Nobel Leaureate Wole Soyinka says abducted Dapchi schoolgirl Leah Sharibu represents every Nigerian irrespective of the diverse religion and cultural leanings.
Speaking on Monday at the 22nd anniversary of Kudirat Abiola, the slain wife of late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola (MKO), Soyinka likened Sharibu’s courage to that of Mrs. Abiola who was assassinated in Lagos on June 4, 1996 because of her efforts to reclaim the mandate of her husband.
Abiola had won the 1993 presidential election but the election was nullified by then head of state, Ibrahim Babangida.
“I was quite impressed with what I saw in that young girl, Leah Sharibu, who told her abductors that ‘No, you can’t take away from me, my freedom.’ I saw in her, the spirit of Kudirat Abiola. When she said ‘No’, she spoke for all of us," Soyinka said.
“Irrespective of our differences, irrespective of our faiths, irrespective of our different ideologies, she represents all of us. She spoke for our collective humanity. And I will implore us not to forget such name in our minds. Let us understand what they stand for and what they are fighting for.”
The event also had in attendance, a former military Governor of Lagos State and leader of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, as well as founder of Women Arise, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin.
Kanu said all that Kudirat and her husband fought for would come to naught if Nigeria keeps running a unitary federal arrangement.
He said what currently obtains in the country is a case of absolute power, which corrupts absolutely.
Okei-Odumakin said 22 years after Kudirat was hacked to death gruesomely, lives of ordinary Nigerians are still being lost in inexplicable circumstances. She called on government to recognize all killers as terrorists.