The Labour Party, on Saturday released a statement in response to the offer by Professor Wole Soyinka to debate Datti Baba-Ahmed, the running mate of Peter Obi in the Labour Party.
The party said Datti Baba-Ahmed would not debate Professor Wole Soyinka unless Soyinka brought along his preferred presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Yunusa Tanko, the spokesman of the Labour Party Presidential Council signed the statement on behalf of the Labour Party.
See the statement below:
“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 Professor Wole Soyinka had condemned Datti Ahmed’s interview with Channels TV and referred to the stance of Ahmed as “Fascist”.
Soyinka, while condemning the 15million Naira fine placed on Channels TV by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), had subsequently offered to debate Ahmed on the issues raised in the interview.