“This country is at war” – Wole Soyinka

Perhaps it has been a long time coming; some ought to have said this long before now. Our leaders, perhaps, are not telling us the truth. Or don’t they see it too? And the citizens? We have also chosen to turn blind eyes to it. But it is there all around us! We do not need a seer to show it to us; Nigeria is at war!

Alas, Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has grabbed the bull by the horn. Speaking on Thursday at the presentation of Port Harcourt as the UNESCO World Book Capital for 2014, he said recent developments in Nigeria portray the country as a country at war, pointing out that Nigerians would cease to be human beings if they yield to evil forces.

Describing the current killings in parts of the country as an ongoing war between the forces of good and evil, Soyinka said, “I believe quite frankly this country is at war; the war is between the forces of darkness and the forces of light, the forces of intellect, the forces of rationality and the forces of atavism, retrograde thinking, the forces of hatred against humanism… I believe that if we surrender to these banal forces in our society, we cease to be human beings because we succumb completely to fear and it is the same message we must take to those in this nation, who believe that books are wrong.

“I don’t care whether they call themselves the final defenders of the pure road and the ultimate salvation or call themselves Boko Haram… Boko Haram and all organisations, all movements that wage war against books, against literacy, against education and enlightenment in any form have declared war, not on the state, but on humanity itself and in spite of such setbacks, in spite of such horrors, we have the responsibility to support and to sustain efforts such as being made by the Rainbow Club and allied societies and organisations.”

Condemning the murder of four students of the University of Port Harcourt and the Mubi killings, Soyinka noted that the forces of evil were out to wipe out any trace of enlightenment and creativity in the country. He then urged literary minds in the country not to see themselves as authors, writers and readers, but as part of a creative army against the forces that had come to extinct creativity.


  1. I concur with prof Soyinka in that a nation that wages war against education and enlightenment is at real war. My reason is that human beings learn daily and it is only the dead that stops learning. If Boko Haram continue to attack education it means they are attacking life,growth, development and illumination. But the question is would this continue to be the situation in our hard earn independent state?

  2. Hey! Mr. George, did i hear u kick against the fact that the country is @ war? Though, democracy demands as individual u air ur opinion as understood but sometimes, i think majority of us are still not getting things right here. Do u know that if not for divine intervention this country wouldn’t be where it is today? In a state where people still have freedom to run their daily deeds but with fear. It’s apparent n obvious that we are only living on his grace (GOD); as it stands now n nothing more. Look @ that comment; ‘u don’t need a seer to tell u that’. Pls!

  3. @george u shld hv listened to d prof. Firsthand…..its hz alwyz bin war my broda. The eternal battle betwn gud nd evil nd as to all dt tries to hinder d illumination nd beauty dat d freedom of self awareness nd enlightenment wich is so embedded in education…..it is nt jst d abilty to read nd write bt also os havin d right thinkin nd makin d most out of it…..no greater truth than is so said…..NIGERIA IS AT WAR!

  4. When Prof. Wole Soyinka said “Nigeria is at war”, he purposefully stated the obvious. Nigeria is at war. There is onging war in Nigeria between darkness and light, war between evil and good, war between ignorance and wisdom, war between illiteracy and education, war between poverty and wealth, war…, war…, war. While the Boko Harams are attacking Nigeria from the right flank causing great concern with its attendant loss of lives, properties and valuable security and socio-economic assets; flood (termed natural disaster) is advancing towards the center from the left flank claiming more lives and resources. Can’t you see the many faces of war ravaging Nigeria?

  5. Let all these idiots with their negativ-commentaries against Prof. Wole Soyinka, who have never seen nor live in a modern world go out and learn; then they will realise that they have been living in total-darkness since the so-called independence. When one is only used to a system and never see a better system to compare with, automatically; he will believe that the system he knows since he was born is the best one. Go to the Republic of Bénin near you, you will see that things are better despite the fact, that they do not have petroleum like nigeria. If you do not go out nor hear about other countries, you will still hold to your wrong assumption: nigeria is the giant of africa, everything is well with nigeria. I personally, if i war to be a multi-milliadaire living in nigeria, i will never be happy to see all these poverty and injustice that are affecting the common people in their day-to-day-life. A country, that is more than 60 years old after the independence and cannot provide drinkable water, electricity, normal public transportation system, and you see them boasting around with western-world industrial articles: riding Hummer Jeeps, posessing private jets, and all these extravagancies. Verdammt noch einmal! If you find all these articles you cherish, more important than natural water, electricity and light, i can classify all of you as animals. Only animals can live without light and can drink dirty water.It is not the amount of all these toys you are all running after that can improve your life-standard.


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