Posted by By Joseph Ushigiale on
Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka yesterday opened another chapter in the controversy trailing the search for the killers of late Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Bola Ige, as he said he now know the mastermind of the murder incident.
Soyinka who spoke as guest at the 10th anniversary celebration of Express Discount Limited in Lagos where he delivered a lecture titled "Discounting the Electorate" said he was determined to gradually ensuring that the individual who he did not name was brought to face the wrath of the law.
"We are gradually becoming even more assured of the identity of the mastermind. We do not proceed reashly however, and since we are naturally apprehensive of the contrary use to which any premature information can be put, we shall leave the courts to complete their task," he said.
Soyinka also disclosed that "we have commenced with all the resources at our disposal and within our human capabilities, the task of bringing this individual and any associates yet to be uncovered, to book. Our guiding principle is a simple one: Justice must not be discounted."
The professor said he "never did say that I knew who the brains were, only where they are located. They form a highly placed, extremely ruthless cabal within the ruling party."
Soyinka wwho took a critical view of the current happenings around the country and concluded that the recent failed attempt to forcefully remove from office Governor Chris Ngige of Anambra state as well as the unresolved Ige are clear indications that "we live in a lawless nation".
He noted that "owing to a number of fortuitious factors, unforeseen by Ngige's abductors, the governor would have joined the ranks of those who have been violently discounted from the living world".
He pointed out that the unfolding political events in Anambra state "transcends an issue of abduction, kidnapping, civilian coup. The crime that was committed by the godfather in that state was one of economic ineptitude, amounting almost to sabotage".
The playwright, in lamenting the negative influence money plays in the politics of the country, suggested a revolutionization of the electoral process to ensure that parties and not individuals stand for elections as is practised in other advanced democracies.
"There are countries where it is not the individual but the parties that contest against one another. I think we should begin to consider that approach to our electoral problems. The parties contest and the seats are then apportioned to them in ratio to the number of votes they have gathered," he stated.
Soyinka maintained that the process in which parties rather than individual contest for seats in elections, would eliminate the use of money to influence voters, reduce the burden of election expenses on individuals and eliminate the current practice where the electorate at the end bear the costs.
On the unresolved murder of the late Ige, he revealed that his relentless pursuit for justice which culminated in his publishing of an article recently entitled, "Dancing On Ige's Grave", has drawn the flak of people in exalted positions.
He said as a result of the publication, " I am accused of triviality and sensationalism", adding that his accusers went to the ludicrous extent of insinuating that his pronouncements on critical issues are attributable to his failure to obtain craved favours from the government as his daughter has also benefitted through a recent appointment.
He described such statements as "either careless or mischievous, in any case totally mindless and presumptuous. Such commentary constitutes a gratuitous act of public disinformation or deliberate manipulation, and redounds negatively to the professional integrity of the journal".
Soyinka said he is undeterred by such imputations insisting that " what we can confidently discuss, what we are duty bound to comment upon, if we cherish any social values that make us decent beings and members of the human community, is any form of conduct that impinges on our search for truth, and our respect for the memory of the slain. This makes a demand on the way that we respond to those who are involved, or accused of being involved in the crime, never mind what the ultimate outcome of the investigations or trial".
Delving further into Ige's murder, Soyinka observed that "we live in a nation where a Minister of Justice is assaulted in broad daylight, then his assailant is absorbed into the party that controls the very government he has been serving dutifully as Minister".
According to him, "his sponsors did not stop there. What is so special about the accused that he is not only sprung from gaol, not only sworn into office as a member of the highest legislative body in the land, but even made a chairman of a prestigious senate committee"?.
Soyinka rationalised that "even if Omisore has no criminal case to answer, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) does have a moral case to answer. And that moral question will persist until it has the courage to do this suspect what that body did to yet another senator during the last government - Senator Arthur Nzeribe, who was suspended for a far lesser crime, one of inappropriate conduct".
The professor of literature pointed out that Omisore's continued presence in the senate was an aberration, insisting that "the presence of Omisore in the hallowed halls of the senate is an embarrassment to that party, to all notions of equitable dealing, and to the nation".
He said the polity is fast relapsing into some form of complacency and a line of least resistance when faced with decisions that require the exertion of a moral will. "We are fast becoming a nation built on moral discounts, and it is this last, it appears, that has largely contributed to a questionable national character," he said.
He pointed out that the national character could have both negative and positive sides, adding that "it is the failure at critical times of the national character that bruises the collective psyche and may lead to an irreparable psychotic condition, manifesting itself in all acts of social anomie, a breakdown of law, norm and discipline".
He observed that " everyone has his or her watermark, the moment of an act or lack of it that defines and deforms a nation; that moment for me was not even when Bola Ige was murdered, but the ensuing moment that his accused killer, still under trial, took his seat in the senate House and was sworn into office".
According to him,"anyone who imagines that a discernible pattern of conduct, endorsing the doctrine of impunity, as manifested in Ige's tragic event, is not directly related to the on-going saga of Anambra that has brought this nation to ridicule,that event which some at first deemed a purely intra-party affair, should have a rethink".
On the recent ruling by Justice Wilson Egbo-Egbo of the Abuja High Court on the Anambra abduction saga, Soyinka predicted that the final outcome of the present "is yet unimaginable".
According to him,"we are witnessing the beginning of full scale anomie, the clash of the judiciary and the executive, not unprecedented admittedly, but one whose antecedence of organised thuggery and criminality by officers of law, empowered to keep order and peace, has made it a watershed experience in the history of this nation".