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Author Name: Anthony Joseph Onoh
Number of articles: 9
The return of the Nigeria´s first lady, Patience Jonathan, from an alleged medical treatment in Germany... (2) Comment


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Wole Soyinka: Grandiose and Grumbled
Author: Anthony Joseph Onoh | January 25, 2010



When Ketu H. Katrak tagged Dr. Wole Soyinka "Africa's most accomplished playwright, poet, novelist, auto-biographer, editor, critic and commentator on African worldview", it was indeed a meritorious qualification and not enough compliment for a man who has accomplished virtually everything literally and academically. Politically however, he is still stumbling on virtually every angle, perhaps trying to find outlets for his polemic views and unpopular judgements. Opportunistic in his political adventures and implications, he has been inconsistent in his actions and approach to virtually every major political events he has been involved in, especially since the return of democracy to Nigeria. A noble laureate and renowned author, his stance on political issues has catapulted him to a level of prominence. He has threaded the part of unnecessary activism for personal aggrandisement. How can someone of his intellectual capacity descend so low politically, orchestrating civil disobedience against an elected government? What, in God's name, was his doing marching with a group of protesters in the streets of Abuja, demanding that the sick President resigns? I do not get the connection here since he is neither a member of an opposition political party nor a member of a particular interest group. Perhaps, prominence provides necessary credentials to speak in the name of every Nigerian. Perhaps, he believes we are still in the military era where every opposition to the government can be found in the closet of every aggrieved Nigerian. Perhaps, he feels politically irrelevant and ignored hence his actions of "here I am". The President is sick and in his absence, his vice is in charge and handles the affairs of the state. In the most serious scenario where there is a vacuum of power, it is the job of the national assembly and the senate to act decisively to restore normalcy. If the senate has so determined, they would have intervened to ensure that the affairs of the state are properly functional and legally conducted. Now, the grumble of the Africa's most renowned playwright is his inability to identify the true course of action. He is seemingly threading on the wrong path to ensure that any illegality is addressed. I find nothing illegal that a President is sick. To the best of my knowledge, there has not been any medical report that suggests that the President is incapable to run the affairs of the nation. All the clamours for his resignation are therefore baseless and utterly political. Politics in Nigeria is generally about power and personal interest. Those personal interests and pursuits seem to sometimes becloud the judgement of most intellectuals and political opponents who see every loop hole or scandal as an opportunity to advance their political desires; ignoring moral issues and natural considerations. Here, I think the nation and the opposition has been unfair to the sick President. Perhaps we are taking it way too far. I had written an article criticising the health condition of the president and most especially the secrecy that has surrounded it. I even called for the President's resignation if he considers himself unfit to continue with the mandate from the Nigerian people. I however stopped short of joining this ongoing nuisance and skimming to oust him as if he has committed any crime by falling ill. I am alarmed by Soyinka's move to remove the sick President by orchestrating civil disobedience. His appearing in virtually all the national dailies was so scandalous, looked silly and indeed pretentious. I have a lot of admiration for Dr Soyinka but lately I find him dabbling with one political question or the other. I would appreciate if he can make time to clarify his stand on this one. I don't think the nation is under any serious attack and requires the Presidents intervention to declare a state of emergency and order the military into action in order to secure the integrity of the nation. I don't think that FEC (federal executive council) seized to be functional because of the president's absence. I don't think that Vice President Jonathan is acting incompetently or restricted in his decisions and actions. I do not think that there is any need to rush into power handover since the state of the President's health has not been ascertained. What if Jonathan is granted presidential powers and the president returns healthy and fit? Granting full presidential powers to Jonathan will empower him to not only make personal decisions based on his own ideological inclination but will allow him to change the entire structure of the national government. Are we ready to have a change of government in the middle of a four year term of this new government? Perhaps we should also consider the economic impact on the tax-paying Nigerian. Obviously, no one cares about the Nigerian tax payers who have suffered so much. I think that Nigerians should not be confused by popular songs and music aimed at instigating unrest and rebellion. I reiterate my admiration for Dr Soyinka as a person and for all his accomplishments but I disagree with him on this one.

