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Soyinka, Dickson say Nigeria negotiable, can be restructured

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Grace Ovrawah 


The Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, on Friday in Yenagoa, faulted arguments by some people that Nigeria should not be restructured.

According to him, while the country should not be left as it is, Nigeria is negotiable.

He said this in Yenagoa, during a colloquium with the theme: “A day with the Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka and Ijaw literary icons”, held at the Ijaw National Academy, Kaiama, Bayelsa State, and moderated by renowned poet, Odia Ofeimun.

At the event which was also graced by other literary giants including Dr. Gabriel Okara, Prof Ebiegberi Alagoa and Prof John Pepper Clark, Bayelsa State Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson said Nigeria’s unity is negotiable.

Soyinka said, “My response is simple. We must stop confusing and mixing up the argument, we are mixing up the argument. It is very unfortunate for our leaders to say that the question of breaking up or not breaking up should not arise in the first place. It all sounds hypocritical, dogmatic and dictatorial. The statement is the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable, now that to me is a “falsititude”.

“Anything is negotiable; the right for people to determine their future is what is non-negotiable. Most nations came to being through negotiation.

“Sometimes, when people say negotiate, what they really mean is restructuring. What the question should be: should Nigeria break up? My answer to that is no, but please don’t tell me that Nigeria, as it stands is non-negotiable. For me, this is a fallacy.

“The nation has got to be negotiated; negotiation includes ensuring that there is no marginalisation. Negotiation means control of resources, negotiation has to do with restructuring a nation in a way that the components and constituents are not feeding an over bloated centre to the detriment of their development. The language we should use is what are you willing to sacrifice? What effort are you willing to make to ensure Nigeria remains intact? That is the question.”

Also speaking, Dickson said while the unity of Nigeria is desirable and negotiable, aggrieved nationalities should sit down and dialogue.

“Nigeria’s unity is negotiable and desirable. The answer on whether to break up is no. There is a desire to stay as one. Ask questions about what is happening, there are several things to negotiate.

“If we can control our resources, we will do more for our people. All we need to do is to talk about existence, our living together. Let’s sit down and talk.


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