Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka believes Nigerians feel less secure now than “a few years ago”.
President Muhammadu Buhari succeeded President Goodluck Jonathan two years ago and there has been increased trepidation across the country over kidnapping and terrorism.
Soyinka said on Monday that the low sense of security Nigerians feel is the major reason behind the clamour for state and community policing.
He was speaking to the media at the unveiling of the second batch of students travelling to Lebanon for studies.
The programme is organised by The Cedars Institute, Lebanon, in collaboration with The Wole Soyinka Foundation.
Soyinka also said there are “yawning gaps” in the current administration, adding that the past few years have been that of “economic disaster” for the average Nigerian.
“Take simple security for instance. The average citizen feels less secure now than he did a few years ago; that is evident. When people talk about state police, there are reasons for it,” he said.
“When they talk about bringing policing right down to the community level, they know what they are talking about. This is also part and parcel of reconstruction or reconfiguration.
“The economy, there is a big question about it right now. Fortunately, everybody admits that we went through a very bad patch. Right now, it is a question of have we come out of it or not or there is no question at all.
“The past few years have been years of real internal economic disaster for the average citizen.’’
Soyinka, however, said there was a question of who was responsible for the sufferings the nation was plunged into in the last two years.
When asked about the current debate for a second term for Buhari, the Nobel laureate wondered why the issue is being talked about.
“Why are we talking about second term for heaven’s sake?” he asked, adding, “I don’t understand this. I refuse to be part of that discussion. I absolutely refuse to be part of the discussion”
He also lent his voice to the recent call for Nigeria to be restructured, saying the nation is “long overdue for reconfiguring”.
Soyinka said the proponents of restructuring should not be put off by those saying it is the mind of Nigerians that need to be restructured not the nation itself.
He said: “I find it very dishonest and cheap time-serving, trivialising the issue when I hear expressions like ‘it is the mind that needs to be restructured.’ Who is arguing or denying that? Why bring it up? Why is it a substitute?
“We are talking about the protocols of association of the constitutive parts of a nation. We are talking of decentralisation. That is another word. This country is over-centralised.
“Are you saying we cannot reconstruct the mind and reconstruct the nation at the same time? Call it by whatever name. We are saying that this nation is long overdue for reconfiguring. That is the expression I choose to use now.’’