Following the Friday abduction of over 300 school children in Jangebe in Zamfara State, Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, on Saturday warned Nigerians against accepting kidnapping of school children in parts of the north as a way of life.
Soyinka who lamented that the government and security agencies have failed Nigerians, said he did not know what else to recommend as panacea to the nation’s “abnormal times.”
The octogenarian playwright spoke in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, at the ANA Ogun award lecture and public presentation of ‘Chronicles of the happiest people on earth,’ the latest book authored by him.
The event was put together by the Association of Nigerian Authors, Ogun State chapter in collaboration with Abeokuta Club.
The 524 page book was launched by foremost indigenous entrepreneur and industrialist, Chief Olatunde Abudu, at the occasion which also witnessed the conferring of “The Greatest Author Icon” award on Wole Soyinka by Ogun ANA.
He noted that events such as public presentation of a book should propagate the positives in existence and prime people to come together as productive and determined human beings for the betterment of humanity.
Soyinka said: “It is important that we remind ourselves and stress that these are abnormal times but it seems to me any way as times of shirking of responsibilities in key areas. We can not permit ourselves to accept the child hostage taking as a way of life, we just can not continue in this fashion, some thing drastic and meaningful has to take place and it has to be collective.
“This is no longer the responsibility of those at the top, in charge of security, in charge of governance they have clearly failed the populace, they have failed us, there is no point trying to reason it up, trying to give an excuse, putting blame or whatever. The important thing is that we are very close to accepting a culture of the unacceptable.
“A few years ago at FUNAAB I accepted an honorary doctorate, I did warn that I was tired of these awards, let me just put this way, awards become burdensome and I said at the time, this is the last doctorate I will be accepting from any institution and I am accepting this one only because it is our own award and I warned them that they should all bear me witness that anytime I would be declining another award I would tell them go and ask them in Abeokuta, I have already made a statement and I must keep to it otherwise I won’t be allowed to return to Abeokuta.
“Events like this for me propagate the positive in existence, I think we are obliged somehow to swallow our pride and come together as productive and determined human beings especially as a community.
“Has it got to be COVID-19 that we take stringent actions, is it going to be an abnormality like COVID-19 that compels us to shut down if necessary and I mean shut down, I think we are reaching the point where in any State where any child is kidnapped that state should shut down completely and other states in sympathy, solidarity should shut down some of their activities, we should not wait for an enemy faceless, airbone unpredictable enemy like COVID-19 to shut down, to make us shut down, to say in protest and as a statement of the unacceptable we are shutting ourselves down until this situation is resolved
“I think we have reached the point where when our children are taking away from us we should as least for some time shut down, it sounds extreme but we don’t know what else one can propose at this particular time, yes life must go on but even those activities will generate and enhance our very existence. I think we have to take on a tonality of regrets, of the unacceptable, protestation and mobilisation on whatever level it is possible as a community of human beings.
“It is not either a day of too much negativity but we are paying a price and consequence with permanence of those scars in our collective psyche that is what worries me. This movement towards accepting as a way of life the absence of the young generation compelled, enforced and forced absence of our own children.”