I Never Linked Herdsmen Crisis To Erosion Of Buhari’s Achievements – Soyinka

Professor Wole Soyinka, Nigeria’s Nobel laureate, has denied comments attributed to him in a national newspaper, concerning the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

In a full rejoinder made available to journalists on Tuesday, July 16, the Nobel laureate denied ever uttering words attributed to him by the newspaper, which cited the herdsmen crisis as the reason for the “erosion of Buhari’s achievements,” Leadership reports.

We note that the newspaper reported that Soyinka had stated that the president’s failure to resolve the herdsmen crisis had eroded the achievements of his administration.

Soyinka, in his rejoinder, however, stated: “Re: Misrepresentation of Statement by The Nation’s Reporter. I denounce, in very strong terms, the report in The Nation of July 15, 2019, regarding my exchange with school pupils who visited me in Abeokuta, on Sunday, July 14, as part of the organized events on my 85th birthday.

“I am appalled that such a twisted and unprofessional account could be disseminated by a paper that has earned itself a high level of public regard, not only for its reporting, but for the galaxy of perceptive contributors on national affairs and other issues of public interest.

“It is a gross disservice to truth and conscience, and the pursuit of the journalistic profession as a whole.

“At no time did I utter the words attributed to me by that paper, which sought to cite the plague of violence by nomadic herdsmen for the “erosion of Buhari’s achievements”.

“Indeed, at no time in that exchange did the “achievements” of Nigeria’s current government – real or fictitious –come under consideration. The headlining is especially gratuitous, fictitious, and dishonest.”

Soyinka pointed out that during the exchange, a school pupil had requested his assessment of all past Nigerian governments.

The Nobel laureate explained that he began by warning the students that governance is a difficult undertaking, in order to enable them develop as objective, all-round critics, constantly aware of the context in which opinions should be formed.

He continued: “I went on to add that governing a complex nation space known as Nigeria is especially challenging. The Nation’s report has mischievously detached, then reattached that comment elsewhere in order to introduce achievements of his or her own conceiving.

“For good measure, comments on rampaging herdsmen were similarly displaced and relocated to provide Buhari’s government alibi for failures. This is crude, mind-boggling, propaganda, unworthy of any but suborned professionals.

“Such outrageous ploy is no different from the conduct of social media commentators – especially at election time –who, lacking the courage to propagate their personal opinions, impudently steal the identities of others – mine being a favorite — including pasted photographs, in order to participate in public discourse.

“It is sad to see this unprincipled conduct being adopted by the print media.”

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