Our reporter/ The Obi-Datti media campaign office on Saturday said the there are no political basis for vice-presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed to debate with Prof. Wole Soyinka on the outcome of the February 25 presidential election.
Reacting to a one-on-one debate challenge to Datti Ahmed by the Nobel laureate over his views on the constitutionality of inaugurating President-elect, Bola Tinubu, the campaign told Soyinka to instead bring his preferred candidates to debate the LP vice-presidentialcandidate.
In a statement on Saturday, the Obi-Datti campaign said the LP vice-presidential candidate decision not to take Soyinka up on his offer was not out of cowardice but for cultural and political reasons as Datti will not like “to sit opposite the 88 year-old global icon and point out his folly to his face, even if the old man called for it”.
The statement further stated that another reasons Datti Ahmed would not debate the celebrated writer is that he was not on any of the opposing ballots in the election but that if Soyinka could use his influence to bring out his preferred candidates for the debate, he was willing to take them on.
Baba-Ahmed had on Wednesday, March 22, while speaking on Channels Television programme called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the Chief Justice of Nigeria not to swear in Tinubu, whom INEC declared as the President-Elect, insisting that declaring Tinubu the winner and issuing him a certificate of return was against the constitution.
The LP vice-presidential candidate went on to stress that “whoever swears in Mr Tinubu” has “ended democracy” in Nigeria, a position that did not sit well with Soyinka and the Tinubu campaign.
Reacting to Baba-Ahmed’s controversial position, the Nobel laureate described the remarks as a “kind of do-or-die attitude and provocation” that goes contrary to democratic disposition.
He further labeled the LP vice-presidential candidate a fascist who tried to “dictate to the supreme arbiter of the nation.”
The full text of the statement by the Obi-Datti Media campaign is published below…
DATTI BABA-AHMED WILL NOT DEBATE PROF. SOYINKA.
Like many Nigerians we are bewildered by the late hour intervention of our respected Nobel laureate Prof Wole Soyinka in issues around the flawed 2023 elections.
Where was he all this while? One of those who should ordinarily and rightfully be honoured as the conscience of the nation, Prof. Soyinka is now criminalising dissent and infact weighing in on the side of fraud and injustice! We state therefore that the vice-presidential candidate of Labour Party, 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 old man called for it. And politically there is no basis for such a challenge in that Prof. is not on any of the opposite ballots.
If however he can use his influence to drag his preferred candidates, who resisted debates throughout the campaign, to the studio this second, Datti says he is more than willing to take them on.
Signed: Obi-Datti Media Office.
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