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“Only Competence Can Solve Nigeria’s Problems Not Prayer” – Wole Soyinka



Wole Soyinka Bella Naija

In the aftermath of the latest spate of Boko Haram attacks, various prominent Nigerians have expressed their viewpoints on the state of rising insecurity in the country.

One of such people  is nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, who spoke yesterday at a conference  in Osogbo organised by Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding, (CBCIU) themed “Fundamental Imperatives of Cohabitation, Faith and Secularism.”

During his speech, he expressed that Nigeria’s security challenges could not be remedied by prayers, but by leaders capable of handling the issue without partisanship, Vanguard reports.

Soyinka also stated that in order for Nigeria to tackle the Boko Haram scourge,  the nation’s leaders should learn from the histories of countries that had experienced similar crises.


Bella Naijarians, what are your thoughts on this issue? In what ways do you think Nigeria can effectively deal with terrorism? Let’s talk about it!


  1. ejogene

    April 15, 2014 at 8:48 am

    Exactly! well said. Nigerians spend a lot of time praying for problems they can solve on their own.

  2. edna

    April 15, 2014 at 8:56 am


  3. Casual Observer

    April 15, 2014 at 9:00 am

    Agreed with Prof and @ejogene.

    People use prayer as an excuse not to act. Prayer should empower and galvanise you into doing something.

    Analogy: 2 farmers prayed for rain, the 1st prayed and went out to till the ground in anticipation, whilst the 2nd was still on his knees, by the time 1st farmer had tilled his land and planted seed – which farmer demonstrated faith in prayer?

    Exactly, the one that was diligent and competent enough to go out and work the land.

    • sara

      April 16, 2014 at 2:20 am

      Thank you for the analogy. Many people forget “faith without work is dead”.

  4. Kilipot

    April 15, 2014 at 9:05 am

    I couldnt agree more. I am personally tired of praying for stuff that God has given us brain to solve. Nigerian religion/spirituality ( talking about Xtianity now, cos that is what I am) particularly ridicules/undermines, we are where we are because we have decided to be stupid, leaving everything and just prayers only. If this issue is not addressed now it is going to take over the whole country and I am so scared.

    • lilz

      April 15, 2014 at 9:30 am

      i beg to differ Christianity does not ridicule intelligence. Thank you!
      That being said please what have you done to help the situation?
      Everybody please do what you can. If you can protest please do, if you want to join the army pls do, if you have relatives who are leaders please advice them because it seems as though they are not thinking. and if you can pray by all means please do there is no harm in praying.

    • Ada

      April 15, 2014 at 9:49 am

      Christianity/spirituality/ doesn’t ridicule intelligence. Good work and faith is supported by prayer.
      BTW I totally agree with Prof Wole Soyinka.

    • Somebody

      April 15, 2014 at 10:03 am

      I am not sure I understand what kind of Christianity you practice. Eccelesiates 10:10 – wisdom is profitable to direct. Hosea 4:6 – my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. There are so many verses in the bible that talk about wisdom. There are so many wise leaders in the bible. In all matters of wisdom and understanding Daniel, Shedrach and co were found 10 times better than their peers. SO what exactly do you mean by Christianity ridicules intelligence?

    • Bee

      April 15, 2014 at 3:42 pm

      Because christian belief requires you to suspend all reason and follow a blind faith system. Creationism over evolution, believe in an omnipotent, omniscient and benevolent God, yet the problem of evil still persists.
      Indeed the people suffer for lack of knowledge. That’s why Africa remains in the dark ages, enlightenment era eluding them.

    • Kilipot

      April 15, 2014 at 10:51 pm

      I am not saying what the bible says BUT how people practise the(ir) religion (or what the bible says).

    • Anon

      April 15, 2014 at 11:34 am

      When you say “Nigerian religion/spirituality ( talking about Xtianity now, cos that is what I am) particularly ridicules/undermines intelligence” do you mean that Nigerian religion doesn’t acknowledge intelligent views? Nigerian religion preys on the ignorant? I struggle to understand that statement. It’s muddled.

      What is Nigerian religion/spirituality? More garbling.

      If you are a Christian is it too hard to type it in full and not use the X?

  5. C

    April 15, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Well Said Prof. Faith without works is dead #okbye#

  6. dame

    April 15, 2014 at 9:27 am

    well…the level of incompetence that is within the highest ranking house in Nigeria , including the country’s head of state is visible to the blind and audible to the deaf. I have said on several occasions that albeit prayer is important and trust me Nigerians are aware because the number of churches within each jurisdiction in several states beats ones imagination, there is something overtly STUPID when we have incompetent leaders with absolutely NO CLUE as in ZERO clue on how to handle a great nation and then rely on prayers for a radical change. This is as ridiculous as sending your child to a school taught be incompetent staff and THEN relying on the obligatory fasting and praying for 100 days hoping your child will one day graduate with impeccable knowledge. IT IS ABSURD> I AM SICK AND TIRED OF LEADERS who derive so much joy in seeing their citizens suffer

    TERRORISM HAS NO NATIONALITY or TRIBE (dare I say) and I understand that it is a worldwide issue. I am saying this because I find it hard to believe that a group of individuals can be so POWERFUL to the point of almost being in control of a country. We have been failed by leaders whose priorities are yet to align with the nations vision. That’s why till tomorrow, you will forever see our politicians send their children to school abroad, send their wives to give birth abroad because they have a memorandum of understanding that we will never and can never have great infrastructures or a safe environment.

