Wole Soyinka, the Nobel laureate, has described the comments by Datti Baba-Ahmed, vice-presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), in a recent interview as containing “fascistic language”.
Soyinka spoke in a chat with Arise TV on Wednesday.
On March 22, Datti, in an interview with Channels TV, said the country has no president-elect despite the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announcing Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the election.
The LP vice-presidential candidate said Tinubu would be leading an unconstitutional government if sworn into office because the APC candidate “has not met requirements of the law”.
The interview has elicited criticism from political stakeholders as well as a N5 million fine for the TV station.
Adding his voice to the conversation, Soyinka described Datti’s remarks as a “kind of do-or-die attitude and provocation” that goes contrary to democratic disposition.
He said the LP vice-presidential candidate tried to “dictate to the supreme arbiter of the nation”, adding that it was unacceptable.
“I have never heard anyone threaten the judiciary on television the way Datti did. I heard the kind of menacing, blackmailing language as that to which we were treated by Datti. That kind of do-or-die attitude and provocation is not what I think we have all been struggling for,” Soyinka said.
“Nearly the totality of Datti’s comment in the interview was unbecoming. It was like trying to dictate to the supreme arbiter of the nation, and whatever you think of the supreme court, it is an institution we all refer to sooner or later.
“But Datti kept saying, in his wisdom, that the supreme court must agree with me. That is what is known as fascistic language and it is not acceptable.”