Wole Soyinka, foremost Nigerian playwright and political activist, says former President Jonathan dismissed him when he reached the president over the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno state.
While addressing his audience on Thursday at a dialogue organised by Ripples Centre for Data and Investigative Journalism in Lagos, the Nobel laureate said Jonathan told him that he should take the abduction of the schoolgirls as his own problem and deal with it.
“I reached out to former President Jonathan, and protested, chiding him severely on his reaction over the abduction of the Chibok girls. I said to him; ‘you want to be accepted as a political leader, and you do not even accept as your duty to be there (Chibok), at the scene of the disaster?’ And I asked him, did you actually utter those words attributed to you? His response remains a riddle to me till today,” he said.
“His exact words to me, not easily forgotten I assure you, were ‘Kampala tie niyen,’ meaning that is your own Kampala.”
He said Jonathan waited for nearly three weeks before accepting the fact that over 200 schoolgirls had been abducted in Chibok.
“He said the opposition was only using this to discredit his government, and precious days to have rescued the girls were lost,” he said.
Soyinka explained that the origin of ‘Kampala tie niyen’ takes us back to the nation’s recent ‘Kampala’ that is the Dapchi abduction.
In the Yoruba parlance, Kampala are hand-dyed fabrics using traditional wax methods. And when one is told that ‘Kampala tie niyen,’ it loosely means the ‘Kampala’ is for the person to hand-dye by himself.
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