15 July 2017
Nobel laureate, Proffessor Wole Soyinka, on Friday said the continued existence of Nigeria as a country was negotiable, as most nations of the world came to be through negotiations.
The literary icon, who spoke at a colloquium in Kaima, Bayelsa State, with students of the Ijaw National Academy, said it was wrong for anyone to thinks that Nigeria’s existence was not negotiable
At an event organised by the Bayelsa State Government to honour Nigeria’s literary icons, Profs John Pepper Clark, Gabriel Okara and historian icon, Prof Joe Alagoa, Soyinka noted that most Nigerians are missing the arguments.
He said: “We are mixing up the argument. When people say, especially former leaders and especially those who bear enormous responsibility for the question of breaking up or not breaking up, our role in the first place it always sounds hypocritical, dogmatic and dictatorial, and that statement is that the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable.
“That, for me, is a falsity. Anything is negotiable. The right of people to determine their future is what is non-negotiable. Most nations came to be through negotiations.
“Sometimes when people say negotiate, what they really mean is restructure. What the argument should be, what the question should be, is should Nigeria break up? And my answer to that is, no!
“But please, don’t tell me that Nigeria, as it stands, is not negotiable. It is a fallacy. The nation has got to be negotiated. Negotiation includes ensuring that there is no marginalisation.”
Soyinka said negotiation has to do with the issues of resource control and restructuring the country in a way that components and constituents would not be feeding an over-bloated centre to the detriment of their own development.
“So, Nigeria is negotiable. What we should say, the language we should use is, what are you willing to sacrifice, what efforts are you willing to make to ensure that Nigeria remains intact. That is the citizen question,” he insisted.