#BringBackJonathan2015: The Wages Of Impunity By Wole Soyinka


Holla, just a day ago, I was asking you for your view as regards the tragic #bringbackourgirls turned #bringbackJohnathan2015. Below is a copy of what the Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka had to say on this issue…you’ve got to read this:

    The dancing obscenity of Shekau and his gang of
psychopaths and child abductors, taunting the
world, mocking the BRING BACK OUR GIRLS
campaign on internet, finally met its match in
Nigeria to inaugurate the week of September 11 –
most appropriately. Shekau’s danse macabre was
surpassed by the unfurling of a political campaign
banner that defiled an entry point into Nigeria’s
capital of Abuja. That banner read:  BRING BACK
JONATHAN 2015.
President Jonathan has since disowned all
knowledge or complicity in the outrage but, the
damage has been done, the rot in a nation’s
collective soul bared to the world. The very
possibility of such a desecration took the Nigerian
nation several notches down in human regard. It
confirmed the very worst of what external
observers have concluded and despaired of  – a
culture of civic callousness, a coarsening of
sensibilities and, a general human disregard. It
affirmed the acceptance, even domination of lurid
practices where children are often victims of
unconscionable abuses including ritual sacrifices,
sexual enslavement, and worse. Spurred by
electoral desperation, a bunch of self-seeking
morons and sycophants chose to plumb the abyss
of self-degradation and drag the nation down to
their level.  It took us to a hitherto unprecedented
low in ethical degeneration.  The bets were placed
on whose turn would it be to take the next potshots
at innocent youths in captivity whose society and
governance have failed them and blighted their
existence? Would the Chibok girls now provide
standup comic material for the latest staple of
Nigerian escapist diet?  Would we now move to a
new export commodity in the entertainment
industry named perhaps “Taunt the Victims”?
As if to confirm all the such surmises, an ex-
governor, Sheriff, notorious throughout the nation
– including within security circles as affirmed in
their formal dossiers – as prime suspect in the
sponsorship league of the scourge named Boko
Haram,  was presented to the world as a
presidential traveling companion. And the
speculation became: was the culture of impunity
finally receiving endorsement as a governance
yardstick?  Again, Goodluck Jonathan swung into
a plausible explanation: it was Mr. Sheriff who, as
friend of the host President Idris Deby, had
traveled ahead to Chad to receive Jonathan as part
of President Deby’s welcome entourage.  What,
however does this say of any president? How
come it that a suspected affiliate of a deadly
criminal gang, publicly under such ominous cloud,
had the confidence to smuggle himself into the
welcoming committee of another nation, and even
appear in audience, to all appearance a co-host
with the president of that nation? Where does the
confidence arise in him that Jonathan would not
snub him openly or, after the initial shock, pull his
counterpart, his official host aside and say to him,
“Listen, it’s him, or me.”? So impunity now
transcends boundaries, no matter how heinous the
alleged offence?
The Nigerian president however appeared totally
at ease. What the nation witnessed in the photo-op
was an affirmation of a governance principle, the
revelation of a decided frame of mind – with
precedents galore. Goodluck Jonathan has
brought back into limelight more political
reprobates – thus attested in criminal courts of
law and/or police investigations – than any other
Head of State since the nation’s independence. It
has become a reflex. Those who stuck up the
obscene banner in Abuja had accurately read
Jonathan right as a Bring-back president. They
have deduced perhaps that he sees “bringing
back” as a virtue, even an ideology, as the corner
stone of governance, irrespective of what is being
brought back. No one quarrels about bringing back
whatever the nation once had and now sorely
needs – for instance, electricity and other elusive
items like security, the rule of law etc. etc. The list
is interminable. The nature of what is being
brought back is thus what raises the disquieting
questions. It is time to ask the question: if Ebola
were to be eradicated tomorrow, would this
government attempt to bring it back?
Well, while awaiting the Chibok girls, and in that
very connection, there is at least an individual
whom the nation needs to bring back, and urgently.
His name is Stephen Davis, the erstwhile
negotiator in the oft aborted efforts to actually
bring back the girls.  Nigeria needs him back – no,
not back to the physical nation space itself, but to
a Nigerian induced forum, convoked anywhere that
