Professor Wole Soyinka who turned 82 a few days ago, has made his position about the Biafran cause known. Without mincing words, he stated that he was very much pro-Biafra and went ahead to explained why he supports the struggle of the Igbo people for a Biafran nation.
The Nobel Laureate, while speaking to Al Jazeera, yesterday, Thursday, July 14, said the Igbo people have been so wronged that they have no choice than to consider opting out of Nigeria. His words:
“I am very much pro-Biafra because I recognise that the Igbo have been wronged desperately. They have been brutalised in a way that justifies their feeling that they were not part of the nation.
“Let me also say this, Biafrans are not entirely innocent in this affair. They were not, but the unleashing of such venom, such devastation on them as a people, was sufficient to justify their decision not to be part of the nation. I was pro-Biafran in the sense that I felt that they needed justice.”
Following accusations that he was a troublemaker, especially in the Biafran crisis, Soyinka denied it adding that:
“I grew up in certain circumstances being very conscious politically, in this very Abeokuta; my mother was involved in the politics, my aunt, Mrs. Funmilayo Ransome Kuti was a leader…
“I grew up among political arguments on issues that concern humanity and I find that basically gravitated towards recognising the basic worth of human beings.
“Something I disagree when they call me a patriot because I don’t agitate on some certain entity called a nation; I agitate on humanity.”
He further condemned the removal of History and teaching of the Biafran crisis in schools saying:
“Officials do not want to confront their own history, especially the history in the making of which they feel uncomfortable but, if you do not confront your past, you are going to mess up your future.”
Talking about Boko Haram and the split-up of Nigeria, he said ironically, Boko Haram might be part of the reasons Nigeria may stay together.