Soyinka wrong for labelling Baba-Ahmed’s comments fascist — Chimamanda

Chimamanda Adichie

Renowned novelist Chimamanda Adichie has disagreed with Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka that the vice-presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the February 25 poll Datti Baba-Ahmed made fascist remarks.

“Because I respect Soyinka a lot, I went back and watched the interview again. I think fascism is a really strong word, which often made me think of (Benito) Mussolini of Italy, we use it now. I do not see any reason Datti Baba-Ahmed’s interview should be termed fascist,” she said in an interview on Arise TV on Tuesday night.

“I think he was making a very strong and fair point about the election and he was saying, which again, I thought is fairly reasonable, that if our democracy is rooted in the constitution and you then swear in a person who is being elected unconstitutionally, and you are in fact ending democracy. I think it is quite a reasonable position. Of course, we can argue about what that means in the constitution.

“I am very grateful for this whole election period because it made me read things I probably would not have, such as the Nigerian constitution and also made me have quite a few suggestions for editing. I think now we are talking about what ‘and’ means. So Mr. Ahmed Datti-Baba is saying that it is two-third and the FCT and that’s separate and it’s a reasonable argument.

“You know ‘and’ is a conjunction and we use it in that context often to mean plural. So we say ‘Aisha and Yemi are coming’ and we don’t say ‘Aisha and Yemi is coming’. That is because they are two separate things, two separate entities and of course the court will interpret.

“I don’t think it unreasonable for educated Nigerians who can read, who know what the word ‘and’ means to make their own interpretations and to argue it and of course the fact that the Labour Party is in court means they do not believe that this election is constitutional and I didn’t quite see how it should be termed fascist.”

Chimamanda, who had earlier written an article addressed to US President Joe Biden, spoke further on it.

“I wrote the letter to preserve this truth and call out the United States for what I consider two-facedness when it comes to Africa. They criticise African countries for being undemocratic and endorse the undemocratic process,” she said.