As Nigerians await the 2015 general elections to elect new leaders to run the affairs of the country at all levels of governance, Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has advised the citizenry on the type of leader to elect.
Speaking at the Ake Arts and Book Festival, an annual cultural event in his honour, which was held at the Cultural Centre, Kuto, Abeokuta in Ogun State from 18-22 November, 2014, Soyinka stated that Nigeria needs a non-corrupt leader at this point in her national history.
He said: “Nigeria needs a leader who is indifferent to material acquisition; one who is not ashamed of admitting his mistakes and has humility."
The Nobel Laureate also condemned the air of right of incumbency which pervades Nigeria’s political sphere and the misuse of power which, he said, has entrenched “new patterns of inequality and injustice.’’
While chronicling the socio-political events in Nigeria before and after independence, the celebrated writer observed that Nigeria still grapples with impunity and corruption just as it did under the military rule.
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Having compared what happened in post-Apartheid South Africa and the state of affairs in post-Biafran period in Nigeria, Soyinka remarked that Nigeria has not moved beyond that tumultuous event because the nation has not confronted some truths about her nationhood.
He charged Nigerians not to seek for perfection but sincerity in leadership.
Soyinka also paid tributes to Late Justice Kayode Esho, describing him as an incorruptible judge who did not succumb to pressure to subvert the course of justice.
He also eulogised great academics such as late economist, Prof. Ojetunji Aboyade whom he described as “an unusual Vice Chancellor” that contributed to nation building.
It would be recalled that the Lion and the Jewel author had recently in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, described Nigeria as a nation living under a cloud of shame, embarrassment and feeling of dereliction.
Soyinka, who was honoured with Doctor of Letters honorary degree at the University of Ibadan, also added that the Boko Haram sect was successfully taking over Nigeria because of the incompetence of the government and lack of genuine leadership.