Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has said President Muhammadu Buhari will become a total failure if by the end of July, his government fails to stop the rampaging killer herdsmen and return displaced persons to their homes.
Soyinka made the remark at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife during the inauguration of the 2018 OAU Ife Festival of Foods and Identity.
He said most of the victims of the herdsmen and Boko Haram crises were farmers, and warning that their displacement would jeopardise the nation’s food security.
He said, “Our mission in life is to beat the sword into ploughshare. This means that machetes, hoes, the instruments of cultivation, planting, and creating sustenance we must fashion out of the instruments of destruction; we must overcome the instruments of destruction.
“And my message to all those who are concerned is that between the launching of this logo and festival today and the outward manifestation of the festival itself (end of July), we should have seen signs that this battle between the sword and the ploughshare is reversed.”
He argued that transforming the instruments of war and destruction into instruments of production and creativity would give Nigerians fulfilment as a people of culture and peace and harmony.
“ Between the annunciation of this festival and the manifestation of the festival itself, we want to see from this government a reversal of a seeming triumph of the gun; and if that has not taken place, let us not lie to ourselves, it means we have no government.
“If those who had been displaced, the farmers who have been displaced in their hundreds from various parts of this nation, especially the North, if those farmers have not been taken back and restored to their productive environment, then it means we have no government. Let us all join hands to beat the sword, the guns into ploughshares.”
The Vice-Chancellor of OAU, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, said the festival came at the right time to showcase to Nigerians and Africans the rich varieties of Nigerian foods.
The VC said, “Over the ages, food and indemnity are virtual synonyms – you are what you eat. All over the world, indigenous foods and prepared dishes share some similarities such as method of preparation, which include frying, steaming, baking and grilling.
“There is a pervading African attitude to food and hospitality that is almost identical in most parts of Africa. For instance, it is uncommon for Africans to prepare, eat without thinking of visitors, strangers and the less privileged, who might show up in the home without prior notice.”
Ogunbode also said that OAU would ensure that the building Soyinka lived in why he was on the campus would be turned into a tourist centre.
The Director of the Institute of Cultural Studies, Dr. Felix Omidire, said, “The OAU Ife Festival of Food and Identity seeks to enshrine the place and memory of our indigenous food ways in the psyche of our youth.”