‘We can disagree and still be civil’ — Moghalu apologises for choice of words in defence of Soyinka


Kingsley Moghalu, a former deputy governor of the Central
Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has apologised for his choice of words, “uncultured and
unlettered”, against the people who attacked Wole Soyinka, the Nobel laureate.


The celebrated playwright was criticised for saying that
recent remarks made by Datti Baba-Ahmed, vice-presidential candidate of the
Labour Party, contained “fascistic language”.


Baba-Ahmed, in an interview with Channels TV, on March 22,
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.


He said that Tinubu would be leading an unconstitutional
government if sworn into office because the APC candidate “has not met
requirements of the law”.


Reacting in a chat with Arise TV days after the remarks,
Soyinka said the statements were a “kind of do-or-die attitude and provocation”
that went contrary to democratic disposition.


Soyinka’s statement also generated reactions on social
media, with the supporters of Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour
Party – dubbed “Obidients” — calling out the Nobel laureate.



In response to the criticisms of Soyinka by the Obidients,
on Thursday, Moghalu said the respected playwright is a “phenomenon” that
“unlettered and uncultured people may not fully understand in an age of lazy
social media”.


 The former
presidential candidate said Soyinka is a principled fighter for justice, noting
that he would survive the undue reprimands from the Obidients movement.


However, Moghalu’s defence of Soyinka attracted a deluge of
criticisms with many casting aspersion on him because of his choice of words.


But on Friday, Moghalu said he has to apologise for his
choice of words which may have been “misconstrued as a harsh judgment on
citizens who are hurting from the outcome of the elections”.

 “In my tweet
yesterday on Prof. Wole Soyinka’s comment on Datti Baba-Ahmed’s own comments
about the 2023 presidential election, I said WS is a principled fighter for
justice and a phenomenon “that unlettered and uncultured people may not fully
understand in an age of lazy social media in which many don’t read or think
deeply,” he wrote on Twitter.


“I want to apologize for the phrase in quotation marks
which, on second thought, can be misconstrued as a harsh judgment on citizens
who are hurting from the outcome of the elections.


“That was not my intention. While we all bear responsibility
for the words we choose to use (and I have the utmost respect for Prof Soyinka
and Dr. Datti-Ahmed), I caution again, however, that there will always be
different voices with different beliefs in a democracy.


“These voices are not illegitimate simply because we
disagree with them or they do not agree either with our political preferences
or with whatever manner in which we choose to express our views. This applies
across the board to the supporters of all the leading candidates.


 “This is a difficult
time for our country, but I hope we can still be civil and measured even as we
may disagree.”


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