Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka,recommends cultural dance tests for ex-military men

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Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has recommended that Nigerians should convert the sense of rhythm of the former military Heads of State, governors and administrators-turned politicians to the country’s traditional rhythms.

Soyinka spoke on Thursday night at the opening of African Drum Festival 2019 held in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

According to Soyinka, the national rhythms are the cultural dances in both southern and northern parts of the country which include Atilogwu and Bata dances.

He suggested that for the ex-military men who became politicians to be complete democrats, they must be immersed in the national rhythms.

The literary icon said it had been a tough task for the ex-military men to be converted into complete civilians.

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He said all the former military men who had embraced politics must be made to go through a test of all the national rhythms from the North to the South.

He suggested that they must pass the test before they could be allowed to stand for elections.

Soyinka, who is the principal consultant for Ogun State Government on the festival, said he had been wondering why it was difficult for ex-military men who are into politics to do away with their military traits.

He however said he had found a solution to the challenge.

Soyinka spoke in reaction to the presence of nearly all past military governors and administrators of the state at the opening ceremony of African Drum Festival in Abeokuta.

The ex-military men were Saidu Balogun, Oladeinde Joseph, Kayode Olofinmoyin and Daniel Akintonde.

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He said, “From the salutations earlier made by the formal speakers that all the former military governors and administrators here and one or two are even represented by their wives, I asked myself, what is it that brings all the ex-military governors and administrators here?

“I asked myself what is it that even after demobilising and they go into politics, we failed to take the military out of them. How do we go about converting them to civilians? We have many of them as senators, governors, then Presidents. And when they get there, you find out that it is difficult to take the military out of them. This evening, I think I finally found a solution.

“We have to convert their sense of rhythm; let them go through the traditional rhythms and we must bring them in gently. Let them begin with the Atilogwu; from there to the Bata dance and we will take them through all the various Nigerian rhythms including the rhythms of the Efik and the Calabar; and they must wear the costumes.”

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He added, “When we immerse them in the real rhythms of their origin and tradition, I think that’s the only way we can convert them to civilians.

“So if they really want to go into politics, they must go through a test of all the rhythms, national rhythms, from the North to the South. If they pass that test, then allow them to stand for election.”

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