Soyinka Challenges Datti To Debate

Prof. Wole Soyinka

Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka on Friday challenged the Labour Party Vice presidential candidate, Datti Baba-Ahmed, to a one-on-one debate.

Soyinka’s challenge followed the reactions that trailed his comment where he expressed displeasure at a statement made by Baba-Ahmed.

Baba-Ahmed had, in an interview with Channels TV, stressed that “whoever swears in Mr Tinubu” has “ended democracy” in Nigeria.

Following his statement, the National Broadcasting Commission slammed a fine of N5 million on Channels Television for breaking the broadcasting law in a programme with Baba-Ahmed.

Baba-Ahmed, whose ticket with Peter Obi emerged third in the February 25 presidential election, had spoken about the Supreme Court in a manner described by Soyinka as “fascistic language”.

“I denounced the menacing utterances of a vice-presidential aspirant as unbecoming. It was a gladiatorial challenge directed at the judiciary and, by implication, the rest of the democratic polity,” Soyinka said in an interview with Channels Television.

Also, Soyinka, in the interview, revealed that he had warned Obi that if he lost the presidential election, it would be as a result of his followers’ attitude.

But the Nobel laureate’s comment was met with strident criticism from Obi’s supporters, popularly known as Obidients, who took to Twitter to express their displeasure.

He also challenged Baba-Ahmed to a debate on Channels TV.

“If Channels feel up to it, I offer myself willing to engage Mr Datti – or any nominee of his – on its platform on this very bone of contention – one-on-one – without the malodorous intervention of media trolls, and with the same interviewer as mediator. That should be taken as a serious offer,” he said.

Soyinka added, “Project Nigeria, I must confess, has become near terminally soul-searing. Do I still believe in it? I am no longer certain but – first, we must rid ourselves of the tyranny of the ignorant and the opportunism of time servers. In any case, there is not much else to engage one on a foundation of ownership stakes.



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