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Soyinka calls for decentralisation in Nigeria

Soyinka calls for decentralisation in Nigeria

Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka has called for decentralisation in Nigeria, saying leaders should stop taking the country for a ride.

The professor, who made the call on Thursday during the 50th-anniversary lecture of PUNCH Nigeria Limited in Lagos, said Nigeria requires decentralisation to enhance the well-being of its citizens.

Read also: Wole Soyinka raises concerns over Agunloye’s safety in Kuje prison

Delivering the lecture titled ‘Recovering the Narrative,’ Soyinka advocated decentralisation as a means to bring governance closer to the people.

He said politicians understand the significance of restructuring but change their stance once in power.

He said he preferred terms like reconfiguration and decentralisation to restructuring.

He said, “What do you mean by restructuring? Well, I don’t even like the word restructuring. I use, I prefer expressions like reconfiguration and decentralisation. Everybody can grasp that: decentralisation. And those who lead, recognise the necessity of it. They recognise the importance, almost the inevitability of it until they get into power, yes, that’s the difference.

“It’s about time, I think, leaders stopped taking this nation for a ride; you know, we must decentralise. Security, you know, has become a burden to bear. From all corners of the nation, that is the crime.”

The Nobel laureate addressed concerns about the fear of collapse or breakup, suggesting an open discussion about the situation and the possibility of a breakup.

Soyinka said nations could be dissolved if it ensures the survival and dignity of humanity, emphasising the importance of addressing issues transparently.

Read also: Soyinka presents seven-point agenda to Tinubu, keeps mum on performance

“We live in what is known as the nation beginning as a vast football field ending up as a ping pong table. If that is going to restore dignity to citizens. If that is going to guarantee three square meals a day, then so be it. One of my favourite expressions with people is ‘Let nations die, that humanity may live’,” he said.