Soyinka: Like petrol scarcity, Nigeria’s challenges overshadowing calls for restructuring

Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka says the many challenges faced by Nigeria have continued to relegate the call for restructuring to the background.

He said this on Saturday in an article entitled ‘Blame passing — the New Year gift to a nation’.

Soyinka said such challenges, including the current petrol scarcity, have monopolised the attention of Nigerians amid other issues.

“Even before the current edition of the fuel crisis, other challenges, requiring immediate fix, had begun to monopolize national attention, relegating to the sidelines the outcry for a fundamental and holistic approach to the wearisome cycle of citizen trauma,” he said.

“This has been expressed most recently, and near universally in the word “restructuring”, defined straightforwardly as a drastic overhaul of Nigerian articles of co-existence in a more rational, equitable and decentralized manner.

“Such an overhaul, the repositioning of the relationship between the parts and the whole offers, it has been strongly argued, prospects of a closer governance awareness of, and responsiveness to citizen entitlement.”

Soyinka said restructuring will “near totally eliminate the frequent spasms of systemic malfunctioning inbuilt” into the system in the country today.

He wrote: “And yet each such crisis, plus lesser ones, merely reiterate again and again that this national contraption, as it now stands, is simply – dysfunctional.

“What this demands is that, in the process of alleviating the immediate pressing misery, we do not permit ourselves to be manipulated yet again into forgetting the main issue whose ramifications exact penalties such as petroleum seizures and national power outage.

“These are only two handy, being recent symptoms – there are several others, but this is not intended to be a catalogue of woes.

“Sufficient to draw attention to the Yoruba saying that goes: Won ni, Amukun, eru e wo. Oun ni, at’isale ni. Translation: Some voices alerted the K-Legged porter to the dangerous tilt of the load on his head. His response was – Thank you, but the problem actually resides in the legs.”