Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka has said Nigeria is not only at war, but also in a war zone.
Soyinka made this statement on Monday against the backdrop of large-scale insecurity in the country while launching his latest novel, Chronicles Of The Happiest People On Earth, a book he published at 86th birthday.
“I think we are not merely at war, we are in a war zone, ” the literary icon maintained.
The Nobel Laureate also said there is a high level of insecurity in the country, so much that people now sleep with one eye open and the other closed.
“The term, one eye open and one eye close has become a common parlance everywhere” he said.
He therefore cautioned that unless our leaders allow a decentralization of governance and accept that they have failed, we might have a new set of conflagration along different lines unlike before.
Asked how long it took him to write the novel, Prof. Wole Soyinka said it took him forever, adding that writing the book was a problem he dealt with for many years.
Prof. Soyinka said he had to escape twice, first to Senegal and then to Ghana before he could concentrate on the book, adding that he actually spent about two years writing it.
“I just could not concentrate sufficiently within these borders,” he maintained.
Asked whether he feels things have changed since independence, the literary icon said nothing has really changed, adding that the more things seem to be changing, the more they remain the same.
He also decried the dependence of Nigerians on religion, adding that it reduces our humanity. He also said it is only when Nigerians learn to reduce their total dependence on religion that that is the only way they can habit with it. However the Nobel Laureate said believing in something that enlarges one’s humanity.
Asked again what his mood was, whether it was pessimistic or optimistic, the Nobel Laureate succinctly said: Happiness, adding that he takes everyday as it comes.
The fun part of the evening was about music, spiced with readings of excerpts from the book, Chronicles Of The Happiest People On Earth.
Guests who read excerpts from the book alongside the author included Somtom Asibelibua, who read in English, French and Spanish as well as Richard Move Damijo, according to PMNews.
Guests in attendance included the Minister of Works and Housing, Rotimi Amaechi, Chief Newton Jibunoh and Professor Ebun Clark.