Wole Soyinka ‘Buhari is not the messiah,’ Nobel Laureate says

Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka also stated that Nigerians must not forget Buhari’s past as a military dictator.

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President Muhammadu Buhari pictured with Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka play

President Muhammadu Buhari pictured with Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka

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Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka has urged Nigerians not to see President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari as their messiah.

Soyinka also stated that Nigerians must not forget Buhari’s past as a military dictator.

The eminent playwright made the comments while delivering a lecture titled “Predicting Nigeria? Electoral Ironies,” at the Harvard University Hutchins Centre for African & African American Research, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

“It will not be easy to enthrone democracy as the norm. This [won’t] happen in my lifetime, I’m sorry to say, but definitely we must assist the coming generation by reducing the handicap. This happened in Nigeria when, for the first-ever time, an incumbent president was unseated by popular vote even though we had to use a dictator,” Soyinka said.

When asked if Buhari could become for Nigeria what someone like Lee Kuan Yew became for Singapore; “a strong leader who does what probably needs to be done,” Soyinka said:

“I’m very, very cautiously optimistic.”

He also projected that Buhari will be urged by those around him to “keep his nose to the letter of the law,” though “in his zeal to absolutely eradicate corruption,” he might “take advantage of ambiguous areas” in the law and constitution “to empower himself to deal very ruthlessly and quickly with those who have robbed the nation blind.”

“I think that Buhari has a sense of history. He knows that he must make a mark, a very positive mark, on Nigeria to be able to live with himself, or die with a clean conscience,” Soyinka stated.

“Make sure that Nigerians are not allowed to forget his past; they should not think that the messiah has finally arrived,” Soyinka added.

Soyinka also described the tenure of outgoing President, Goodluck Jonathan as an unmitigated disaster adding that Buhari’s win was a good result because the President-elect was the lesser of two evils.

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