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Wole Soyinka, Nobel laureate, says Nigeria is on auto-pilot, and could crash if efforts are not made to regain control of the country in time.
In a statement titled ‘MAYDAY! MAYDAY!! MAYDAY!!!’, the scholar likened the security situation in the country to that of the Aeroflot Flight 593 of September 28, 1994 where all passengers died because the pilot left the cockpit to the mercy of his family members while he went to salute the passengers.
Soyinka said he mentioned the date thrice as a distress call to the continuous killings in various parts of the country.
“There are certain eerie parallels in the Nigerian present to a certain MayDay disorder, one in which that distress call was never heard. Aeroflot Flight 593 of Sept. 28, 1994 was such an event, a flight in which all occupants of that plane perished,” Soyinka said.
“The captain was not even in the pilot’s seat – others were! They were the pilot’s family – mostly his children. The pilot’s seat had been turned into a family game of musical chairs.
“Where was the Captain? Somewhere along the aisle, saluting the passengers – all quite proper, and indeed encouraged by regulations. He had placed the plane on auto-pilot – just as this nation has been for some time.”
He explained that by the time the pilot tried to regain control of the aircraft, it was too late to salvage the situation.
“The ‘black box’ – or flight recorder – indicates that the pilot never even got round to shouting ‘May Day’ over the radio – he was too busy struggling to restore the plane’s technical functions, shout instructions, pull the plane out of a nose-dive, and attempt to right the craft – too late!” he continued.
Still making allusion to the aircraft, Soyinka said many organisations have been calling on the “Nigerian captain” to make the distress call but there has been “no sign of willing”.
“Now flash forwards one decade to our present, and recall the number of desperate organizations calling on the Nigerian captain to bury his pride and cry ‘MayDay” across all airwaves,” he said.
“Call out for international help to rescue a nation on its terminal nose-dive! There has been no sign of willing, while the screwed-up plane is now in its corkscrew dive.
“Even if this captain regains his seat before the crash, it is open season whether or not, like SUV Flight 593, it will not stall, and head straight for Zuma rockface.
“Strangers are in control in the cockpit. Put simply, the captain is missing.”
He, therefore, advised President Muhammadu Buhari to take drastic steps in quelling the killings which he described as “ethnic cleansing”.
He added that “the plane cannot remain on auto-pilot as hitherto, while the pilot strolls up and down the aisle, assuring passengers that all is well.”
He said all illegal inhabitants of lands should be purged and the lands returned to their rightful owners.
“The plain expression is ethnic cleansing”and we must not beat around the bush. The shade of Rwanda hangs over the nation,” he said.
“Give a nation-wide order to all land-usurpers in the affected towns and villages across the nation to quit those forcefully occupied lands within a forty-eight hours deadline.
“Issue orders to the military and police that, wherever illegal occupiers are found, they should be meted the same treatment as are accorded terrorists. Instruct all agencies that, once cleared of usurpers, the rightful occupants should be escorted back to their farmsteads and villages and provided maximum protection.
“We must go beyond arresting a token handful of herders caught with arms – there are still hundreds of them in the forests. It is not enough to back the anti- open grazing laws, so late in the day, but we shall leave that for later.
“All available forces should be deployed to right a hideous, unprecedented wrong that has left the nation drowning in blood – we simply cannot continue one day longer to endure this forceful feeding of human blood.”