2019 election most depressing ― Soyinka

NOBEL laureate, Wole Soyinka has described the 2019 election as the most depressing ever where it was impossible for him to make a choice between President Muhammadu Buhari and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

Soyinka who spoke while featuring on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Hard talk programme on Monday anchored by Zainab Badawi, said Nigerians once again had a difficult choice to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea.

On why he supported Buhari in 2015 and described him as a born again democrat, he said Buhari won by default because it was impossible for Nigerians to support former President Goodluck Jonathan for another term.

He, however, scored Buhari high on corruption fight evident in the trial of many bankers, legislators, former governors.

Similarly, Soyinka praised Buhari’s efforts at curbing insecurity, especially the issue of Boko Haram, though he decried his slow response to farmers/herdsmen clashes.

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“The 2019 election was one of the most depressing elections we have been through. It was impossible for me to make a choice for the simple reason that the two candidates were not… They both had histories, one immediate; one past, which made one look for alternatives.

“General Buhari really didn’t win the first election, he won by default. It was impossible to continue with Jonathan in 2015. And I did use the expression that he was a born again democrat even though he is a military man. When somebody competes in election four times and persists, he must believe in democracy,” Soyinka said.
He averred that the nation required youths with fresh and good vision to analyse problems of the nation not contend with old ideas.

Soyinka bemoaned the fact that some young people were even worse than current leaders and would contend the nation’s woes if allowed to assume power.
He lamented the failure of young people to come up with a consensus candidate in the last election owing to the fact that certain fogies hijacked the movement, making those strives futile.

Noting that Nigeria boasted of a rich young population, Soyinka said it was high time the youths utilise their rich potentials to bring about the needed leadership.
“I want us to define the youth very carefully. There are some young people that will still compound or worst than the rulers. Am talking about those youth with fresh and good vision. Am talking about those who felt ashamed of what Nigeria is today. Those who have travelled the world a bit and seen how things are done and achieved in other countries. And analyse the problems of Nigeria, not content to the old ideas. Am talking about those youths that will get their priority right.

“When we started encouraging young people to come out. There was one person spearheading that movement and they could have come up with a consensus candidate. But they eventually failed. But the question is, why and how are the fogies hijacked the movement. It was because he wanted to be at the head.

“Let me give you an exception. There was a candidate in the North state. He rode bicycles campaigning. He wants the door to door campaigning. Also, there is a man called President Lula in Brazil. He talked to his people on what he is going to do. He went on, on and on. And he eventually became the President. So, if that can happen in Brazil, why can’t it happen in Nigeria.

“Democracy is a continuous process. If the current dispensation is working, I have no problem with that,” Soyinka said.

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