Wole Soyinka on the Debts Nigerians Owe Nigeria

by Paul I. Adujie

Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, playwright and author, consummate commentator on Nigerian affairs, is at it again! He was on Thursday, June 7, 2007, testifying before the US Congress, where he demanded that Nigeria’s general elections, held in April 2007, should be cancelled, altogether! Soyinka owes Nigerians and Nigeria an apology!

Soyinka owes Nigerians and Nigeria a lobby for trade and investments by America, in Nigeria! That would a better use of his eminence, his high profile, his eloquence and stature! That is the debt that Soyinka owes Nigerians and Nigeria.

Soyinka is denigrating and ridiculing Nigeria before foreign audiences; in doing so, it is my strong belief that Soyinka, is engaging in a campaign against Nigeria and doing a disservice to Nigeria. For one thing, the elections are over, arguably, the elections were imperfect and those with grouses have since filed complaints and petitions with elections petitions tribunals. This is how it ought to be and this is what is provided by Nigeria’s Electoral Act and the Constitution of Nigeria.

Complaints, protests and marches, after petitions were filed with the elections tribunals and the courts, are perhaps understandable. So long as such are not engaged in, in violent manners and, such, are conducted without prejudice to proceedings before tribunals and courts. And without prejudice to their outcome.

Soyinka in gaudy and tasteless manner, described President Yar’Adua as protem and interim! His attitude is annoyingly offensive, and almost laughably immature!

President Yar’Adua was elected as president of Nigeria in the general elections conducted in April 2007. And, unless and until, a competent elections tribunal with jurisdiction, renders a verdict to the contrary, after presentments of evidences and proofs of frauds or irregularities, in the said elections, and its outcome, the elections which produced President Yar’Adua, President Yar’Adua remains the de jure and if not, he is the de facto president of Nigeria! And so it will be, with or without Soyinka’s endorsements!

President Yar’Adua is not an interim or protem, as Soyinka described him. President Yar’Adua is the substantive and legitimate president of Nigeria as we speak! Yar’Adua is the only president of Nigeria and he will remain so, unless a competent court or tribunal rule otherwise. It therefore unbecoming on the part of Soyinka to so decree!

What does Soyinka and others, who are currently overseas, hope to achieve with their lobbying furiously against Nigeria? Soyinka owes Nigerians and Nigeria a debt, he should use his famed eloquence to advance the cause of Nigeria’s national interests!

I have a few questions for Soyinka, for instance, where was Soyinka and his fellow lobbyists, when Nigeria has been seeking more trade and investments? Where were Soyinka and his fellow lobbyist against Nigeria, when Nigeria sought debt relief and debt forgiveness or debt cancellations? Where was Soyinka, when the likes of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and others were busily, trying to solve Nigeria’s debt overhang and investment challenges? Where was Soyinka when his daughter served in the government that he insists, was and is, an embodiment of evil in Nigeria?

I predict that the current US Congressional Hearing on Nigeria’s General Elections conducted in April 2007, will in the end, amount to an exercise in futility. It is purely an ego massage for the Nigerians who arranged it, and equally so, for those Nigerians participating in it. And the Americans know this. Jendayi E. Frazer, Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of State has publicly stated that Nigeria has made remarkable progress in the preceding eight years. As a result, she has stated that her country, the US prefers to engage Nigeria diplomatically, to Nigeria’s internal challenges. She has informed, that the US plans to support Nigeria with Nigeria’s reforms, trade, electoral and all.

The executive branch, of the US government, to which Ms. Frazer belongs, where she is a part of policy making and implementation regarding foreign affairs, has given her assurances. There is therefore a disagreement with Soyinka and his Opposition posse on the demand to cancel elections or to impose a so-called interim government. Please!

It is an elitist “Dirty Dancing” and it is “Sounds and Fury” amounting to NOTHING!
Lobbying for trade and investments is one thing that could have been effective. Lobbying the US Congress to change local elections results, a purely political, internal affair of Nigeria… is a non-starter, it is a waste of time and it is shooting our collective feet, by some self-consumed, self-serving bands of Nigerians.

Suspect that Atiku as fugitive, is being taken for his money once again, by those who are pretending to be his friends! and I have to wonder what that Congressman from Louisiana, William Jefferson thinks of all these? Especially, given the fact, that congressional hearing on Nigeria was going on, while his high profile indictment played out in the same Washington, DC, the US capital city!

US Congressional Hearing does not CHANGE anything! Nigeria remains a sovereign, politically independent country with territorial integrity! Nigeria is not a political sub-division of the US! This same US Congress has not been able to ALTER, CHANGE or AFFECT President Bush’s Iraq war policies. Please!

When was the last time Nigeria held a hearing over elections in the US or over the failure of the US Government in Iraq or Hurricane Katrina that affected so many African American in New Orleans?

