have described their action as a show of shame – this is a very careless, easily misapplied designation. The act of scaling gates and walls to fulfill their duty to the people must be set down as their finest hour. They must be applauded, not derided.

“If shame belongs anywhere, it belongs to the Inspector General of Police and his slavish adherence to conspiratorial, illegal, and unconstitutional instructions – to undermine a democratic structure, and one – to make matters worse – convoked in response to an emergency of dire public concern.”

At his last press conference in Abeokuta last week, Mr. Soyinka, 80, announced that he had been diagnosed of cancer in December 2013, adding that the “nuisance” had been disrupting his normal existence.

But on Tuesday, he was his usual jocular self, cracking jokes as he entered the venue of the press event 20 minutes after the scheduled time.

“Tell me what you are doing about the electronic media,” he asked jokingly to the half a dozen journalists seated in the hall.

“This medium of supposed information is becoming dangerous.”

Later, he informed the reporters that he would be handing them written texts of his speech “personally” to avoid an impostor handing them copies of what he never said when they leave the hall.

At the end of the question and answer session, he issued an apology: “Sorry, there is no brown envelope. But I have drinks.”

The writer and poet, however, did not mince words when he spoke about the menace of the Boko Haram terrorist group and its danger to Nigeria’s corporate existence.

“The cliché ‘heating up the polity’ may grate the ear-drums with its banality but I think that we have a right to demand of a leader not to stoke up the furnace in which events have cast its citizens. Every day records a new violation of our humanity,” said Mr. Soyinka.

“The atrocious targeting of the great mosque of Kano has rendered any lingering doubt of impending national imposition an invitation for collective suicide, preferably through piecemeal dismemberment. The theories of cause and effect can wait, or continue – it does not matter – the omniscient in such matters continue to pontificate, some of them blithely forgetting that they indeed contributed to policies that landed us in this brutal cleft.”

Mr. Soyinka also said that President Jonathan’s recent visit to the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, underlined his total alienation from the reality that has engulfed the nation.

“Yes, political campaigns are part and parcel of the bloodline of the democratic process. We know that they never stop,” he said.

“However, that a national leader should go campaigning on the platform of ethnic support at a time when priorities dictate a united national engagement for survival, is a grotesque undertaking that was tragically rebuked in the massacre of worshippers and desecration of the Kano mosques, almost simultaneously with the alienated gathering of selected crowned heads and journeymen at the OAU campus, a macabre echo of Balthazar’s feast.

“Long before Nyanya, long before Chibok, long before the mildest of the now innumerable violations of our basic right to existing as free citizens, the march of a nation towards implosion has dominated the landscape, but an obsession with the pettiness of power has obscured remedial vision and thus, the creative options constantly open to any prescient leadership.”

Mr. Soyinka said that the call for Nigerians to be vigilant is real and urgent, adding that there is a need to clip the wings of the predatory bird.

“Let no one cry anarchy when the people respond to that historic cry of liberation, to which one leader after another – the most recent being the Emirates of Kano and the Ulama leader Yahaya Jingir – have felt moved to urge upon their people.”


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  • Boltonboyan

    Well said prof. This is what happens in our where security agencies have become puppets of the ruling party.

    • Gaskiya

      Thank you.
      Shame on IGP Abba and his people.

    • Ann

      Well, APC govt is doing the same to citizens in Lagos state. Remember the Lekki Toll? . people could not even have peaceful demonstration against paying illegal toll. This same APC has ignored several court rulings and use the armed forces against citizens in Lagos state. Now their are being given a dose of their medicine and they run to the media. They use media propaganda a lot and that is what works for them.

  • Frank Bassey

    THIS IS THE CHARACTER OF SEA DOGS

    • tundemash

      Creek monkey, I’m surprised you haven’t accused Soyinka of being a Boko Haram sponsor.

  • Edward Osadebay

    “The brain is where it matters, the vision and commitment to service.” Just what are lacking in President Azikiwe Jonathan. Very appropriate.

    • Ayelala

      There lies the problem with the country.

  • Tolani

    Prof, the only question I have here is why has the senators not behaved like the vagabonds you are praising?. Is Tambuwal above the search by the police?. Prof try and be objective sometimes. Your attitude of not seeing anything good in the president is very disgusting.

    • tundemash

      what a d@ft question ? Was it the Senators or the House of Rep members that were locked out ?

      I hope you have collected your own South African stove sha!

      The same Soyinka that you claim is ” not seeing anything good in the president” didn’t see anything good in Turai Yaradua either when he was molesting Dumbo in 2009… i hope you were disgusted with Soyinka then too .

      • Gaskiya

        @tundermash,

        Thank you very much.
        Please look at the previous contributions of any member commenting here so you can gauge his/her stand on Nigeria’s problems. Some people are on Jonathan’s apologists payroll, just to silence every critique of this government and PDP on minute by minute basis. To them Nigeria is nothing as long as they get their little shares.

    • taiwo

      Excuse me?! Sometimes, you have to confront arrogance & deceit eyeball to eyeball. Have been arguing this point with a few people since the incident. We are not going to be taken for granted anymore.

