by John Alechenu and Leke Baiyewu
Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, on Saturday lambasted President Goodluck Jonathan for embracing corrupt politicians and failing to prosecute the sponsors and members of Boko Haram.
Soyinka stated that he had no doubt about the Boko Haram sponsorship allegation against a former Governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sheriff, by an Australian negotiator, Stephen Davis.
He expressed his resolve to back a human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), to seek Sheriff’s prosecution, saying security agencies had enough evidence to prosecute the ex-governor.
The Nobel Laureate said if Sheriff was prosecuted, “it is certain he will also take many others down with him.”
In a statement entitled, ‘The wages of inpunity’ made available to the media on Saturday, Soyinka challenged Jonathan to investigate the claims that Davis made about Boko Haram and its sponsors.
He said, “I am, therefore, compelled to warn that anything that Stephen Davis claims to have uncovered cannot be dismissed. It cannot be wished away by foul-mouthed abuse and cheap attempts to impugn his integrity — that is an absolute waste of time and effort.
“Of the complicity of ex-Governor Sheriff in the parturition of Boko Haram, I have no doubt whatsoever, and I believe that the evidence is overwhelming. Femi Falana can safely assume that he has my full backing — and that of a number of civic organisations — if he is compelled to go ahead and invoke the legal recourses available to him to force Sheriff’s prosecution.
“The evidence in possession of security agencies — plus a number of diplomats in Nigeria — is overwhelming, and all that is left is to let the man face criminal persecution. It is certain he will also take many others down with him.”
The literary icon also alleged that the name of a top Central Bank of Nigeria official who has major links with the sect had been forwarded to President Jonathan.
He said, “In the process of our enquiries, we solicited the help of a foreign embassy whose government, we learnt, was actually on the same trail; thanks to its independent investigation into some money laundering that involved the Central Bank.
“That name, we confidently learnt, has also been passed on to President Jonathan. When he is ready to abandon his accommodating policy towards the implicated, even the criminalised, an attitude that owes so much to re-election desperation, when he moves from a passive ‘letting the law to take its course’ to galvanising the law to take its course, we shall gladly supply that name.”
Concerning Davis’ allegation that a former Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, is a sponsor of the sect, Soyinka proposed that an international panel be set up to examine “all allegations, irrespective of status or office of any accused.”
The professor also condemned the #BringBackJonathan2015 electoral campaign, a clone of the campaign of the #BringBackOurGirls global campaign for the release of the schoolgirls
Soyinka said, “Goodluck Jonathan has brought back into limelight more political reprobates — thus attested in criminal courts of law and/or police investigations — than any other Head of State since the nation’s independence.”
He berated the Presidency for turning the case of the over 200 abducted Chibok girls into a stand-up comic material.
“Spurred by electoral desperation, a bunch of self-seeking morons and sycophants chose to plumb the abyss of self-degradation and drag the nation down to their level.
“It took us to a hitherto unprecedented low in ethical degeneration,” Soyinka stated.
The famous author stated that while Jonathan had since disowned all knowledge or complicity in the political campaign, “the damage has been done, the rot in a nation’s collective soul bared to the world.”
Soyinka proposed that Davis should be invited to a roundtable for further talks.
The professor, who backed the Australian’s investigations, claimed to have worked with him when the late President Shehu Yar’Adua was making efforts to resolve the insurrection in the Niger Delta.
Soyinka said, “While awaiting the Chibok girls, and in that very connection, there is at least an individual whom the nation needs to bring back, and urgently. His name is Stephen Davis, the erstwhile negotiator in the oft aborted efforts to actually bring back the girls.
“Nigeria needs him back — no, not back to the physical nation space itself, but to a Nigerian induced forum, convoked anywhere that will guarantee his safety and can bring others to join him.”
The Nobel Laureate lamented that several alarms previously raised on the activities of Boko Haram had been ignored, while stating that stiffer actions should have been taken against the sect.
He further criticised Jonathan for attending a meeting with the Chadian President, Idris Deby, in company with Sheriff.
He faulted the Presidency’s defence that Sheriff, as friend of the host President, had travelled ahead to Chad to receive Jonathan as part of Deby’s welcome entourage.
In his reaction on Saturday, Sheriff challenged Soyinka to make public whatever evidence he had linking him to the sect.
The ex-Borno governor also challenged the Nobel Laureate and those he claimed were privy to other shreds of evidence to go to court.
Speaking through the Commissioner of Information and Home Affairs under his administration, Mr. Inuwa Bwala, in a telephone interview with SUNDAY PUNCH, Sheriff said Soyinka was only entertaining Nigerians with his mastery of the English language.
He stated that Soyinka’s statement lacked any form of merit.
Sheriff said, “As the ‘cultist’ we know him (Soyinka) to be, being the founder of a confraternity for which the world is still waiting for answers from him, he is the least morally qualified to speak on the alleged involvement of any Nigerian in whatever crime.
“We challenge him to name this person he says he knows as a sponsor of Boko Haram in the Central Bank, if he is as patriotic as he claims to be. We also challenge him to prove to Nigerians that he is not the cultist we have always known him to be.
“No security agency anywhere or an individual who claims to have investigated this matter independently can dictate to Nigerians or our security personnel what to do about this Boko Haram menace. Therefore, this needless diversion is unwelcome.”
The Presidency was not available for comments on Saturday. Efforts to get the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, were not successful. He did not pick calls made to his telephone or reply the text message and electronic mail sent to him.