The Ogun State based Nobel Laureate and a Professor of international standard, Professor Wole Soyinka, has once again on Saturday in an exclusive interview with newsmen in Abeokuta, advised President Muhammadu Buhari to stop being tyrannical in his governance and desist from what he described as presidential hooliganism and diplomatic excessive display of Methuselahnic political vendetta.
In his words, the Noble Laureate reiterated his position about the president in 2007 when he was aspiring to be the presidential candidate of his political party before he lost the election to President Olusegun Obasanjo.
He read to newsmen what he wrote then and maintained that the leopard found in Buhari can never change its spots; saying the aged president cannot change his way of life for any reason whatsoever. He added that, those of them who later supported his 2015 presidential ambition had no choice than to give a trial then, hoping the military khaki was responsible for his harsh and wicked ways of life when he was former military head of states between 1983 and 1985, but concluded they made the greatest mistake of the century.
“In 2007, I wrote this piece about Gen. Muhammadu Buhari: Shall we revisit the tragicomic series of trials that landed several politicians several lifetimes in prison? Recall, if you please, the ‘judicial’ processes undergone by the septuagenarian Chief Adekunle Ajasin.
He was arraigned and tried before Buhari’s punitive tribunal but acquitted. Dissatisfied, Buhari ordered his re-trial. Again, the Tribunal could not find this man guilty of a single crime, so once again he was returned for trial, only to be acquitted of all charges of corruption or abuse of office. Was Chief Ajasin thereby released? No! He was ordered detained indefinitely, simply for the crime of winning an election and refusing to knuckle under Shagari’s reign of terror.
The conduct of the Buhari regime after his coup was not merely one of double, triple, multiple standards but a cynical travesty of justice. Audu Ogbeh, currently chairman of the Action Congress was one of the few figures of rectitude within the NPN. Just as he has done in recent times with the PDP, he played the role of an internal critic and reformer, warning,dissenting, and setting an example of probity within his ministry.
For that crime he spent months in unjust incarceration. Guilty by association? Well,if that was the motivating yardstick of the administration of the Buhari justice, then it was most selectively applied.
The utmost severity of the Buhari-Idiagbon justice was especially reserved either for the opposition in general, or for those within the ruling party who had showed the sheerest sense of responsibility and patriotism.Shall I remind this nation of Buhari’s deliberate humiliating treatment of the Emir of Kano and the Oni of Ife over their visit to the state of Israel?
I hold no brief for traditional rulers and their relationship with governments, but insist on regarding them as entitled to all the rights, privileges and responsibilities of any Nigerian citizen. This royal duo went to Israel on their private steam and private business.
Simply because the Buhari regime was pursuing some antagonistic foreign policy towards Israel, a policy of which these traditional rulers were not a part, they were subjected on their return to a treatment that could only be described as a head masterly chastisement of errant pupils.
Since when, may one ask, did a free citizen of the Nigerian nation require the permission of a head ofstate to visit a foreign nation that was willing to offer that tourist a visa.?One is only too aware that some Nigerians love to point to Buhari’s agenda of discipline as the shining jewel in his scrap-iron crown.
To inculcate discipline however, one must lead by example, obeying laws set down as guides to public probity. Example speaks louder than declarations, and rulers cannot exempt themselves from the disciplinary strictures imposed on the overall polity, especially on any issue that seeks to establish a policy for public well-being.
The story of the thirty something suitcases – it would appear that they were even closer to fifty -found unavoidable mention in my recent memoirs, YOU MUST SET FORTH AT DOWN, written long before Buhari became spoken of as a credible candidate. For the exercise of a changeover of the national currency, the Nigerian borders – air, sea and land – had been shut tight. Nothing was supposed to move in or out, not even cattle egrets.”