Soyinka Expresses Cautious Optimism Over Buhari

Prof. Wole Soyinka
Prof. Wole Soyinka

Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka has said that although he is cautiously optimistic about the incoming Muhammadu Buhari – led government, Nigerians should not be naïve and think that he is the messiah they expect.

Even then, he said despite the obvious misgivings by many, Buhari would not be worse than his predecessors in government.

Soyinka made this assertion while delivering a lecture titled “Predicting Nigeria, Electoral Ironies” at the Harvard University Hutchins Centre for African and African American Research in the United States, according to a gazette issued by the institution.

At the event, a former US ambassador to Nigeria, Walter Carrington, had asked Soyinka if Buhari would be able to reform Nigeria like the late Lee Kuan Yew did in Singapore.

Soyinka expressed optimism but added that Buhari might deal ruthlessly with corrupt politicians.

He noted that in his passion to bring corrupt politicians to justice, Buhari may be tempted to tweak the law in order to suit his purpose, but quickly added that those around him will constantly endeavour “keep his nose to the letter of the law.”

Soyinka emphasized that Buhari would however not perform worse than his predecessors.



    The Nobel Laureate said it would be naive for Nigerians to think that Buhari is the messiah.

    He noted that having a sense of history, Buhari would strive to make a mark Nigerians would remember him for so he could die with a clean conscience.

    “We must make sure that Nigerians are not allowed to forget his past. They should not think that the messiah has finally arrived. I think we stay on guard and continue to do what has needed to be done for the past 20 years or so.”

    He also expressed sadness that the nation may have to be prepared to live with the issue of terrorism for a while as the terrorists were deeply indoctrinated.


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