Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka has said former President Muhammadu Buhari was an “idiot” for banning the social media app then known as Twitter, now X, in Nigeria.
Soyinka said this in an interview with ARISE News Anchor Ojy Okpe at the CANEX Live Theatre closing ceremony of the 3rd Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) 2023, convened in Cairo, Egypt by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), in collaboration with the African Union and African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
He argued that the internet and social media space had been infested with foul communications and languages by people of, “lower intelligence, integrity and sense of concern of involvement, regulation of social media should be constructive, methodical and structured.”
The Nigerian government led by Buhari had on June 4, 2021, “indefinitely suspended” Twitter’s operations in the country.
The suspension was announced by then Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, in a statement: “The federal government has suspended, indefinitely, the operations of the microblogging and social networking service, Twitter, in Nigeria.”
The ban lasted for 222 days as it was lifted effective from 12am, January 13, 2022.
When asked if he strongly believes in regulation of the internet, Soyinka said: “Theoretically, if you are going to regulate, who regulates it? How does he go about it? Does regulation begin from education – new education? Do we include teaching from the level of primary schools because even children now speak a language which I don’t understand – internet language?
“Watch them at work there, I’m like an illiterate and I will never compete with that.
“So, maybe we will have to totally revise our educational system to take in this new monster which, however, is a valuable contribution to the entire human enterprise.
“So, while we talk about regulation, I want us to be very careful there. I don’t want some dictator like this last one (immediate former President Muhammadu Buhari who banned Twitter) attempted to do; who woke up and said I’m banning Facebook (Twitter), Idiot!