(5) Comment


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NGEX welcomes and encourages reader comments. Permission to post reader comments is assumed, and we reserve the right to excerpt or edit for clarity any comments that are posted. We won't be able to publish all comments. And we can't vouch for the accuracy of posts from readers. Nickname or Name will be used to identify your post.
Prince    Seul, S. Korea    January 27, 2010
We are not fools. I knew it from the onset that it was a wrong decision to ask Yaradua to resign. Resign for what? Because he is sick? There is nothing that needed to be done which has been left undone by the Vice President, Jonathan Goodluck. This article has said it all, if Jonathan was handed over, he can change everything completely and began his own rule and Yaradua's return would also change the whole thing again.

Besides, no body know for sure whether Yaradua is really unfit to govern. If any doctor can certify him unfit, then it will be appropriate for him to hand over, but until then, we should just pray for his quick recovery.
mscroft    ,     January 27, 2010
so by your reasoning, only political opponets should stage rallies, and these should not be done because there is an elected government? Elected government does not equal a lack of freedom of speech. please before you go about writing this kind of crap, go and read up on what democracy is you ASS
Chiedu    Lagos, Nigeria    January 25, 2010
it is imperative to know that the people calling for President Yaraduas resignaton are his political rivals. No one in his right sense of mind can quarrel with someone because he is sick.

I dont know why the urgency in transfering power to Vice President Jonathan. If Prof. Soyinka and the others who are demanding for Yaraduas resignation have any information which we dont have, they should let us know. I think this article reflects the silence of many of us that cannot understand what is going on.

It is just about power and power drunkeness, and selfish pursuits. We need to remain calm and pray for our dear leader until it is proven that he cannot stand fit to carry on with his constitutional duties.
waka-about    Texas, USA    January 25, 2010
From your logic Nigerians and the rest of the world should remain in limbo because "Granting full presidential powers to Jonathan will empower him to not only make personal decisions based on his own ideological inclination but will allow him to change the entire structure of the national government" . If Jonathan is truly the Vice President, then why are you so scared of Jonathan?

Nigeria is turning into a laughing joke around the world and you are worried about ministers and speciall advisers.

You also cloud your writing with misleading comments. Is Soyinka asking for Yar'Adua to hand over to Jonathan or for yar'Adua to resign? Does handing over mean that Yar'Adua has resigned? Please stick to the facts. Is Soyinka asking for Yar'Adua to handover simply because he is sick or because so far his actions seem to insinuate that he is not able to perform his duites. If you are so adamant that Yar'Adua is capable to lead the country, why don't you demand that you see concrete proof - video, pictures, etc of him performing his duties. A picture of him signing the budget that people use to steall your money and stuff their pockets would have been nice too

If Yar'Adua is fit to continue then by all means he should but if he is not it is not his choice to decide if he should hold on.

If he is not capable of performing his duties, then what excactly is the big deal of handing over to his VP? What are you really afraid of? Being afraid that the VP will change ministers makes no sense for the average Nigeria unless you are benefiting directly from the status quo

I think you should ponder this post below and think about why it was done by the US President and then ask yourself why you think it should be different for Nigerians. "Sept 4, 1998 - Vice President Cheney will assume the presidency on an acting basis today when President Bush undergoes general anesthesia for a routine colon examination, the White House said yesterday.

Bush will transfer powers under the 25th Amendment, which permits the president to voluntarily hand over authority when he is unable to perform his duties. The White House said Cheney will probably be in charge for about 21/2 hours while Bush recovers from the effects of the sedative.
naija sha    bastrop, LA, usa    January 25, 2010
mr waka about i know know why you dey waste your energy and efforts on a failed country. na dem sabi, you wan tell me say suppose na hausa man be vice president and the president na southener and he sick for 2 months wen no body know weather he is alive or dead, them no go don transfer power to the vp?

you know the consitution paper should be burnt and lets the govt. be managed by the events as they unfold cos.......nigerian constitution na rubbishoooo....Period.
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