Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, says the tempo of disintegration of Nigeria has accelerated in the last few years beyond any known time since the Civil War.
Soyinka said this during an interview on Arise Television on Tuesday.
He said the only way to reverse the trend was for President Muhammadu Buhari to start listening to and talking to Nigerians.
He said such demands as devolution of power must be considered, and very urgently too.
He expressed fears over what may become of the country if the leadership fails to act fast.
He said: “If Nigeria fails to decentralise, as fast as possible, manifestly and without the rhetoric, then Nigeria cannot stay together as one country.
“I am not the only one saying this.
“Several persons, including politicians, ex-Heads of State, Economists and analysts among others, have all said so.”
Soyinka said the heightened secessionist agitations by some sections of the country was traceable to the refusal of Buhari to listen to the yearnings of the people.
He said: “When sectional leaders are placed in a position where they cannot answer the people’s existential yearnings, don’t be surprised if they start saying we want to secede.
“It is simply because they feel they are not being taken seriously anymore.
“And that is why people are in the street demonstrating and defying even threats from the police and the government.”
Soyinka said Buhari’s threat of talking to the people in the language they will understand would not work because if a nation is on a suicide slide, people who feel that they do not deserve that kind of suicidal plunge have a right to say they are getting off the plane before it nosedives.
He said Buhari must address the nation and accept that Nigerians are in a state of war.
He said: “He must start talking to the people as a leader and a leader who is awake to the realities of the situation.
“Then let us see actions being taken.
“We are tired of hearing promises like you will see differences in a few weeks time or in a short while.
“No, we are tired of that.
“He should stop exuding a false confidence.
“That kind of confidence is false because it is not based on reality.
“We need to see an acceleration of actions to retrieve this nation from the very edge.
“It is no longer the problem of the people.
“It is a problem of leadership because the people have shown themselves ready to act to save their own communities.”
On Democracy Day celebration, Soyinka said: “On this so-called Democracy Day, we are embarked on a plane on a nosedive and Buhari had better listen to all the various initiatives that are taking place around him.
“I just hope that whoever is in charge is listening, ingesting, digesting, analysing and recognising the fact that the tempo of disintegration of this nation has accelerated in the last couple of years beyond anything we have ever known since the civil war.”