Renowned Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka has issued a challenge to Labour Party’s Vice Presidential candidate, Datti Baba-Ahmed, for a one-on-one debate. This challenge comes in response to Baba-Ahmed’s recent statement that was criticized by Soyinka.
Baba-Ahmed had made a statement during an interview on Channels TV, where he expressed that “whoever swears in Mr. Tinubu” would “end democracy” in Nigeria. This statement did not sit well with Soyinka, who described it as “fascistic language” in an interview with Channels Television.
Soyinka also revealed in the same interview that he had warned Peter Obi, whose ticket with Baba-Ahmed emerged third in the February 25 presidential election, that the behavior of his followers could impact the outcome of the election.
However, Soyinka’s comments were met with criticism from Obi’s supporters, known as “Obidients,” who expressed their displeasure on Twitter.
Soyinka also condemned the N5 million fine imposed on Channels TV for their interview with Baba-Ahmed, in a statement titled “Fascism on course.” He stated that he failed to understand why the station was penalized, as he had watched the interview and found the interviewer’s efforts to ensure fair hearing commendable.
In his statement, Soyinka challenged Baba-Ahmed to a one-on-one debate on Channels TV without the interference of media trolls, with the same interviewer as mediator.
Soyinka further expressed his concerns about the state of Nigeria, stating that he was no longer certain if he believed in the idea of “Project Nigeria.” He emphasized the need to protect the structures that ensure just and equitable cohabitation from partisan appropriation, material inducement, fake news, and verbal terrorism.
He also highlighted that revolution is not about blindly following a symbol, but rather critically examining all aspects of what is being offered, while continuing to safeguard freedoms every step of the way.