Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, has defended former president Olusegun Obasanjo over his comments that Boko Haram plans to “Islamise Africa”, asking the Federal Government not to dismiss the claims.
Soyinka said this at a symposium tagged: “Africa’s history redefined: Our past, a path to the future”, which was organised by the United Bank for Africa (UBA) in Lagos on Wednesday.
Obasanjo had at an event on Saturday in Delta State claimed that both Boko Haram and Fulani Herdsmen are planning to force not only Nigeria but the entire African continent to be an Islamic state.
Read Also: Nigeria Can’t Handle Boko Haram, Herdsmen Crisis Alone, Says Obasanjo
However, the Federal Government in a statement issued by Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, described the former president’s comments as mischievous, insensitive and absurd.
The government also accused Obasanjo of seeking to exploit the country’s fault lines to divide it in the twilight of his life despite his earlier sacrifices during the Civil War to keep the country united.
Read Also: Obasanjo’s ‘Islamisation’ Comments On Boko Haram, Herdsmen Mischievous – FG
But Soyinka warned the government not to dismiss Obasanjo’s warning, as well as his advice on collaboration with all relevant stakeholders in other to nip the inherent danger in the bud as the Boko. Haram crisis was dreadful
Soyinka, who admitted that his relationship with the former president was not amiable enough, asked the government to forget about the messenger but focus on the substance of the message.
He said: “However, everybody knows that my relationship with Obasanjo is not too cordial but at the same time, we should be very careful not to be dismissive. If there is a substance, the language must be put aside for a moment.
“I heard the Minister of Information, and I had the feeling that they are leaving aside the substance and worrying too much about the language. Obasanjo was calling for a meeting of stakeholders on a very serious aspect of social menace this country is undergoing.
“This country is undergoing a horrendous descent into the abyss. The perfect picture of Africa is what we must continue to uphold in view as leaders have used the word ‘unity’ to destroy our people.”
The professor of Literature substantiated Obasanjo’s call for effective collaboration with the discussion being held at Britain’s parliament about the impact of the Boko Haram crisis on the African continent.
“The issue of Boko Haram is currently being discussed in the House of Parliament in England in relation to Africa’s well-being,” he said.