Soyinka campaigned vigorously for Buhari in 2014 even
when he knew that Buhari is an unrepentant dictator# NBA must
condemn in strong terms Buhari dictatorial statement if they want
Nigerians to take them seriously.
Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has berated President
Muhammadu Buhari for saying that rule of law can be suspended
for the sake of national security.
Buhari had, at the opening of the 58th Annual General Conference
of the Nigerian Bar Association in Abuja on Sunday, said, “Rule of
Law must be subject to the supremacy of the nation’s security and
In a statement titled, ‘Buhari’s Pernicious Doctrine’, Soyinka said
he was thankful that Nigerians were being given an advance
warning of what is to come.
The Nobel laureate recalled that during his rule as a military
dictator, Buhari locked up journalists under the guise of ‘national
He said, “Here we go again! At his first coming, it was ‘I intend to
tamper with Freedom of the Press’, and Buhari did proceed to suit
action to the words, sending two journalists — Irabor and
Thompson — to prison as a reward for their professional integrity.
“Now, a vague, vaporous, but commodious concept dubbed
‘national interest’ is being trotted out as alibi for flouting the
decisions of the Nigerian judiciary. President Buhari has obviously
given deep thought to his travails under a military dictatorship, and
concluded that his incarceration was also in the ‘national interest’.
“The timing is perfect, and we have cause to be thankful for the
advance warning, since not all rulers actually make a declaration
of intent, but simply proceed to degrade the authority of the law as
part of the routine business of governance.”
Soyinka said he was happy that the ominous statement was made
in the presence of lawyers.
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He called on the NBA to make a sound reaction to Buhari’s
The playwright added, “We have been there before. It should be of
mere interest, not despondency that this latest proclamation of
dictatorial recidivism has also been made before an assembly of
officers of the law, the Nigerian Bar Association. We expect a
robust response from the NBA as part of its conclusions.”
While insisting that there was no short cut to democracy, Soyinka
said history had shown repeatedly that those who tamper with the
rule of law never end well.
He added, “There is no short cut to democracy. The history of law,
even where uncodified, is as old as humanity. Numerous rulers
have tried again and again to annul that institution. Sometimes,
they appear to succeed, but in the end, they pay heavy forfeit.
“So does society. The rule of law, however, outlasts all subverters,
however seemingly powerful. If the consequences for society in
defence of the rule of law were not so costly, any new attempt
would be merely banal and boring, hardly deserving of attention.
We know, historically, where it will all end.