And may I ask Soyinka and his friends, what they intend to make the US do next, regarding Nigeria? Is the US invading Nigeria? So that the US can impose its policies?

I take the view that those who have any iota of interest in Nigeria’s progress, should work with those on the ground in Nigeria to demand Amendments to the Constitution of Nigeria to remove or modify the immunity clause that has been “change” into impunity of action by some politicians

1. Work with Nigerians to Demand Amendments to the Electoral Laws;

2. Demand Electoral Reforms;

3. Demand immediate improvement in safety and security of persons and properties in Nigeria

4. Demand Massive Public Work Projects.. which will keep multitudes of Nigerians busily employed and this will reduce the high rate of crime to a minimum and as it will restore hope in the average citizen

I see futility written all over the current lobbying against Nigeria, by some political fugitives, election losers, desperadoes, blackmailers, and some Nigerian exiles, all, whom it seem are trying to brow-beat and intimidate the current federal government of Nigeria!

Why do we always seem to find our eloquent sons and daughters, only when bashing Nigeria is the task? Why these furious sudden-lobbyists against Nigeria on foreign soil? Where were these same born-again-lobbyists when Nigeria needed support to assume a seat at the United Nations? Where were these rabble-rouser and saber rattlers, when Nigeria sought an opportunity to host the World Cup? Where were these “international” citizens of Nigeria, when Nigeria sought additional help to stabilize the situation in Darfur Sudan, where Nigeria continues to be the crust of the peacekeeping troops?

Why is it, that Nigerians are loudest, when they attack and denigrate Nigeria? Surely, the beautiful ones are not yet born!

Achebe, Soyinka & 100 Concerned Nigerians Abroad; WARN Bush Over Iraq War!

Nigerian Lobbyists: To Support! (or Condemn)? Nigeria

Nigeria: A Ridiculed Mother?

One Hundred Concerned Nigerians Abroad?

Comparing Diasporas: Asians, Jews, Irish etc with Nigerians

More here

US Congress did not assist Nigeria, when Nigeria needed support for debt relief or debt cancellations. Fortunately, Nigeria’s debt is now completely paid! We do not need any foreign persons, institutions or foreign government to dictate to Nigeria, what Nigeria must do for her own good. President Yar’Adua has already vowed to pursue electoral reforms both vigorously and prodigiously. The positive change that Nigerians and Nigeria deserve would have to come from Nigerians and Nigeria.

Nigeria is not a political subdivision of the United States. Nigeria is not Iraq, over which even the US Congress does not seem to have influence over President Bush over his wrong-headed policies that are catastrophic as the deaths and destruction producing!
Nigeria has no friends or enemies we only have permanent national interests!

5. Diaspora Nigerians with ANY clout at all, should LOBBY US Congress, the White House and Institutions and individuals for greater trade and investments in Nigeria…. better American/Nigerian partnership…. based on mutual benefits, mutual understanding and mutual respect

Nigerians, Nigeria will confront and solve Nigeria’s challenges, all!

Nigeria needs Nigerians who will lobby for her development, advancement and greatness!

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Cletus E. Olebunne June 13, 2007 - 12:26 pm

Paul, in defense of Nigeria and Nigerians, you spoke well, the emotion is clearly in the writing, but let us be diplomatic and civil in name-calling. Nigeria’s hidden problem may yet lie in so many literary education and profession, and lacking in business and economic education that is grounded in economic public policies—key requirement for a society seeking strategy and structure for economic growth. Unfortunately not every Nigerian understood the need for debt cancellation, and I can’t blame those who did not understand—because not everyone is so educated in the management uses of cash flow.

You know why Asian countries such as Singapore, China, and India are success stories today? Because, while cabinet officers are politicians, they tend to be particularly talented individuals—often educated abroad in business or economic, or locally educated with these management and leadership knowledge/education.

These countries did it through a combination of great leadership, effective development strategy, and strong governmental institutions—democratic (single party with factions, or multi-party system), autocratic, or Communist, it does not matter, so long all is on the same page for economic growth and raising standard of living.

We either are competing for growth, or we are competing for failure—this is actually the main content of my June 2007 newsletter article coming out this Saturday, June 16, 2007 at http://www.nel-m.org

Nigeria needs new ideas that match current world economic order, while remaining focus on the vision of raising its citizens’ standard of living. In essence, anyone (young or old) not contributing to this regard should just shut it.

Cletus E. Olebunne

Michael June 12, 2007 - 10:52 am

Paul, you make me proud. If only Achebe, Soyinka & the so called 100 Concerned Nigerians Abroad could take a cue from you on what true patriotism is all about, Nigeria would be a far greater place. These fools are all mouth and no action. If they care so much about the state of affairs, I wonder why they cannot band together and form a political party to compete with the current fools holding power?

These idiots should be taken to the public square and flogged.

By the way when is EFCC going to pick up that old fool in Ibadan called Adedibu?


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