Prof. Wole Soyinka, yesterday Saturday March 1st said he rejected the centenary award conferred on him by the Federal Government because late military dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha, was included in the list of awardees. His statement titled ‘The Canonisation of Terror,’ reads in part...
“Under that ruler, torture and other forms of barbarism were enthroned as the norm of governance. Nine Nigerian citizens, including the writer and environmentalist, Ken Saro-wiwa, were hanged after a trial that was stomach-churning even by the most primitive standards of judicial trial, and in defiance of the intervention of world leadership.
“We are speaking of a man who placed this nation under siege during an unrelenting reign of terror that is barely different from the current rampage of Boko Haram. It is this very psychopath that was recently canonised by the government of Goodluck Jonathan in commemoration of one hundred years of Nigerian trauma.”
"What the government of Goodluck Jonathan has done is to scoop up a century’s accumulated degeneracy in one preeminent symbol, then place it on a podium for the nation to admire, emulate and even – worship.
“Such abandonment of moral rigour comes full circle sooner or later. The survivors of a plague known as Boko Haram, students in a place of enlightenment and moral instruction, are taken to a place of healing dedicated to an individual contagion – a murderer and thief of no redeeming quality known as Sani Abacha, one whose plunder is still being pursued all over the world and recovered piecemeal by international consortiums – at the behest of this same government which sees fit to place him on the nation’s Roll of Honour!
“I can think of nothing more grotesque and derisive of the lifetime struggle of several on this list, and their selfless services to humanity. It all fits. In this nation of portent readers, the coincidence should not be too difficult to decipher. I reject my share of this national insult,”