Visibly concerned by the continuous decline in the nation’s economy, Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, yesterday, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to convene an emergency economic conference for experts to brainstorm on the way forward and future of the economy.
The Nobel laureate made the call when he paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in Abuja.
According to Soyinka, the conference became necessary to enable experts diagnose the problems currently facing the country and make necessary recommendations for government to get the economy out of the woods.
He said: “I agree with those who say the economy is bad. It is obvious and it is so bad. I think the Presidency should call an emergency economic conference where experts will be enlightened.
“We really need an emergency economic conference, bringing experts together to march the nation forward. I think the economy is not encouraging. Quite frankly, I think most economists will agree with this.”
While urging Nigerians to be patient with the present administration, the Nobel laureate urged them not to expect an end to the present hardship as it would linger for a long time.
“Don’t wait to see a bonanza economy in the next few months to a year. Recovery is going to take time. But at the same time, we have to rely on the objective analysis of experts to tell the government when it gets bad, which might compound the problem and ultimately left the people as victims.
“At the beginning, this cabinet had no Culture but had Information ministry. We had to scream, before the Ministry of Culture later came,” Soyinka said.
Cautions on human rifgts abuse
Asked to rate the performance of Buhari’s administration, he said though it might be too early to assess the administration’s performance, it would be right for the government to recognise the provisions of the law and constitution of the land to avoid violation of the fundamental human rights of people.
He said: “My attitude to the performance of the present administration is that the rule of the law should be followed. I belong to any government which is very patient to getting results. I have a very clear idea of governance tempo.
“If that goal is attained by constitutional means, if nothing else, it would have moved this nation forward.
“The tempo of motion, for me is very reasonable. For me, I would say more than reasonable. But on the human right side, we have to watch very carefully to see if that can be achieved without forfeiting the fundamental human rights of people, which form the basis we derive from citizenship.
“I will say, while the human right is respected, governance should move on, which I believe most Nigerians approve.
“What is going on now is an exposure of open robbery in their faces, while the government should damn the consequences of its action, with ethical rigour without minding whose ox is gored.
“Government, for me, is a very complicated matter and there is a lot of debris to be cleared. Maybe, we need to be a little bit more patient to see what the administration will do.”