21 Quotes From Professor Soyinka On President Buhari


Professor Wole Soyinka on Tuesday again gained the attention of the media for his criticism of President Muhammdu Buhari’s government.

Here are twenty-one quotes from Professor Soyinka on President Buhari as reported by Vanguard over the years.


Buhari is ‘born again’ phenomenon


Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka in 2015 described President Muhammadu as a “born-again” phenomenon on the Nigerian political landscape, who is ready to make amends for his past mistakes.


“The level of exposure concerning corruption under the Buhari administration showed that the government was really tackling the vice.”

-Soyinka speaking during a visit by Lai Mohammed


“I agree with those who say the economy is bad.”

-Soyinka tells Buhari


“I only ask to be corrected if wrong: I have yet to encounter a terse, rigorous, soldierly and uncompromising language from this leadership, one that threatens a response to this unconscionable blood-letting that would make even Boko Haram repudiate its founding clerics.‎ “When I read a short while ago, the Presidential assurance to this nation that the current homicidal escalation between the cattle prowlers and farming communities would soon be over, I felt mortified.”

-Soyinka on Fulani herdsmen killings


Nigeria was sinking when Buhari took power

-Soyinka tells AFP


“Fulfilling political promises when you take over the reins of power and you have to clean up a lot of mess, it’s not easy,”



“If you ask why General Buhari did not act fast enough when these events take place, which degrade us as human beings, well it is perhaps he has been waiting for the governor of that state to send money to the killers first for them to stop the killing.”

-Soyinka on Southern Kaduna killings


“Why is the president hiding his state of health? He’s supposed to understand he’s public property, me I’m still private property, that’s why I’m not in Aso Rock,”

-Soyinka on Buhari’s health status


“I suspect that this government has permitted itself to be fooled by the peace of those empty streets, but also by the orderly, patient, long-suffering queues that are admittedly prevalent in the city centres.”

-Soyinka on fuel scarcity


“I get impatient when I hear things like Buhari has failed to go and sympathise with the people of Benue, with the people of Nasarawa, with the people of Dapchi or wherever. “Who needs sympathy? Is it sympathy that will reorder their broken lives? Is sympathy the issue? We are speaking here of one commodity that is fundamentally human deserving—justice.

-Soyinka on insecurity [Buhari stop shedding unjust tears, deal with bloodthirsty terrorists]


”Catastrophically belated, it has finally emerged from the constricted throat of a government that seemed unaware that its very corporate existence was under strangulation. Many in this nation have had bitter cause to conclude that governance had indeed expired, its elected head in a trance.”

-Soyinka on insecurity


“There are acts of mis-governance under this administration. There are unforced errors and acts that are considered being stupid; failure to secure lives; languages of self-excusing, which were condemned in the past but resurfacing all over the place,

“There is cheapening of lives. The value of lives in the last year or so on is on a level we haven’t witnessed in the country for long time,”

-Soyinka on insecurity


“Here we go again. At his first coming, it was ‘I intend to tamper with Freedom of the Press,’ and Buhari did proceed to suit action to the words, sending two journalists— Irabor and Thompson — to prison as a reward for their professional integrity. “Now, a vague, vaporous, but commodious concept dubbed ‘national interest’ is being trotted out as alibi for flouting the decisions of the Nigerian judiciary.

President Buhari has obviously given deep thought to his travails under a military dictatorship, and concluded that his incarceration was also in the ‘national interest’.

“The timing is perfect, and we have cause to be thankful for the advance warning, since not all rulers actually make a declaration of intent, but simply proceed to degrade the authority of the law as part of the routine business of governance.”

-Soyinka [Buhari’s remark on rule of law, playback of military rule]


“Forgiveness is a virtue. Although, I have the same temperament with my late friend, Tai Solarin, but it is a national embarrassment that our President has refused to obey laws. Citizens should not be the one to choose the laws to obey.”

-Soyinka [Dasuki, El- Zakzaky: Buhari’s failure to obey court orders a national embarrassment]


“Buhari has failed… he behaved exactly like Jonathan, he was apathetic.”

-Soyinka [Herdsmen attack: Buhari behaved exactly like Jonathan]


“I don’t believe in what is called negative vote which means, for me, throwing your vote in a waste basket, I believe instead in a creative vote, not a protest vote, not a negative vote but a creative vote. And a creative vote means that the will to at least sow a seed through your vote that will germinate eventually.

“The pace of germination is beyond the control of everyone, but it is never too early to make a beginning. It has happened before in other societies.

“When a dark horse emerges from nowhere and trumps all the political juggernauts caterpillars and so on with their performers, worthless, their capacity for violence and treachery.”

-Soyinka [‘I Wole Soyinka will not be voting for either Buhari or Atiku’]



“Ruga is going to be an explosive issue and it had better be handled very carefully. Why is it that we fail to take our models from successful performers? And then, Buhari took such a long time.

“For me, he deserved — and I have written this down — to have lost the last election if only on account of the lackadaisical attitude which he took to the issue of cattle-rearers.

“People have been killed in hundreds till today and it is only because of the failure of leadership at the critical time.”

-Soyinka [Ruga: Buhari should’ve lost at the polls — Soyinka]


“look at what is happening today, how is it possible for me to say for instance that I am pro of this government, it is been negligent, look at what is happening with the cattle all over the place. That is a security issue which should never have reached this level.”

-Soyinka [Buhari’s failure to tackle Herdsmen problems wiped away his positive achievements]


“A faceless cabal under yet another civilian regime refused to be left out of the insensate play of power.”

-Soyinka speaks on Sowore’s arrest, says Buhari’s govt behaving like Abacha’s


“The problems of this nation are beyond the solution that can be offered by this government, that’s the first admission; they have to stop thinking in partisan government.

“There has always been a major problem with successive governments. It’s easier at the state level to say that a particular state is definitely doing better than another state. But the central government has failed, that’s my view.”

-Soyinka [Buhari can’t handle Nigeria’s problems]

READ ALSO: Soyinka accuses presidency of using vulgar language at campaigns

“A President who has been conspicuously AWOL, the Rip van Winkle of Nigerian history, is now alleged to have woken up after a prolonged siesta, and begun to issue orders.”

-Soyinka faults Buhari lockdown of states as ‘political virus’


“I don’t want to talk about Muhammadu Buhari’s administration,

“I think it is best for my sanity just to avoid that overall question. I can take bits and pieces of Nigeria’s present predicament but I think for one’s sense of balance, one must forget the existence of the Buhari administration.”



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