Niyi Osundare sur les leaders du Nigeria/ Niyi Osundare talking about the leaders of Nigeria

Niyi Osundare (voir photo) est un poète nigérian ardent défenseurs des droits de l’homme qui a critiqué les régimes corrompus des différents leaders du Nigéria, notamment celui du général Abacha. Aujourd’hui, il s’en prend à celui d’Olusegun Obasanjo. Des élections auront lieu dans ce grand pays à la mi-avril et Osundare en profite pour décrire la désillusion du peuple nigérian.

C’est dans le cadre d’un événement commémorant son 60ème anniversaire et le lancement de son dernier livre qu’Osundare affirme que les leaders du Nigéria ne savent plus ce qu’est la honte (lien en anglais). Devant une assitance qui incluait Wole Soyinka, un monument de la culture africaine, Osundare dit qu’il est en colère parce que vivre au Nigéria est encore plus difficile qu’il y a dix ans. Pourtant, les leaders du pays continuent à s’enrichir et ne cachent plus leur opulence.

Niyi Osundare (see picture) is a Nigerian poet and strong defender of human rights who criticized theNiyi Osundare corrupted regimes of Nigeria’s leaders, notably general Abacha’s. Today, he’s taking on Olusegun Obasanjo. Elections will be held in Nigeria in mid-April and Osundare takes the opportunity to describe the disillusion of the Nigerian people.

It is during a commemorative event celebrating his 60th birthday and the launching of his last book that Osundare said “Nigerian leaders have no sense of shame”. The Nigerian paper, Business Day, describes the position of Niyi Osundare:

According to him, the state of the nation today is worse than what it was 10 years ago.

In his words: “I was asked how does it feel to be 60, 10 years ago I was asked the same thing but I must tell you that I was a bit more sanguine 10 years ago than I am now about our country. How does one grow in a country like this? That is more or less in a state of unrelieved retardation. We were better in 1997 when I was 50 than we are now in 2007. We are beyond the level of shockability, things never shock us anymore. Our leaders have no sense of shame. You stole N10 million. What about the money you used in buying a Prado jeep for your girl friend? And people are flying Agbada all over the place pretending that everything is okay. I have never seen a country like this in my life. No sense of shame,” he said.

He said that he was not happy with the current state of the economy and a lot still needed to be done in the development of the country since the country has not made any remarkable economic progress in the past years.

In his words: “But there is a lot to be done. Happy moments for me but the happiness of the nest is the happiness of the bird. I am the bird trying to rest but what is this nest doing, this nest called Nigeria? Who am I to talk about the nest in any exhaustive way when the likes of Soyinka are here? Their shoes are too big for us to put our puny toes in. I am angry because I saw the university, the department and our country when they were better and I think we should be better. But what is really happening? How does one turn 60 in a country like this?”

He also observed that the Nigerian government has taken its citizens for granted as a result, they could take decisions without giving considerations to the effect it will have on the people. He advised Nigerians to take the bull by the horn and demand for their rights by questioning the policies being implemented.

“How they take us for granted; how they defy us, we the people. Why do we accept all these? If we say no, no Jupiter can force his will on us. Nigerians have to wisen up if we want this country to develop. We have never had leaders in this country, rulers that is what they are and it is we the people who can say no. I have never heard our rulers talk about the people. Where are all the money disappearing which of the government in this country today is a poor man? Who among them has not stolen millions or billions and they laugh and we laugh with them. At 60 I should not be a fool but I wonder every time if I live in a country of fools them I am one of the fools. Nigeria is nemesis to many of us. Am I angry? Yes angry indeed. Anybody that is not angry in this country today is either a saint, compromised or asleep. This not a country.”

Wole Soyinka, professor of literature, who was also at the event, congratulated Osundare on the occasion of his birthday anniversary.