Soyinka Lacks Restraint In Language Usage — Chimamanda Kicks Against Fascist Comment

Award-winning author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has faulted Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka for describing Labour Party’s vice-presidential candidate, Datti Baba-Ahmed’s comment on the general elections as fascist.

Information Nigeria had reported Soyinka slammed the Baba-Ahmed’s call to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Chief Justice of Nigeria not to swear-in president-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Baba-Ahmed had insisted that declaring Tinubu the winner and issuing him a certificate of return was against the unconstitutional, adding Nigeria has no president-elect.

Soyinka, however in his reaction, described such statement as unacceptable because it alienates the people, and it is a ‘fascistic language.’

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But Chimamanda reacting in an interview with Arise Television, said she has a lot of respect for Soyinka, but strongly disagrees with his take on Baba-Ahmed’s comment.

“I have a lot of respect for Prof. Soyinka, I admire him, I respect him as a thinker, as a writer, I think every one should read the The Man Died, Ake: The Memoir is beautiful, but at the same time, I disagree with him very strongly on this particular issue, and actually because I respect Prof. Soyinka so much, I went back and watch the interview, and I think fascist is a really strong word.

“We use it now to address this sort of authoritarianism that is often populist, and right-wing like Hungary, and even the former American president, and if you look at those situations, you can see why they have been termed fascist, and I didn’t see any reason Mr. Datti Baba-Ahmed’s interview would have been termed fascist.

“I think he was making a very strongly felt point about the election. I think a charitable way of reading Prof. Soyinka’s comments is that Professor Soyinka himself, I think it’s fair to say he is not given to restraint in language, in general, so maybe that’s where that word fascist came from.”

“However, I have suggestions for what we could use fascist for, we could use fascist for INEC, because as it is right now, many Nigerians feel deeply cheated by INEC, deeply disenfranchised by INEC, and that is authoritarianism which obviously is the basis of fascism at the centre of manipulating an election because what you’re doing is that you’re gagging people, you’re forcibly taking away their voice, that is fascist,” she noted.