Soyinka spoke yesterday at the launch of a book authored by Dr. Chidi Amuta and Dr. Yomi Ogunbiyi and titled: “Dynamics of Change: The Amaechi Years,” held at the Civic Centre, Lagos.
According to Soyinka, the duo played significant roles in what they tagged: ‘Common sense revolution in Nigeria’, just as he commended Amaechi for challenging President Goodluck Jonathan’s perceived interference in the affairs of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF).
Soyinka said, “the political atmosphere today, whatever you call it, change or hope or cautious hope and naked hope or careless hope, I recognise two personalities in particular who led the chant of change. One of them, I call him the architect of the process. The architect in fact, that houses the essence of hope and he is not currently in this room because he is always late and it irritates me a lot. I have told him he is one of the few people I know who will be late to his funeral. That is Ahmed Bola Tinubu. The other person was unconsciously, perhaps, the arrowhead of that charge that led to the change and that is the man that we gather here to celebrate (Amaechi).”
The professor of Poetry said though Amaechi took a risky decision during the NGF crisis. He said such decision exposed the perceived interference of the Presidency in the NGF.
His words: “He (Amaechi) was the one who said no, we cannot turn the clock backwards. Nothing about the philosophy of the clock runs against what we were hoping for. It was a very unpopular and risky decision to take. But it exposed to us the basic arithmetic fallacy of governance in demonstrating that when 16 is said to be higher than 19, something is fundamentally wrong and the same kind of arithmetic leads to the cooking of figures in governance. And it was within that nexus that he stood up and challenged even his own colleagues, and said let’s change the mentality of the stock, let us re-orientate it towards the people and towards the nation and the electorate.”
While describing Tinubu and Amaechi as the greatest contributors to the current political change, Soyinka urged Nigerians to emulate their courage.
Also speaking at the event, Tinubu described the documentation of Amaechi’s eight years administration in the book as “justifiable celebration of idea of common sense revolution.” He said the revolution mantra of the APC was non-violent.
His words: “Amaechi is a good example of common sense revolution. In the course of our historic campaigns for the 2015 elections, I was emphatic about popularising the common sense revolution – that Nigeria needed it. This revolution is not a violent one to tear things down. It is a revolution to rescue us from violence, injustice and poverty.
“It is a positive one to rescue, repair and restructure the nation and its institutions in ways that further collective prosperity and well-being. The only violence that is to be done is to violence, injustice and poverty themselves. The common sense revolution was a call to return to a level of decency in the relationship between government and the governed,” Tinubu said.
He assured Nigerians now that the elections are over, it is time for the leaders and citizens to brace up to meet the challenges required to build a better, more prosperous nation, stressing,” we must re-tool ourselves and the new leadership must embark on policies that will improve the general wellbeing of the masses.”
Responding, Amaechi appreciated a lot of the people who, he admitted inspired and supported him as governor in the last eight years, stating that contrary to the belief, he is not a stubborn personality but that instead, he operates on principle.
His words: “I’m not stubborn, I only operate on principle. They were taking our oil wells because Bayelsa counterpart, produced the President, so, I allowed the Kalahari chiefs protested in Abuja and they were rattled by that.”
While noting that the NGF was a peer review mechanism among state executives to facilitate rapid development at the state levels, Amaechi urged incoming governors to adopt the concept to enable them fast-forward development in their states.
Present at the event were Chief Bisi Akande, APC Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, Justice Karibi-Whyte, Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun, and Zamfara State counterpart, Alhaji Kyari Abubakar, former Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, among other dignitaries.