A Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, has faulted the arguments of certain Nigerians on the sacrosanct nature of the country’s unity, insisting that the unity of Nigeria is negotiable.
Soyinka, who stated this in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State on Friday, disagreed with those opposed to restructuring.
The literary giant added that though he was not in support of the country breaking up, the people have the right to negotiate their future.
He said, “We must stop confusing and mixing up the argument, we are mixing up the argument. It is very unfortunate for our leaders to say that the question of breaking up or not breaking up should not have arisen in the first place.
“It all sounds hypocritical, dogmatic and dictatorial. The statement is the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable, now that to me, is a false.
“Anything is negotiable, the right for people to determine their future is what is non-negotiable. Most nations came to being through negotiation.
“Sometimes, when people say negotiate, what they really mean is restructuring. What the question should be: should Nigeria break up? My answer to that is no, but please don’t tell me that Nigeria, as it stands is non-negotiable. For me, this is a fallacy.
“The nation has got to be negotiated, negotiation includes ensuring that there is no marginalisation. Negotiation means control of resources, negotiation has to do with restructuring a nation in a way that the components and constituents are not feeding an overbloated centre to the detriment of their development.
On the way forward to resolve the national questions, Soyinka said that sacrifice should be the watchword.
He said, “The language we should use is what are you willing to sacrifice? What efforts are you willing to make to ensure Nigeria remains intact? That is the question.”
Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson in his comment at the occasion, said while the unity of Nigeria is desirable and negotiable, aggrieved nationalities should sit down and dialogue.
He said, “Nigeria’s unity is negotiable and desirable. The answer on whether to break up is no. There is a desire to stay as one. Ask questions about what is happening, there are several things to negotiate.
“If we can control our resources, we will do more for our people. All we need to do, is to talk about about existence, our living together. Let’s sit down and talk.”
Former Head of State, Gen Yakubu Gowon, had earlier inaugurated some projects in the state, including the Ijaw National Academy, Kaima.
The projects are Yenagoa’s first flyover bridge on Isaac Boro expressway, Transparency building, Oxbow Lake, The Bayelsa Drug Mart, the Bayelsa Diagnostic Center and the Bayelsa International Cargo Airport.