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Published On: Tue, Dec 2nd, 2014

Jonathan’s govt, reign of impunity-Soyinka

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Wole-SoyinkaBy Lawrence Olaoye & Ayodele Samuel, Lagos

Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka yesterday condemned in strong terms, the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan for allowing the reign of impunity. Soyinka described the recent Police siege on the National Assembly as the latest impunity.

Addressing a press conference titled: “King Nebuchadnezzar – The Reign of Impunity,” in Lagos, the Nobel Laureate described the President as the Biblical Nebuchadnezzar who was bereft of feelings and fear of God.

He said that the battle-line had been drawn and Nigerians must decide whether to submit or resist to the current democratic dispensation.

According to him, the latest action of Suleiman Abba, the Inspector General of Police, against members of the House of Representatives was an unambiguous declaration of war against the people.

Soyinka said the biblical figure of Nebuchadnezzar was uniquely apt in the actions precluding the IGP’s onslaught on the National Assembly

His words: “For one thing, Nebu was a nation builder and a warrior. One could argue even more convincingly for the figure of Balthazar, his successor, or indeed Emperor Nero as reference point, you all remember him, the emperor who took to fiddling while Rome was burning.

“However, you should easily recall why I opted for King Nebu – the figure that currently sits on the top of our political pile himself evoked it, albeit in a context that virtuously disclaimed any similarities, even tendencies. Perhaps he meant it at the time when he claimed: ‘I am no Nebuchadnezzar,’ perhaps not. One judges leaders on acts however, not pronouncements, which are often as reliable as electoral promises,” Soyinka said.

He went on that it was left for Nigerians to decide to revert to the “Abacharian status of glorified slaves.”

Soyinka also said that President Goodluck Jonathan had continued to surprise Nigerians in ways “few could have conjectured.”

“Peaking at his own personalised example where he set the law of arithmetic on its head; I refer to the split in the Governors’ Forum, and his ‘formal’ recognition of the minority will in a straightforward, peer election. Democracy has been rendered meaningless where it should be most fervently exemplified.

But in a swift reaction yesterday, the Presidency accused Soyinka of playing the ostrich by describing President Goodluck Jonathan as ‘Nebuchadnezzar’.

 Responding in a terse statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe, he said Prof Soyinka was playing the ostrich as he had deliberately ignored people who are actually engaged in   impunity.

He said for instance that he had failed to reprimand Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State who he said was the king of impunity.

Okupe said: “Our eminent Prof also sadly plays the ostrich as he failed to reprimand Governor Amaechi who is the national champion of impunity and official recklessness.

“The administration of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan prides itself as the most liberal, keeping faith with adherence to rule of law and tolerance,” he said.

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