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Politics Updated: April 07, 2023

2023 Presidency: Soyinka Issues Challenge To LP's Baba-Ahmed

By Sydney Elike
April 07, 2023
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The vice presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, has been challenged to a live debate by Professor Wole Soyinka.

The Nobel laureate issued the challenge in a statement on Friday following the backlash trailing his criticism of Baba-Ahmed's recent comments.

He also condemned the N5 million fine on Channels TV by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) over Baba-Ahmed's scathing remarks on the President-elect, Bola Tinubu.

Speaking on the challenge, Soyinka said Baba-Ahmed or anyone he nominates is free to go toe-to-toe with him on live television to talk about the issue being discussed.

“May I seize this opportunity, by the way, to condemn the sanctions imposed on Channels Television which anchored the performance of the LP candidate.

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“As stated, I watched the programme keenly – saw the valiant efforts of the interviewer to ensure fair hearing.

“I fail to understand just where the station could be faulted, except from a disposition for injustice.

“To sustain that penalty is to give joy to others who turn the internet into a soakaway for their rancid emissions, yet feel that others should be silenced.

“If Channels feels up to it, I offer myself willing to engage Mr Datti – or any nominee of his - on its platform on this very bone of contention – one-on-one – without the malodorous intervention of media trolls, and with the same interviewer as mediator. That should be taken as a serious offer.

 “Project Nigeria, I must confess, has become near terminally soul-searing. Do I still believe in it? I am no longer certain but - first, we must rid ourselves of the tyranny of the ignorant and the opportunism of time servers.

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“In any case, there is not much else to engage one on a foundation of ownership stakes.

 “There is of course, always the possibility of a Revolution, with a clarity of purpose and acceptance of all attendant risks, including costly errors.

“Revolutions are not however based on the impetus of speculative power entitlement.

 “No matter, until that moment, the structures that ensure just and equitable cohabitation must be protected from partisan appropriation - be it from material inducement, fake news, or verbal terrorism – the last being the contribution of one who is positioned to assume co-leadership of the nation, no less.

“Revolution is not about lining up behind the nearest available symbol.

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“When a symbol does emerge, however, we are still obliged to examine every aspect of what is fortuitously on offer and continue to guard our freedoms every inch of the way.

 “Before I take myself off for – well, next port of call – the final word goes to a favourite maverick, propagated even as he matched his words by action.

“I suspect that in this instance we find ourselves on opposite sides of the strategic fence – that is democracy.

“This now coopted watchword of his formulation remains apt, applicable to all who strive for authentic social transformation: Your mumu done do!”, he stated.

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Sydney Elike

Sydney is a graduate of Theatre Arts, a writer, a movie buff, an avid reader, a video game enthusias...

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