Nobel Literature Laureate Wole Soyinka has said that the butchery being perpetrated by Boko Haram has caused Nigerians to come together more than ever, rather than to split apart.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Reuters correspondent, Tim Cocks, Soyinka said, “We have never been confronted with butchery on this scale, even during the civil war.”
“There were atrocities (during Biafra) but we never had such a near predictable level of carnage and this is what is horrifying.”
Soyinka who was imprisoned for two years in solitary confinement during the Biafra struggle by military leaders on charges of aiding Biafra said when asked that Nigeria would be less likely to split.
“I think ironically it’s less likely now,” Soyinka said. “For the first time, a sense of belonging is predominating. It’s either we stick together now or we break up, and we know it would be not in a pleasant way.”
“The (Boko Haram) forces that would like to see this nation break up are the very forces which will not be satisfied having their enclave,” he said. “(We) are confronted with an enemy that will never be satisfied with the space it has.”
He blamed Obasanjo for causing the crisis to escalate by not stopping Sharia in its tracks when it first reared its head.
“When the spectre of Sharia first came up, for political reasons, this was allowed to hold, instead of the president defending the constitution,” he said.
Soyinka sees both Christianity and Islam as foreign impositions.
“We cannot ignore the negative impact which both have had on African society,” he told Reuters. “They are imperialist forces: intervening, arrogant. Modern Africa has been distorted.”
He added that while the leadership of Boko Haram needed to be “decapitated completely”, little had been done to present an alternative ideological vision to their “deluded” followers, driven largely by economic destitution and despair.