Nobel laureate and foremost human rights’ activist, Professor Wole Soyinka, has said Nigerians including himself, should be held responsible for the level of impunity in the country.
He said as a people, Nigerians permitted impunity in the country and did not take to the streets as much as needed.
According to him, everybody in Nigeria is paying for the consequences of impunity because it was permitted.
Soyinka spoke during a brief speech at the 24th edition of the Wole Soyinka Lecture Series organised by the National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) and held via zoom.
It was themed, “National Conference Against Impunity.”
He said, “I am absolutely certain that we would agree that one of the major reasons for the dilemma we are undergoing in this country right now is that we permitted, we nurtured, we even encouraged either by actions or inactions, the mindset of impunity both in leadership and among the people.
“We ourselves are equally guilty. We ourselves allowed it. We watched it happen. We didn’t take to the streets to protest it, to denounce it, to warn of the consequences. Oh yes, there were warnings here and there but they were not concerted and structured.”
He however said it is not too late to reverse the trend noting that it has to begin with ” a frank, honest and objective dialogue”
The keynote speaker, Prof Patrick Lumumba in his paper lambasted Nigerian and African leaders for their underachievement.
He pointedly expressed disappointment that Nigeria which had promising future was now at the lower rungs of development courtesy of bad leadership.
According to him rather than be enraged by impunity, Nigerians and Africans have rewarded corrupt leaders with re-election.
“It is pertinent to ask why Nigeria which had such great promise continues to wallow in the lower rungs of human development. Why are Africans and Nigerians silent in the face of impunity? Why in the words of Wole Soyinka has the man in us died,” Lumumba said.
According to him the people should hold themselves responsible for refusing to act and being part of the misfortune that has befallen the country.
“Despite the impunity by our public office holders, by some miracle, we are not enraged! It would also seem that we have lost the gift of disgust. Why is this so, who cursed us?
“We are the co-authors of our own misfortune because we have lost our values and now resort to religion. We now choose to apply faith instead of logic, elevating the principle of ‘Donothingnism’. We have created leaders who have arrogated to themselves the monopoly of wisdom and the country is now run in a narrow and primordial fashion,” he added.