Nigeria is negotiable, must be restructured now – Soyinka, Dickson

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Prof Wole Soyinka on Friday faulted calls by some groups and Nigerians that the country should not be restructured.

He said Nigeria was negotiable and must be restructured urgently.

He spoke during a colloquium ‘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.

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 arisen 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.”

Governor Seriake Dickson said while the unity of Nigeria was desirable and negotiable, adding that 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 about existence, our living together. Let’s sit down and talk.”

In attendance were literary giants including Dr. Gabriel Okara, Prof Ebiegberi Alagoa, Prof John Pepper Clark, among others.

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