    therefore i propose the following (impossible) solutions ;
    -DEMOLISH all hierarchy’s including the house of assembly and house of representative as well as senate. this includes existing houses within each state in naija.(cos those people have been discussing nonsense since i was in kindergarten and so far have yet to discuss anything in relation to terrorism
    – any one who has been in power previously or has a family member who has been in power previously should only be accepted for political appoint unless under exceptional circumstances. (i believe the son of a corrupt official is corrupt so yh)
    -recruit fresh minds with digital brains not analogue brains! to run the affairs of this country( as least they would know what they are looking for when they give appointments out) and hopefully will only appoint based on competence and not any other criteria.

    i hope with this few points of mine, i have been able to convince you that our leaders are the terrorists. JUST LOOK AROUND YOU! THEY HAVE BLOODS OF INNOCENT CITIZENS ON THEIR HANDS and ultimately the solution lies with them!!!!!!.

    on a side note I sympathise greatly with the families of those affected as a result of yesterdays bombing. although no blood family member of mine was involved, My heart bled because I lost my fellow brothers and sisters and so i pray may God grant you all eternal rest. thank you for all your services to humanity and for your contribution to our nation. we miss you and love you all.

  7. Noble (

    April 15, 2014 at 9:42 am

    I disagree sir. Talent sorry competence is not enough. We need a combination of competence and character. Competence alone has given birth to competent/smart looters/thieves in Nigeria.

    • @DrOsaz

      May 3, 2014 at 10:52 pm

      NB: Sir, talent is not competence & competence is what is missing. Leadership, intellectual, technical, administrative, social, & moral competence. Character, u sure agree falls under moral competence. Incompetence is a cancer in today’s Nigeria, from the political to the corporate world. Little wonder, majority of graduates are unemployable while majority of the police/military are not professional.

  8. Quirky

    April 15, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Firstly, The Security in Nigeria should be increased a whole lot. The government should spend money on ensuring that there is a strong border control in Nigeria. Like doing perimeter fencing (physical fencing or laser fencing) on all our borders whereby if there’s any illegal breech they should shoot to kill.
    Secondly, increase the salaries of soldiers such that anyone deployed to these states and actually performs work gets extra 250k for job well done. We also need to prepare for emergency in the country by making sure we have adequate supply in the hospitals. good response service like the 911.(NEMA does nothing). Ambulances,Fire services,
    CCTV and surveillance groups in every state.
    Above all corrupt officers should be given capital punishment. So others will learn!

  9. Tetley

    April 15, 2014 at 9:52 am

    Thank you Prof..I will keep saying it, a govt that is not ready to own up to her mistakes but quick to jump on the fastlane to pass blames is an unmanly administration which is not ready for true governance. This present govt has polarised the polity with religious sentiments..A president hopping from one religious leader to the other seeking prayers from people who will never say the truth the way it is..The comments from blogosphere are also worrisome, full with religious bigotries.. Milking out potential job seekers, no improvement in power, insecurity, corruption having a free day and yet we can afford gold plated phones as wedding gifts… What still marvels me, is the clamour by some citizenries that this same administration must continue governing us..

  10. Somebody

    April 15, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Everyone knows this. In spite of the fact that every talent and competence that abounds in the world can be found in Nigeria, it seems we are not competent and so we hide behind prayers. Its easy for me to say it is well than for me to put the work in to make things well.

    • Chinasa

      April 15, 2014 at 11:17 am

      Gbam! Modern day examples of how people use their blessings to create miracles are abound. We need to get off our knees and start actively using our blessing to change our situation.

  11. Bode

    April 15, 2014 at 10:20 am

    100 percent agree with you dame on this.

  12. toke

    April 15, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Prayer has its place, so does competence. Prayer cannot be ruled out. Prof pls come back to Nigeria and teach here too instead of yankee. Take your place in finding the Nigerian solution too.

    • Tetley

      April 15, 2014 at 11:14 am

      Toke ..’m not sure you read the post before making a comment.He made the speech in Osogbo which is in Osun State and not in Yankee..Please always read very before jumping to make comments..

    • Anon

      April 15, 2014 at 11:35 am

      Wake up please if you have been sleeping. He now lives in Nigeria.

  13. @edDREAMZ

    April 15, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    I believe yu man…

  14. Djimrau

    April 15, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Help me findout from Prof does he know whats is Prayers? and unto whom is genuine prayers made? Prof is also a non partisan leader that can handle the issue atleast if prayers is no remedy. My Fellow Nigerians listen if u care to- God does not count slackness as men do, but His patience is for men to repent and acknowledge His sovereignty. I dont care who, what position or achievement tell all those behind this barbaric arts to their shame that forever they will never taste power confusion of heart will be theirs continually, Gods judgement had begun Prof ears will also tingle at the terror that will befall this wicked men.Jesus shall be exalted among the nations.Friends do not weary in well doing.

  15. Tetley

    April 15, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    @ Djimrau..if one of your family members was affected in the yesterday bombing,you won’t only be talking about prayers but asking for high competency in the security affairs of this country..When are we going to change from these religious bigotries for God’s sake?..Being Christian doesn’t cover up for incompetence or bad leadership..a bit of reminder to you, Prof Soyinka was born into a Christian family and his dad was a leader in the church..

  16. nene

    April 15, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    i have nothing more t add. COMPETENCE! daz all

  17. Jay

    April 15, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Since our “leaders” will not act, we have to continue to pray for God to change their harden hearts. The Bible says “the king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turns it whichever way he will” Proverbs 21:1 God will help us

  18. Kilipot

    April 15, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    We need competence and professionalism in all levels of government.

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