The presidential debate organised by the Nigeria Elections Debate Group (NEDG) and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) has kicked off in Abuja.
President Muhammadu Buhari, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and his Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, counterpart, are conspicuously absent.
Atiku was at the venue of the debate but had to walk out on realising that his main challenger, Buhari was not present.
While Atiku had in a statement explained his reasons for boycotting the debate, the APC candidate, Buhari was yet to make any comment on the reason for his absence.
Candidates present are; Fela Durotoye of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), Oby Ezekwesili of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) and Kingsley Moghalu of the Young Progressives Party (YPP)
The debate is going on at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.
Former Vice President and presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar, has withdrawn from the ongoing presidential debate.
He lambasted President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for not attending, insisting there was no point taking part in the debate.
A statement he released reads: “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.
“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.
“As a leader and former vice president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, let me first apologise to all Nigerians, my fellow candidates and the moderator for the the APC Presidential Candidates absence in this debate. His non-appearance is a slight on ALL of us and our democracy.
“Secondly, with all due respect to my fellow candidates, Fela Durotoye, Oby Ezekwesili, Kingsley Moghalu and to the moderator and with all apologies to my Fellow 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.
“I however challenge the President Buhari to choose a date and time for a debate where he will be present and I will be there, hopefully with the other candidates as well.
“Thank you and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Reno Omokri, former aide of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, has blasted President Muhammadu Buhari for refusing to attend the ongoing presidential debate.
Omokri slammed Buhari ‘chickening’ out of the debate.
He, however, commended the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, for arriving the venue despite his trip from the United States, US.
Abubakar had walked away from the debate after learning that Buhari, who is the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, won’t be attending.
In a tweet, Omokri wrote: “Atiku flew for 12 hours after a gruelling but rewarding trip to the US.
“He arrived the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton only to discover that @MBuhari wasn’t there. He is there physically and ready to take part in #2019Debate, but participating won’t make sense if PMB chickened out.”
They believe that the people of Nigeria have no voice & no choice. That you will always come back to them. The second reason they are not here is because they cannot answer the questions. – Moghalu on Buhari and Atiku’s absence at Presidential Debate.
So @atiku Abubakar flew thousands of miles away from America, refreshed himself & still came for #2019Debate but Muhammadu Buhari could not shift his lazy, incompetent & sorry ass to attend from #AsoRock
Buhari is going #BackToDaura. Presidential Debates MUST BE MADE COMPULSORY