Professor Wole Soyinka says if President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration does not find a lasting solution to the killings of farmers and other persons in the country, he would conclude that there is no government.
The Nobel Laureate said this on Thursday at an event to unveil the logo of the 2018 OAU Ife Festival of Food and Identity in Ile-Ife.
He added that the government should reclaim farmland as well as territories belonging to internally displaced persons.
“We cannot continue to see the seeming triumph of the guns over the plough shear. We want to see this government’s reversal of the triumph of the swords over the plough shears. If this has not taken place, it means we have no government,” he said.
Professor Soyinka also hinted that he would speak more on the issue during the festival, which is scheduled to commence on July 30 and end on August 4, 2018.
“This occasion enables us to pass some certain messages apart from early appetising and promoting this festival. Everything that needs to be said would be said during the festival itself. But, there is an important message and there is a reminder, this is not the best of times for this nation,” he said.
“For us as a people, it is not the most cheerful of times. We have a responsibility to ourselves as living beings not to allow destruction to overtake or overwhelm our creativity. We shall beat swords into plough shears; it means the instrument of cultivation. We must overcome the instrument of destruction”.
The Nobel laureate hopes to see positive changes between Thursday and July when the festival takes off. The absence of that, to him, means the nation is rudderless.
“Between the time of the launching of this logo and the action manifestation of the festival itself, we should have seen signs that the clash between swords and the plough shears is reversed. This would have given us total fulfilment as people with culture, peace, and harmony,” he said.
“If those who have been displaced, the farmers that have been displaced in their hundreds from various parts of this nation especially the North have not been taken back to their productive environment, it means we have no governance. Let us all join hands to beat the swords, the guns into plough shears.”
Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor of the OAU, Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede, said, “The centrality of food to human survival is unquestionable. We are glad that Professor Wole Soyinka agreed to be the chief adviser for the festival.”