I will begin assessment of Tinubu’s govt after one year in office – Soyinka

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From Left-Right: Professor Wole Soyinka and President Tinubu during the Nobel Laureate's visit to the President in Lagos on Sunday December 24, 2023.

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Asked what he would like to see the Tinubu government achieve, the Nobel Laureate said “that’s very simple. I came here with a seven-point agenda and we had a very thorough discussion on those items.”

 

Professor Wole Soyinka says it will be too early for him to criticise President Bola Tinubu, adding that he will give him one year to find his bearing, just as he said he has discussed a seven-point agenda with the President to implement.

By this, he has five months after this December 2023 for Nigerians to assess the anticipated assessor.

The Nobel Laureate, who spoke with newsmen Sunday evening after meeting with President Tinubu at his lodge in Lagos where he is currebtly spending his Christmas vacation, said as a routine he stays away from criticising governments before they exhaust their first year in office.

The Professor of Literature, who said he visited the President and his family to commemorate the Christmas season, stressed that he knew most Nigerian leaders have had to start the process of leading the country to development from below ground zero, a circumstance he said would make criticism at that point unfair.

Soyinka, who revealed that he had in the past advised President Tinubu against running for the nation’s number one position, however, said he would not say yet whether going against his advice had panned out well for the President until after one year in office.

According to him, “My first visit, actually it was an embarrassing visit because when I visited him the last time, it was to try and persuade him not to run for office. I think I’ve written about that.

“I told Atiku and himself that they should please leave the ground for young people. That was the last time we met, about five years ago.

“I call him, secretly, olorikunkun, a stubborn man, so he ignored my advice completely.

“So I came to see how he’s doing after neglecting my advice, I wanted to see if both he and his wife were weathering Nigeria as well as can be expected and to wish them happy Christmas. You know we’re friends, as you know, very well, and it was as a friend that I told him don’t run, leave this thing alone, but he ignored me”.

On whether he had been convinced that the President made a good choice by running for the office he was advised against, Soyinka said, “Something you may have noticed about me, like when most heads of state take office, I always leave them alone for about the first year, if you have noticed that because I know when they come in, they don’t start from ground zero, they often start even lower than ground zero and they have to make up.

“So, I have this personal policy, whether it’s Obasanjo o, Buhari o, or Jonathan, you will notice that during the first year, I hardly say anything, then people will ask me why are you not talking and I will tell them, go and ask the last person whether I spoke during the first year. So, I’m adopting the same principle. At the end of one year, ask me this question,” he said.

Asked what he would like to see the Tinubu government achieve, the Nobel Laureate said “that’s very simple. I came here with a seven-point agenda and we had a very thorough discussion on those items.”


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