National Conference a must, says Soyinka

Nobel laureate Prof Wole Soyinka yesterday said Nigeria needs to convoke a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) to resolve its problems . 

Soyinka spoke yesterday in Lagos, at the post-humous birthday of Martin Luther King Jr and the American Civil Rights Movement (ACRM), organised by the Public Affairs Section of the United States (U.S.) Consulate-General in Lagos and the Freedom Park.

On Boko Haram, he said, its activities were progressing towards secession because of the way the sect members have been driving people out of some states in the North.  

Speaking on the theme: Martin Luther King: The quest for Justice, Tolerance and American Civil Rights Movement, Soyinka said Nigeria was conceived through fiat. 

He said the country’s constitution was not established in freedom, hence the need to have a truly Sovereign National Conference that would be comprehensive and all-inclusive. 

“There was a fundamental cheat behind the way  the constitution was formulated. It should be established in freedom and not something forced down our throat”, he added.

According to the literay giant, the federal system of government in the country was not suitable. 

Comparing the civil rights movement of the U.S. and Nigeria, he said, they were not equal but were driving force meant to effect changes in the societies.

Soyinka said the march on the streets of Washington DC by King Jr and other activists was similar to the Ojota protests, saying: “Peace and justice are twins but not identical.” 

The professor said peace was never real without justice, saying certain values were seen as the enemies of peace.

He praised King Jr for his non-violence approach to protest, saying it did not mean he was not a combatant but the methodology was different.

Soyinka said King Jr demonstrated the power of the mind and will to resist oppressive government.

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National Conference a must, says Soyinka