will guarantee his safety and can bring others to
join him. I know Stephen Davis, I worked in the
background with him during efforts to resolve the
insurrection in the Delta region under President
Shehu Yar’Adua. I have not been involved in his
recent labours for a number of reasons. The most
basic is that my threshold for confronting evil
across a table is not as high as his –  thanks,
perhaps, to his priestly calling. From the very
outset, in several lectures and other public
statements, I have advocated one response and
one response only to the earliest, still putative
depredations of Boko Haram and have decried any
proceeding that smacked of appeasement. There
was a time to act – several times when firm,
decisive action, was indicated. There are certain
steps which, when taken, place an aggressor
beyond the pale of humanity, when we must learn
to accept that not all who walk on two legs belong
to the community of humans – I view Boko Haram
in that light. It is no comfort to watch events
demonstrate again and again that one is proved to
be right.
Thus, it would be inaccurate to say that I have
been detached from the Boko Haram affliction –
very much the contrary. As I revealed in earlier
statements, I have interacted with the late National
Security Adviser, General Azazi, on occasion –
among others.  I am therefore compelled to warn
that anything that Stephen Davis claims to have
uncovered cannot be dismissed out of hand.  It
cannot be wished away by foul-mouthed abuse
and cheap attempts to impugn his integrity – that
is an absolute waste of time and effort. Of the
complicity of ex-Governor Sheriff in the parturition
of Boko Haram, I have no doubt whatsoever, and I
believe that the evidence is overwhelming. Femi
Falana can safely assume that he has my full
backing – and that of a number of civic
organizations – if he is compelled to go ahead and
invoke the legal recourses available to him to
force Sheriff’s prosecution. The evidence in
possession of Security Agencies – plus a number
of diplomats in Nigeria – is overwhelming, and all
that is left is to let the man face criminal
persecution. It is certain he will also take many
others down with him.
Regarding General Ihejirika, I have my own
theories regarding how he may have come under
Stephen Davis’ searchlight in the first place,
ending up on his list of the inculpated. All I shall
propose at this stage is that an international panel
be set up to examine all allegations, irrespective of
status or office of any accused. The unleashing of
a viperous cult like Boko Haram on peaceful
citizens qualifies as a crime against humanity, and
deserves that very dimension in its resolution. If a
people must survive, the reign of impunity must
end. Truth – in all available detail – is in the
interest, not only of Nigeria, the sub-region and
the continent, but of the international community
whose aid we so belatedly moved to seek. From
very early beginnings, we warned against the
mouthing of empty pride to stem a tide that was
assuredly moving to inundate the nation but were
dismissed as alarmists. We warned that the nation
had moved into a state of war, and that its people
must be mobilized accordingly – the warnings
were disregarded, even as slaughter surmounted
slaughter, entire communities wiped out, and the
battle began to strike into the very heart of
governance, but all we obtained in return was
moaning, whining and hand-wringing up and down
the rungs of leadership and governance. But
enough of recriminations – at least for now. Later,
there must be full accounting.
Finally, Stephen Davis also mentions a Boko
Haram financier within the Nigerian Central Bank.
Independently we are able to give backing to that
claim, even to the extent of naming the individual.
In the process of our enquiries, we solicited the
help of a foreign embassy whose government, we
learnt, was actually on the same trail, thanks to its
independent investigation into some money
laundering that involved the Central Bank. That
name, we confidently learnt, has also been passed
on to President Jonathan. When he is ready to
abandon his accommodating policy towards the
implicated, even the criminalized, an attitude that
owes so much to re-election desperation, when he
moves from a passive “letting the law to take its
course” to galvanizing the law to take its course,
we shall gladly supply that name.
In the meantime however, as we twiddle our
thumbs, wondering when and how this nightmare
will end, and time rapidly runs out, I have only one
admonition for the man to whom so much has
been given, but who is now caught in the
depressing spiral of diminishing returns: “Bring
Back Our Honour.”
Wole Soyinka

He had a lot to say.
Culled from lindaikeji.blogspot.com

Oyekan Oluwaseun O

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