Aso Rock: Buhari should be in charge not Gambari – Soyinka

Playwright, Prof Wole Soyinka, has said the country’s administration should be the duty of the President Muhammadu Buhari and not that of the new Chief of Staff, Prof lbrahim Gambari.

Soyinka, who noted that Gambari wouldn’t make any difference, spoke during an interview programme titled, One-On-One, aired on Plus TV Africa.

The elder statesman stated that he read the excitement over the appointment of Gambari as replacement for the late ex-Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, and something struck him about it.

He added, “First of all, we should not even be discussing “who is the the CoS?”, because he is not an elected person but because of the twisted way this government has patterned governance, a wrong pattern of governance where everybody, without contradiction, has said we had a prime minister. Only his name was the CoS.

“And then you have others who now weigh in the merits and the potential of the new CoS and they now try to measure the hopes, the possibilities of restructuring on account of CoS whom we should not even see or know about. I read something by Balarabe Musa. There, he was surprisingly making excuses in advance for the failure of the new CoS, as if it’s the CoS we should be looking at, and when I say making excuses, he was praising Gambari to the skies.

“The question: is will he be allowed to function?  When I read that, I said really, we’re finished. Gambari is part of the whole brigade. I know Gambari very well, he’s a friend of mine, I know the family, I love the family and so on. But I know Gambari, he’s part of the structure.

“Gambari was an Abacha man which means that he has Abacha status quo mentality. Let’s put it that way. Gambari is not going to make any difference here, he is just going to make sure that he’s looking after his portfolio over there.  So why are we looking in that direction for salvation in this country? I didn’t want to join in that debate because I want him to enjoy his stay. But I know Gambari, very, very well. And, let him do his work and leave him alone and don’t place any hope on his shoulders. In fact, you shouldn’t be looking in the direction of any Chief of Staff. The man who’s in charge is Buhari. The bulk stops there.’’

Speaking about the letter of an ex-military governor of Kaduna State, Col. Abubakar Umar (retd), to Buhari titled, “Your skewed appointment will ruin Nigeria,’’  the Nobel laureate said his first reaction was thank goodness for people like Umar. He said Umar has a tendency to hit the nail hard and go to the point factually without self-interest.

Soyinka stated, “I came into the story many years ago and I’m going to share that story with you. That is where my mind went straight away and it took place at the Gateway Hotel, Ogun State, when a young man brought Gani Adams to meet me. We arranged to meet shortly after my return from Abacha political sabbatical. He was anxious but a quick meet with Gani Adams and we met. This young man worked in the petroleum sector. I never met the two of them before and he worked in the petroleum sector and he told me a story, explaining why he had become such a passionate Oduduwa congressman.

“And he said that when Jubril Aminu, I think it was petroleum sector at the time, he said when he took over, he called him, he was working there, he called him and said he wanted a list of all the top civil servants, the top officials there and he said he particularly wanted him to single out the Yoruba, to mark them foreign. And he said why? He said well, too many of them around here and I’m going to take action about that. Thank goodness, Gani Adams is still alive and I can’t remember how much of that particular part of the conversation he took verbatim. And this young man said to me, he said I felt so insulted, he said because he knows I’m a Yoruba man.’’

The essayist further said lop-sidedness existed and that people came to him with all kinds of documented evidence of greed, adding, “Because for me, it’s an insult when you have that level and this is what I call ‘massacre.’

Commenting on the raping and killing of a university student in Edo State and the rising rape cases in Nigeria, the playwright said there was a degeneration of human sensibilities, concern and care.

He said, “I was involved in a rape case in Abeokuta recently, which I became interested and handed over the details to some of my collaborators to pursue. You know the greatest difficulty they had, the parents first of all of the violators later joined by the parent of the violated to start pleading, this is a minor, who is raped ,have the photographs, and then the family then come, let us solve this, I mean what has happened to us, that we are not capable of pushing that child out and saying go and take your medicine you have ruined a life of this young individual, you traumatised that person for life and you come, get out of my house.’’ – Punch.

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