According to Soyinka, Nigeria would not have survived four more years of former president Goodluck Jonathan’s rule.
The Punch reports that the professor expressed his opinion during a programme titled “Channels Book Club” on Channels Television on Tuesday, December 8.
Soyinka confessed that he used to have a bad impression of Buhari and even recalled that once he described the president as a “devil for whom in my calculation, no spoon existed long enough to justify the risk even of an impromptu snack.”
However, during the general election in the country the Nigerian playwright weighed up the two presidential candidates and concluded that the nation had a better chance under Buhari.
“We were left with two credible contestants in terms of catchment area for the nation. We had reached, in my view, the bottom. I became convinced that if this country underwent four more years under President Jonathan, the country would run aground completely. I looked at the record and said this cannot go on, this has to stop.
“Then I looked at this man who had contested elections three times before and said he would not contest anymore and then decided to throw his hat in the ring. I talked to people and I said do you know what you’re doing?
“And after weighing all the options, I said let’s try a new one. And since in electoral terms, he was the one, I guardedly, with reservations, announced that no, not a continuation under Jonathan.
“And so very reluctantly, I want this on record, because I made it quite clear, I weighed the two of them and I said this nation stands a better chance under Buhari. And what has been coming out now? Look at all that has been coming out? Look at the figures (loot) which virtually hammer one into the ground just the sheer enormity of the robbery of this nation that is getting exposed progressively. It shows that we did not make a bad choice,” he said.
Soyinka confessed that he was not totally satisfied with Buhari’s six months in office, but noted that the president has proven that there is such a thing as a born again democrat.
Speaking on the agitation in the southeast, the professor noted that it will never go away as Biafra is an idea and ideas could not be killed.
“I remember I wrote an article during the war and I said at that time that Biafra cannot be defeated. People misunderstood what I was saying. I said once an idea has taken hold, you cannot destroy that idea. You may destroy the people that carry the idea on the battlefield, but, ultimately, it is not the end of the story,” he said.
According to The Sun, Soyinka advised the federal government to convoke a fresh National Conference which would address the feelings of pro-Biafran elements.
“So, let us sit down, let us talk once again about restructuring the nation in a way that no one will want to leave. The agitations, for me, are not surprising. It was expected that it would happen sooner or later.
“So, I am referring to a genuine and authentic National Conference. Not like the one that former President Olusegun Obasanjo called which was meant to try to perpetuate himself in office.
“The one under Jonathan was extensive; it covered lots and lots of ground. It proposed some far-reaching changes, not far-reaching for me, but far-reaching. It is about time we went back to efforts like that; genuine ones like that,” he concluded.