Soyinka, Buhari and Obasanjo

The presidency has debunked recent comments by Professor Wole Soyinka and former president Olusegun Obasanjo, suggesting that Nigerians have become more divided under Buhari’s watch.

Mr. Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, said on the contrary Buhari inherited a “terribly” divided country, one which he has been trying to reunite since he came to power in 2015.

Adesina spoke on Wednesday as a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

He said although Professor Soyinka is respected and revered, not everything he says should be taken absolutely.

“Professor Wole Soyinka is somebody we respect, you don’t have them too many in a country, even on a continent. Professor Soyinka is an icon, he is an avatar, we respect him, we listen to him but then we don’t take everything he says hook, line, and sinker,” the president’s special adviser said.

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The president’s media aide said, “Nigeria had always been divided. Always. Right from amalgamation in 1914, Nigeria has always been divided. Nigeria is an inconvenient amalgamation but we have worked at it and I tell you that there is no time in the history of this country that the country was not divided but then we had kept at it and we were trying to make it work.

“As of 2015, when President Buhari came, Nigeria was terribly, terribly divided; divided along religious lines, divided along ethnic lines; divided along language, divided hopelessly, terribly and that is the division that the President had been working at. But you see that a lot of people instead of letting harmony return to this country, thrive and luxuriate in widening the gulf. They play politics with everything.”

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Adesina dismissed Obasanjo’s criticism that the nation was drifting to disintegration and as a failed state.

He said “not every criticism should give one sleepless night”.

According to Adesina, there is no government that Obasanjo has not criticised.

“Obasanjo has criticised every government since the Shehu Shagari government that succeeded him in 1979. The only government he has not criticised is the Olusegun Obasanjo government”.

The media aide added that Obasanjo has a right to air his opinions.

However, he stressed that Buhari government has a right to either heed the former president’s criticism or dismiss them as mere claims aimed to detract from a performing administration.