Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has expressed concern over the level of impunity by the leadership in Nigeria.
He however said that the docility of Nigerians was responsible for the menace among the political class.
NaijaNews reports that the literary giant said this at the 24th edition of the Wole Soyinka Lecture Series organized by the National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) on Wednesday.
In his virtual presentation via zoom, Soyinka said all the dire events that have overtaken and overwhelm Nigeria were traceable to impunity, stressing that the country was paying the price for its inability to protest and denounce the impunity of its leaders.
He said, “I would probably expect that from different perspectives in terms of timing, there might be disagreement I am absolute certain that we would agree that one of the major reasons for the dilemma we are undergoing in this country right now is that we permitted, we nurtured, we even encouraged either by actions or inactions, the mindset of impunity both in leadership and among the people.
“We ourselves are equally guilty. We ourselves allowed it. We watched it happen. We didn’t take to the streets to protest it, to denounce it, to warn of the consequences. Oh yes, there were warnings here and there, but they were not converted and structured. So it is not too late to reverse the trend. But at least we must first begin a frank, honest and objective dialogue.”
In his keynote address, Prof. Patrick Lumumba, lamented that Nigeria and most African countries reward corrupt leaders by them.
The Kenyan-born activist also that the issue of impunity was not a Nigeria problem alone, but an issue with the African continent.
According to him, “It is pertinent to ask why Nigeria, which had such great promise continues to wallow in the lower rungs of human development. Why are Africans and Nigerians silent in the face of impunity? Why in the words of Wole Soyinka has the man in us died?
“Despite the impunity by our public office holders, by some miracle, we are not enraged! It would also seem that we have lost the gift of disgust. Why is this so, who cursed us?
“We are the co-authors of our own misfortune because we have lost our values and now resort to religion. We now choose to apply faith instead of logic, elevating the principle of ‘Do-nothing-ism’. We have created leaders who have arrogated themselves the monopoly of wisdom and the country is now run in a narrow and primordial fashion.”
Other speakers include, the former Deputy Managing Director of ThisDay/Arise News TV Media Group, Mr Kayode Komolafe, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, Ms Cynthia Mbamalu and Prof Pat Utomi.
They were unanimous in advocating for accountability in government as the bedrock of Nigeria’s democracy, saying that without accountability leaders cannot be asked questions thereby reinforcing the vicious circle of impunity.