    • israel amulum

      This fine man has gone senile.his hatred for jonathan is clouding basic reasoning

    • Omo Akin

      No Senator was locked out of the National Assembly. Only the Speaker and the 15 House of Reps members were locked out. Why were they locked out?
      People like you do not understand what danger this impunity portends for everyone in the country. Today it is Tambuwal, tomorrow it can be you. A person who knows a police officer or a political office holder can get the police officer to detain or even kill you and no one held accountable because the police has become a law unto themselves. I pray that you experience this very soon.

      • Gaskiya

        You have said it all and I hope Tolani understands the danger of impunity Jonathan led government is raining on Nigerians. Nigerians never imagine that the injustice we are fighting can be meted to them anytime. It is then they will cry for help.

    • Nationalist

      It’s unfortunate that people like you just talk or write with little or no understanding of the words they use. In fact you don’t even understand the issues at stake in the first instance. Tell us what the President has done right by asking the IG to seal the National Assembly? Do you people understand the meaning of DEMOCRACY at all? I doubt it.

    • Emancipation

      SURE-P Alert derailed brain. #BallotVollution #VoteVollution #ThumbVollution

    • Ann

      I agree with you comment that the professor needs to make constructive criticism or else he will loose his respect from people because it now becoming clearer that he will never see anything good in PDP even if it is clear as a crystal ball and that is because he is being rewarded with the appointment of his son in an APC led govt so do not expect any unbiased comment from him. What a shame!

  • Truthometer

    Tell them, Prof!

  • Wähala

    “Let no one cry anarchy when the people respond to that historic cry of liberation, to which one leader after another – the most recent being the Emirates of Kano

  • Arc. Ibrahim

    Is’t not an insult on the faces of the northerners? OBJ and Soyinka are speaking on our behalf? Northerners we have to start acting like south westerners who knows and defend their rights. Sorry to say that but its the truth.

    • Otile

      Don’t start a war now, those Westerners want to incite you into a serious war so that they will become finance ministers, petroleum ministers and the juicy posts while you will be bugged down by senseless war.

      • taiwo

        Infamous Otile! Which one you wan come put inside what Mr Ibrahim said? He is simply appealing to a sense of justice & fair play in his ‘people’. Got it?

  • Sharia_Haram

    >*It is time for Soyinka to join his ancestors.

    Soyinka is of no relevance to Nigeria. His utterances these days is becoming an abuse of Old Age.

    Soyinka should just declare for APC. He is a failed politician.

    His political party “The Democratic Front for a People’s Federation(DFPF)” was a failure.

    He will not mention that his son is an APC stalwart and Commissioner for health in Ogun state.

    He is just jealous of a young man(GEJ) who has achieve what he(Soyinka) and his children could not attain in their life time despite their level of academic.

    • Gaskiya

      @ Sharia_Haram!!!

      Please keep quiet night shift propagandist!!!

      You are an attack dog hired by Jonathan apologists to attack decent critique of the clueless government.

      Your mentioning “He is just jealous of a young man (GEJ) who has achieve what he (Soyinka) and his children could not attain in their life time despite their level of academic” shows how childish your brain thinks. I am sure even your sponsors will find your statement disgusting, embarrassing and counterproductive to their main strategy. Only lunatic Nigerians will aspire to be like Jonathan. A president that can not confidently and freely visit and mingle with his electorates for fear being mobbed, stoned or yell at. And after leaving office, life will be miserable for him too. So what is there in him to be jealous of???????
      Fortunately, even primary school pupils know the difference between Professor Soyinka and people like you and Jonathan.

    • Ann

      I agrre with you that Soyinka’s utterances these days gives him up as an APC supporter and of course his son is in ogun state cabinet under an APC govt so connect the dots

      • taiwo

        Is/was one of his children not appointed to an office by either Yar A Dua or Jonathan? So connect the dots.

    • Reality

      Rubbish and evil thought. You are cruel to have wish a fellow being death. Repent my brother.

  • King Carlos

    “..almost simultaneously with the alienated gathering of selected crowned heads and journeymen at the OAU campus, a macabre echo of Balthazar’s feast.”

    Yoruba e ro nu

  • Emancipation

    Sanusi, Obasanjo, Soyinka are only calling for #BallotVollution #VoteVollution #ThumbVollution and not arm revolution.

  • Spoken word

    our journalists dont care about democracy. They only care about brown envelopes. what a pity. they have been silent on all the recent rapes on democracy that has been carried out by GEJ and his goons. If not for social media, everything will have been swept under the carpet.

  • favourtalk

    Truth be told, I don’t really like this man before but with the truth coming out and full explanation of what happened, I love him more. If they didn’t do the needful, many critising them won’t know where they will be today. Some actions always save the country from their collapse state. We need a nigeria not a nation that pleases a single man. Nigerians are tired of GEJ and we’v expressed it severally but he wouldn’t listen because he’s over ambitious and people who’r greedy are all over him. We need a sane society

  • Reality

    Nowadays journalist look forward for brown envelop to cover a story!

  • salako

    Well said mr soyinka

  • ade

    Supporter of President Jonathan here?
    Show your support. Pls say amen to this prayers A PRAYER
    FOR G.E.J SUPPORTERS 1.) May God
    run your Life the way GEJ is running
    this country. 2.) May God give u and your family the
    kind of peace GEJ gives to this
    country. 3.) May God subsidize your blessings
    the way Jonathan subsidized the
    Nigerian Oil. 4.) May God secure u and your entire
    family the way GEJ secures this
    country. As a Good supporter of GEJ all u have
    to do is to Quote this and reply “Amen”