Prof Wole Soyinka has urged Nigerians to emulate Nelson Mandela and forgive the president-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, for the wrongs he committed during his past iron-fisted military regime.
The Nobel laureate, according to The Nation, said there are times when people need to put the past aside most especially when dwelling on the past could jeopardize future prospects.
Soyinka who gave this admonition during an interview on Bloomberg TV Africa on April 1, Wednesday said: “I criticised him for certain acts during his stint as a military dictator”.
“But I also insist that it’s about time we try our best to be mini-Mandelas, to learn there’s a moment when we must put the past aside.”
Soyinka noted that: "By voting in Buhari, a 72-year-old Muslim, who has described himself as a “converted democrat,” Nigerians have shown an ability to look past his earlier misdeeds.
“There’s a moment when we must put the past aside, most especially when what presumes to the present becomes intolerable and continues and threatens to prolong itself, then we have to be more pragmatic.” he added.
Responding to claims that there was nothing substantially different between the PDP and its rival because members of the ruling party defected to the APC, Soyinka said: “Neither party is filled with angels, there are corrupt figures on both sides.”
On the rare sportsmanship displayed by President Jonathan, who conceded defeat, Soyinka said: “He could have easily tried to do a Gbagbo.”
He was referring to Laurent Gbagbo, who sparked post-election violence in Ivory Coast when he refused to step down after an election defeat in 2010.
Prof Wole Soyinka has also commended Nigerians for the way the nation conducted itself during the presidential poll. He gave this commendation when he spoke with the BBC about the results of the presidential election and their meaning for Nigeria.