Wole Soyinka harps on restructuring to address current challenges

L-R-, Prof. Wole Soyinka Noble Laureate, Mrs Noimoth and Minister of Information and National Orientation Alhaji Mohammed Idris at the Punch Nigeria Ltd 50th Anniversary Lecture on Thursday in Lagos.

Noble Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, says restructuring has become inevitable for the nation to prevail over its challenges.

Soyinka spoke at the Punch Nigeria Ltd 50th Anniversary Lecture titled “Recovering the Narrative at Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Delivering a lecture on the theme, Soyinka said that Nigerians did not have to go through unending hardship to live better .

He said that restructuring remained the panacea to sustainable development of the nation

Soyinka said those leading the country recognised the importance of restructuring and its inevitability, but were not adopting it ,for whatever reason.

He said: “It is about time that leaders of these nation stopped taking us for a ride.

“Do we actually have to go through surrogates, dismantling empires in order to come to fulfilment.

“Decentralise simply so that government can come closer to the people and productivity ability manifested as a product of citizens, not simply as a manna from heaven,

“Let me state quite clearly that no one has ever claimed that fecentralisation – a precise word I personally prefer – will end hunger in the land or terminate religious conflicts and other forms of national malaise, no.

“We simply insist that this is central to the incomplete mission of – nation-being.

” It is essential to activities of basic existence such as food production, and access to such products. Palliatives remain crude, short term, stop- gap measures only,” he said.

According to him, restructuring is necessary in order to maximize development.

Soyinka noted that provision of palliatives to the suffering masses was just a stop gap.

Calling for genuine action on restructuring, Soyinka decried that many conferences on the subject had not yielded positive results.

Soyinka said that government should restore dignity to citizens and guaranteet hree square meals a day for the people.

On the media, Soyinka said that humanity could be transformed if language and media were positively used.

According to him, the nation has to ensure the free flow of information without undue censorship.

Stressing the importance of good justice system in a nation, Soyinka decried cases of brutal killings of media practitioners without getting justice.

Earlier in her opening remarks, Mrs Angela Emuwa, the Chairman, Punch Nigeria Ltd ,said that the theme was a call to action in recovering the narrative and shaping the future all Nigerian would be proud of.

Describing the anniversary as no mean feat, Emuwa, expressed the organisation’s gratitude to all its long-standing partners and audiences for the journey so far.

“It is a rallying cry for the media and responsible actors to reclaim their rightful place as the guardians of facts, truth and justice, and the voice of the people.

“This is so because, in a world inundated with information, the power to shape narratives is a formidable responsibility and one that should not be taken lightly.

“As the most widely read newspaper in the nation, PUNCH has not only been a witness to history but a key player in shaping narratives.

“Our 50-year resilient is a testament to the power of the press in influencing positive change, upholding the values of democracy, and championing the cause of the people.

“We hope that the impact of our 50-year journey would serve as a source of inspiration to all.

“We have weathered storms, stood against oppression, championed the cause of justice, and yet we remain unbowed and unbroken,” Emuwa said.