Professor Wole Soyinka has kicked against supposed attempts by President Muhammadu Buhari-led government and the National Assembly to return the National Water Resources Bill rejected by the public in 2018.
The playwright’s position on the bill followed a recent report that the House of Representatives had referred the National Water Resources Bill 2020 to a “committee of the whole,” for third reading and passage.
In a statement on Thursday, which he entitled “MLK’s mighty stream of righteousness,” Soyinka condemned attempts by the Federal Government to sneak back the rejected bill which will give the President absolute control of water resources across Nigeria.
“A roundly condemned project blasted out of sight by public outrage one or two years ago, is being exhumed and sneaked back into service by none other than a failed government, and with the consent of a body of people, supposedly elected to serve as custodians of the rights, freedoms and existential exigencies of millions.
“This bill – Bill on National Water resources 2020 – is designed to hand Aso Rock absolute control over the nation’s entire water resources, both over and underground.
“The basic facilitator of human existence, water – forget for now all about streams of righteousness! – is to become exclusive to one centralised authority. It will be doled out, allocated through power directives from a desensitised rockery that cannot even boast of the water divining wand of the prophet Moses.
“If the current presiding genius–and this applies equally to all his predecessors without exception – had a structured vision of Nigerian basic entitlements, Nigerians would by now, be able to boast the means of fulfilling even that minimalist item of COVID-19 protocols that call for washing one’s hands under running water! As for potable water, for drinking and cooking, let us not even begin to address such extra-terrestrial undertaking!
“What next for the exclusive list? The rains? I declare myself in full agreement with virtually every pronouncement of alarm, outrage, opprobrium and repudiation that has been heaped upon this bill and its parentage, both at its first outing and since this recent re-emergence.
“It is time to move beyond denunciations however and embark on practical responses for its formal deactivation and permanent internment. Let all retain in their minds that, from the same source that preached the ‘streams of righteousness’ is encountered the promise of ‘no more floods, the fire next time.”