Professor Wole Soyinka, on Monday cleared the air on a statement credited to him in a newspaper report that prayers can help resolve the security challenges facing Nigeria.
The Nobel Laureate, who was the keynote speaker at a colloquium with the theme “Fundamental Imperatives of Cohabitation, Faith and Secularism” in Osogbo, capital of Osun State competence is the solution to the security challenges facing the nation.
The colloquium was organized by Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding (CBCIU), Osogbo.
“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 a war and only competence can solve the problem, not prayers,” Soyinka said.
Soyinka said he received the news of Nyanya Motor Park bombing with shock and called for a frank talk among stakeholders in the affairs of the country to end the spate of bombings.
He added that the country is in need of competent leaders with the capacity to deal with the situation without partisanship and suggested that learning from historical past of nations that had faced similar situations can help Nigeria survived her present challenges.
He declared that prayers cannot solve Nigeria’s security challenges as he insisted that competence is required from those at the helm of affairs of the nation and security agencies.
While explaining his position on a statement credited to him in the newspaper that the nation’s security challenges can be resolved through prayers; Soyinka posited that Boko Haram insurgency should not be mistaken for a religious war.
He insisting that prayers cannot end the insurgency.
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 accused Muslims and Christians in the country 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, Soyinka warned against etching on the minds of younger generations with religious intolerance.
He contended that the almajiris, whom he called “foot soldiers” of the Book Haram had their minds poisoned at early stage, the seed sown long time ago, according to him was responsible for the crises ravaging the country presently.
Osun State governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola while speaking on the occasion said the only way to respect God was by showing respect to human beings, emphasizing the need for people to accommodate adherents of other religions.
He called for practice of faith in a manner that encourage peaceful coexistence of people, adding that his administration in its activities and conduct has maintained a balance among all religions without placing one over the other.