Saturday, 1 March 2014
Why I Rejected The Centenary Awards' - Soyinka Opens Up
Professor Soyinka who was among the 100, rejected the award as the late Nigerian tyrant, General Sani Abacha and other known killers and looters of Nigeria’s treasury were also on the list.
In a rejection note headlined "The Canonisation of Terror", Soyinka observed that the inclusion of Abacha on the list does not only show a failure of a moral rigour but it calls into question "the entire ethical landscape into which this nation has been forced by insensate leadership".
According to Soyinka, Abacha's regime was known for assassinations, torture and other forms of barbarism. An elected president and his wife, M.K.O and Kudirat Abiola were snuffed out by Abacha as well as nine Nigerian citizens, including the writer and environmentalist Ken Saro-Wiwa, were hanged after a trial that was stomach churning.
"We are speaking here of a man who placed this nation under siege during an unrelenting reign of terror that is barely different from the current rampage of Boko Haram. It is this very psychopath that was recently canonised by the government of Goodluck Jonathan in commemoration of one hundred years of Nigerian trauma.
"What the government of Goodluck Jonathan has done is to scoop up a century’s accumulated degeneracy in one pre-eminent symbol, then place it on a podium for the nation to admire, emulate and even–worship."
"There is a deplorable message for coming generations in this governance aberration that the entire world has been summoned to witness and indeed to celebrate. The insertion of an embodiment of governance of terror into the company of committed democrats, professionals, humanists and human rights advocates in their own right, is a sordid effort to grant a certificate of health to a communicable disease that common sense demands should be isolated. It is a confidence trick that speaks volumes of the perpetrators of such a fraud," Soyinka said.