Soyinka Calls For Decentralisation Of Government To Maximise Development

Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka has called for decentralization of governance, saying it would allow governance to get closer to the people.

He made the call yesterday while delivering his speech at The Punch’s 50th anniversary lecture held at the Civic Centre, Ozumba Mbadiwe Road, Victoria Island, Lagos.

In his lecture titled: ‘Recovering the Narrative’, Soyinka warned that “the claws of marginalization” were taking a toll on the beauty of the nation’s unity.

He said rather than talk about restructuring, he preferred expressions like reconfiguration and decentralization which, according to him, everybody can grasp.

He said the country’s leaders recognized the necessity, importance and “almost the inevitability” of decentralisation until they get into power. Yes, that’s the difference.”

Soyinka said: “We tend to underestimate the issue of nation building and yet the test comes again and again, stressing our understanding of the measure, the entitlement of citizens in relation to governance”

According to him, decentralisation is necessary to maximise development.

We speak about food hunger because it is real but palliative is just a stopgap, they don’t reach to the heart of the problem.

“I believe it is time we learnt to stop the cycle of violence, especially through invoking the forces of violence which openly subjugate or in association with alien forces,” he added.

The Nobel Laureate asked leaders to stop taking Nigerians for a ride.

“It’s about time, I think, leaders stopped taking this nation for a ride, you know, we must decentralise. Security, you know, has become a burden to bear. From all corners of the nation, that is the crime.

“Decentralise so that the government can come closer to the people, and productivity can really be manifested as a product of citizens, not simply as a manna from heaven. That is the attitude obtained at the moment.

“I know the fear. The fear is collapse, break up. That’s been the excuse given by several regimes. But suppose the nation is breaking up informally, in other words, as a fact rather than as a theory. Then, you’d better just address this. Come straight on and see exactly what happened.

“What is wrong with general representatives seeing them and saying this is the protocol of our association, anything outside of it? Anyone who does not want to accept these protocols, abide by these protocols and manifest these protocols in the act should take a walk. I have no problem at all.”

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohamed Idris Malagi, had earlier stressed that the federal government was not resting on its oars to meet the yearnings of the people.

Culled from TheCable