The opposition People’s Democratic Party presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar said he shunned the presidential debate because the ruling All Progressives Congress candidate President Muhammadu Buhari who is “at the helm of the affairs of the nation is not present to defend himself or his policies.”
“We came here for a Presidential debate, not a candidacy debate, and I, Atiku Abubakar can not challenge or question an administration where the man at the helm of the affairs of the nation is not present to defend himself or his policies,” Atiku said in a statement on Saturday. ” After all you cannot shave a man’s head in his absence.
I do not believe in attacking a man who is NOT here to defend himself.” he added.
The former vice president and presidential hopeful said the president’s “non-appearance is a slight on ALL of us and our democracy.” “With all due respect to my fellow candidates, Fela Durotoye, Oby Ezekwesili, Kingsley Moghalu and to the moderator Mark Sugar and with apologies to all Nigerians here and at home expecting an interesting debate, I regret that I will not be able to go on with this debate due to President Buhari’s absence,” he stated.
He, however, challenged the president to choose a date and time for a debate where he will be present.
Abubakar and Buhari shunned the presidential debate which is ongoing at Congress Hall of the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja where they were expected to state their plans and intentions to Nigerians if they are voted in the forthcoming election.
The former vice president who was present at the venue left when he learnt President Buhari was not present.
Present at the debate was the presidential candidate of the Alliance for New Nigeria, Fela Durotoye, the presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria(ACPN)Obiageli Ezekwesili and the presidential candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), Kingsley Moghalu.