In a statement, yesterday, Soyinka described Shehu as a paid propagandist doing the bidding of a clueless administration with a mission to distract public attention from the complex issues of health.
Soyinka had criticised President Buhari’s lockdown order of Abuja, Lagos and Ogun states describing it as unconstitutional and urging state Assemblies and governors not to allow the Federal Government to usurp their powers.
Shehu responded to Soyinka’s criticism by insisting that the noble laureate lacked the knowledge on issues of health and should rather focus on fictional writings.
Soyinka, responding yesterday said: “Mr. Shehu Garba failed to mention a most important profession in which I am confirmed: Alarmist. Unpaid. It’s a universal function of humanity even in the midst of the worst of crises. To save me the trouble of responding to the mind boggling irrelevances of paid errand voices, a professional colleague kindly sent me an affirmative article in the New York Times. You will understand that I cannot take issues with a propagandist whose clear mission is to distract public attention from the complex issues of health – both the physiological and the mental.”
The New York Times article referred to by Soyinka raised concerns on how the global health crisis was creating an avenue for political leaders to exhibit dictatorial tendencies.
The article went on to express fear over whether the new powers acquired by heads of governments in many countries of the world, including in Nigeria will be relinquished by the end of the coronavirus pandemic.
Aside Soyinka, lawyers like Femi Falana and Ebun Adegboruwa have criticised the president’s action because it was not approved by the National Assembly. This could have forced Buhari on Monday to sign into law the COVID-19 Regulations.