The Labour Party, LP, said the party’s Vice-presidential candidate, Dr. Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed has declined the challenge to a public debate with Nigeria’s renowned Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Chief Spokesperson of its Presidential Campaign Council (LP-PCC), Yunusa Tanko on Saturday.
The statement reads, “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.”
Recall that Baba-Ahmed had been under fire from the ruling party 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.
Soyinka had described Baba-Ahmed’s comment as fascist, and had on Friday, in a statement titled “Fascism on course”, challenged the LP’s VP candidate to a debate.