Nobel Laureate and social critic, Prof. Wole Soyinka has called on Nigerians not to ignore the call by former President Olusegun Obasanjo that an urgent stakeholders’ meeting was needed to stop the ‘fulanization’ agenda by some elements in the northern part of the country.
Soyinka, who spoke on Wednesday at the celebration of Africa’s Day by the United Bank for Africa (UBA) in Lagos said Nigerians should not be harsh on Obasanjo for suggesting that there was a grand plan by some Fulani elements to forcefully takeover West Africa and Nigeria and Islamize Africa.
Obasanjo had on Saturday last week, lamented the deadly activities of Boko Haram and herdsmen in the country, saying the challenges had grown beyond what Nigeria could tackle alone.
Soyinka said: “You know the history between me and former President Olusegun Obasanjo. That we are not best of friends is not hidden to Nigerians but we should be careful not to be too abrasive on him when he said there is a grand plan by some Fulani elements to forcefully Islamize West Africa and Nigeria.
“What Obasanjo was saying was that there is the need for a stakeholders’ meeting on the issue of kidnapping, banditry and even youth suicide that is going on in the country. That we had all better sit down to tackle the problem now and not later.
Speaking on the theme ‘Africa’s History Redefined: Our Past, A Path To The Future’, Soyinka said as history cannot be erased, the abduction of Leah Sharibu and numerous girls in Boko Haram captivity is now part of Nigeria’s history.
“Leah, you are a prisoner of conscience. I will like you to know that the world celebrated you on your birthday. On your birthday, you were celebrated in Washington and in Turin, a poem was written about you. I want you to be rest assured that we are thinking about you.
“Those who expunged history from our schools need to be taken out of history. A lot of crimes in the country now are because our children don’t know where they were coming from.
“Huge parts of the brains of our youths are not used. We should begin to teach our children our history first. We cannot cope with modern phenomenon without knowing our ancient phenomenon.
“The importance of history is not just an academic exercise but developmental exercise,” he added.
Also supporting Obasanjo, elder statesman and chieftain of the Yoruba socio-cultural organization, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo stressed that what Obasanjo said was timely and should not be ignored by the Federal Government.
“There is nothing new in what Obasanjo said. We have been saying it for a long time. President Buhari cannot say that he does not know that Boko Haram insurgents are terrorists.
“Obasanjo is in order. He has hit the nail on the head. He said it at the right time. Those who have ears let them hear,” Adebajo said.