The vice presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, has declined the call to a public debate with Nigeria’s renowned Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka.
Baba-Ahmed was under fire over his comments on Channels Television last month that it would be undemocratic to swear in Ahmed Bola Tinubu as Nigeria’s president come 29 May 2023.
In reaction to Baba-Ahmed’s comment, Soyinka described it as fascist.
On Friday, Soyinka, in a statement titled “Fascism on course”, challenged the LP’s VP candidate to a debate.
But, Baba-Ahmed, in a statement on Saturday by the Obi-Datti Media Office, said he could not take up Soyinka’s offer of a public debate due to political and cultural reasons.
“Therefore, we state that the Labour Party’s vice-presidential candidate, Dr Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, cannot take up Prof. Soyinka’s offer of a public debate, not out of cowardice, but for cultural and political reasons. Culturally it’s just not decent, their age and accomplishment gaps taken into account, for Datti to sit opposite the 88-year-old global icon and point out his folly to his face, even if the older man called for it. And politically, there is no basis for such a challenge because Prof. is not on the opposite ballots”, the statement partly reads.