Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode has condemned a recent statement made by the presidency of Nigeria against Noble Laureate, Wole Soyinka.
Naija News reported earlier that Nigerian playwright, poet, Akinwande Oluwole Babatunde Soyinka, better known as Wole Soyinka, has slammed President Muhammadu Buhari over the lockdown of three states in the country.
According to the professor, President Buhari had no constitutional backing to make such declaration, denying the governors from exercising their authorities over their respective states as regards Coronavirus outbreak.
Reacting to the above statement by Professor Wole Soyinka, the Presidency in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu on Wednesday told Nigerians to shun every statement from the noble laureate and only trust details coming from scientists and medical specialists as regard Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Garba Shehu slammed Soyinka and asked him to put aside his every critic on measures the government is taking to curb the spread of the global pandemic, rather he should wait after the end of the fight against the virus to write a play.
The presidential aide said this in a statement on April 1, noting that Wole Soyinka’s only qualification is English Literature which makes him a writer and not a doctor or any scientist, hence any advise coming from him at this time the country is battling with the pandemic should be disregarded.
The statement read: “Yesterday, the esteemed Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, made comments on the legal status and description of 14-day lockdown announced by President Muhammadu Buhari.”
“Yesterday, the esteemed Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, made comments on the legal status and description of 14-day lockdown announced by President Muhammadu Buhari.”
“Professor Soyinka is not a medical professor. His qualifications are in English literature, and his prizes are for writing books and plays for theatres. ”He is, of course, entitled to his opinions – but that is exactly all they are: semantics, not science. They cannot – and should not – therefore be judged as professional expertise in this matter in any shape or form.”
“Across the world – from parts of the United States and China to countries including the United Kingdom and France, government-mandated lockdowns are in place to slow and defeat the spread of coronavirus. All have been declared, and all have been made necessary, based on medical and scientific evidence.”
“The guidance of the Nigerian Government’s medical specialists is to advise the same. “Professor Soyinka has also declared, doubtless based on his specialism as a playwright, that ‘We are not in a war emergency’, Eminent scientists say otherwise.
“Dr Richard Hatchett, Head of the International Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (and former Director of the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority) has said, ‘War is an appropriate analogy’.”
“Professor Anthony Fauci, Director of the United States National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force has said of the battle against the pandemic: ‘It’s almost like the fog of war’.”
“As for the legality of the lockdown, the Government of Nigeria’s primary duty in law and action is the defence of the people of Nigeria. We face a global pandemic. Nigeria is now affected. ”The scientific and medical guidance the world over is clear: the way to defeat the virus is to halt its spread through the limitation of movement of people.
Shehu added; “Perhaps Wole Soyinka may write a play on the coronavirus pandemic after this emergency is over. In the meantime, we ask the people of Nigeria to trust the words of our doctors and scientists – and not fiction writers – at this time of national crisis.”
On his part, Fan-Kayode took to his verified Twitter handle to berate the statement by the Presidency, noting that Wole Soyinka in 2015 supported the presidential candidate of All Progressive Congress (APC), Muhammadu Buhari, and was loudly hailed for doing so, but now that the tide has turned against his led administration, they call him names.
He said: “When he supported you in 2015 you hailed & praised him. Now that he has criticised you publicly about your handling of the Covid 19 pandemic you call him a “mere fiction writer” that “no-one should listen to”. That is a Nobel Laureate: a man whose shoes you are not fit to lick.”
See tweet below:
When he supported you in 2015 you hailed & praised him. Now that he has criticised you publicly about your handling of the Covid 19 pandemic you call him a "mere fiction writer" that "no-one should listen to". That is a Nobel Laureate: a man whose shoes you are not fit to lick.
— Femi Fani-Kayode (@realFFK) April 1, 2020