Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, Monday said the security challenges facing the country cannot be solved by prayers, but competence.
Soyinka, who was a keynote speaker in Osogbo the Osun State capital, at a colloquium with the theme: ‘Fundamental Imperatives of Cohabitation, Faith and Secularism,’ organised by Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding (CBCIU) in Osogbo, added that he received with shock the news of Nyanya Motor Park bombing, calling for a frank talk among stakeholders in the affairs of the country to end the spate of bombings.
Making reference to a report in a newspaper recently credited to him that the nation’s security challenges can be resolved through prayers, Soyinka noted that Boko Haram insurgency should not be mistaken for a religious war, insisting that prayers alone cannot end the crises.
According to him, “I have never said prayer can help resolve the security challenges facing Nigeria. I believe the situation must be tackled without partisanship and all these uninformed comments cannot help the situation. We should wake up to the reality, Nigeria is in war and only competence can solve the problem, not prayers,” Soyinka said.
He said the country is in need of competent leaders with capacity to deal with the situation without partisanship and suggested that learning from the history of nations that had faced similar situations can help Nigeria survived her present challenges.
He decried what he called “spiritual contempt” by both Christians and Muslims, whom he accused of hurling abuses at the adherents of traditional religion. He also accused them of exhibiting high degree of intolerance within themselves and to other religious beliefs.
While calling for the teaching of comparative religion studies at primary and secondary school levels, the Chairman of Osogbo Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding, who is the convener of the colloquium, warned against preaching religious intolerance to the younger generation.
The renowned scholar contended that the almajiris, whom he called “foot soldiers” of the Boko Haram had their minds poisoned at an early stage.
He said the seed sown long time ago was responsible for the crises ravaging the country presently.