Don’t Permit Boko Haram To Thrive, Soyinka Charges FG

In an emotion laden voice, the Nobel laureate, Professor Wole
Soyinka, on Saturday lamented that the abducted Chibok schoolgirls were
still in captivity.

Soyinka who wondered whether the abductors of the over 200
schoolgirls were from this planet, charged the Nigerian government not
to permit the enemies of knowledge(education) to thrive.
He lamented
the agony, humiliation and trauma of the abducted Chibok girls in the
hands of their captors,saying that he was always sad whenever he relived
the imagination of the experience the girls would be going through.

Delivering the third convocation lecture of the Kwara State
University(KWASU), Malete, the scholar declared that ” enemies of
knowledge should not be permitted to thrive”.

While stressing the urgent need to secure the release of the
innocent girls, Soyinka quoted an inscription he saw at a point while
entering Ilorin on Friday which says ” no woman, no nation”.
He
urged the Nigerian government to do more to end pervasive insecurity in
the country occasioned by Boko Haram sect, warning that temple of
learning mighty soon be eroded.

He cautioned Nigerians against viewing the sufferings, brutality and
terror and insurgency being witnessed by some states in the northern
parts of the country as their problems alone.
He expressed the fear that looking at insurgency as problem of a section of the country could cause spread of the hazards.

He made an example of having an open university in some universities
where there are less security problems, for displaced students in the
troubled states of the country.

He also emphasised that the temple of learning must be protected irrespective of gender or religion.
Soyinka, in a lecture titled, Science and Imagination in Temple of
Knowledge, asked rhetorically, ‘can science and religion co-exist?’, and
described members of Boko Haram sect as enemies of sound knowledge.
He said members of Boko Haram are not actually without any knowledge,
since they knew the science of making bomb and killing people, adding
that they had failed to acquire knowledge on human co-existence.
He
also decried agony, humiliation and trauma of the abducted Chibok girls
in the hands of their captors, as they embarked on their secondary
school qualifying examination, saying that he was always sad whenever he
relived the imagination of experience the girls would be going through,
described the situation as irony.
In his speech, the chancellor of
KWASU, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, warned that education sector in the
country was in dire straits, due to constraints of funds.
“Basic
infrastructural, teaching and learning facilities are pathetically
lacking in most areas of academic pursuits in our universities which has
painfully led to the ‘half baked graduates’ syndrome”, he said.

He appealed to Nigerians, organisations staff, and stakeholders who
are financially blessed to pick up the gauntlet and invest in university
education, saying “we cannot afford to leave the funding of university
education to governments alone because relying solely on subventions
from the government alone will only exacerbate the already dismal state
of the sector.

He urged the Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to tackle the current
socio-economic challenges “such as high poverty level, huge youth
unemployment, persistent power blackout despite huge amounts of money
invested, the challenge of insecurity, especially the scourge of Boko
Haram and the perennial disconnect between the citizen and the
government that has inevitably led to high levels of distrust of the
leaders by the rest of the citizens.

“Indeed the broken ‘socio- contract between the rulers and the ruled
must be fixed. The government should as a matter of priority open and
strengthen communications between government and citizens. Trust
building between the government and the citizens would make the people
feel carried along in the business of governance”, he said.

On the 2015 elections, Gambari described the aftermath as rebirth of democracy in the country.
“Nigeria now has a new opportunity to deepen its democracy and deliver
its dividends such as quality social services, including especially
education and health, prosperity and security of life and property”, he
said.

He also said that change slogan of President Buhari should not
remain so, adding that government must prepare to deliver on campaign
promises.

He thus solicited the support of Nigerians for the new
administration, saying that it can only succeed with people’s support,
adding that people must give that support while insisting on a permanent
end to impunity and zero-tolerance for official corruption.

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