Professor Wole Soyinka, a Nobel laureate, said on Thursday that Nigeria should break up if it is to solve its problems.

Wole Soyinka
Wole Soyinka

Soyinka spoke at the 50th anniversary lecture of PUNCH Newspapers in Lagos.


Soyinka stated in his lecture titled ‘Recovering the Narrative’ that Nigeria should be decentralized so that Nigerians can enjoy their country more.

The Nobel laureate delivered the lecture as part of a weeklong celebration of PUNCH’s 50th anniversary.


The elder statesman stated that decentralisation would bring governance closer to the people, and that leaders should stop taking Nigerians for a ride.

Fear Of Collapse

“I know the fear. The fear is collapse, break up. That’s been the excuse given by several regimes.


But suppose the nation is breaking up informally, in other words as a fact rather than as a theory.

Then, and you better address this. Come straight on and see exactly what happened.

What is wrong with general representatives seeing them and saying this is the protocol of our association, Anything outside of it?

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Anyone who does not want to accept these protocols, abide by these protocols and manifest these protocols in the act should take a walk. I have no problem at all.

“We live in what is known as the nation, beginning as a vast football field and ending up as a ping pong table.


If that is going to restore dignity to citizens. If that is going to guarantee three square meals a day then so be it.

Let Humanity Live

One of my favourite expressions with people is “Let nations die, that humanity may live.”

Soyinka explained that while Nigerian politicians know the importance of restructuring, they change their tune when they get into power.

He said, “What do you mean by restructuring? Well, I don’t even like the word restructuring.

I use, I prefer expressions like reconfiguration and decentralisation.

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Everybody can grasp that, decentralisation. And those who lead, recognise the necessity of it.

They recognise the importance, almost the inevitability of it until they get into power, yes, that’s the difference.

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