The president of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar has shunned Saturday’s presidential debate organised by the Nigeria Elections Debate Group (NEDG) and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria because incumbent President and candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Muhammadu Buhari dodged the event.
The debate was scheduled to hold at the Congress Hall of the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja at 7.00pm.
Less than two hours to the start of the debate, Buhari’s Assistant on New Media, Bashir Ahmed, had tweeted that the president was in Jos, Plateau State, where he was campaigning for his re-election.
In a tweet on his verified Twitter handle, shortly after he walked out of the presidential debate venue, Abubakar said he decided not to take part in the debate due to the absence of Mr. Buhari.
He apologized to his fellow candidates, Fela Durotoye, Oby Ezekwesili, Kingsley Moghalu & to moderator Mark Sugar and to “Nigerians here & at home expecting an interesting debate, I regret I will not be able to go on with this debate due to President Buhari’s absence.
“I, however, challenge 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,” he said.
The PDP presidential candidate had earlier said he will only take part in the debate if Mr. Buhari would also participate.
The Executive Secretary of NEDG, Edidi Emesiri, had in a statement listed candidates to debate alongside Buhari to include those of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, Oby Ezekwesili; Alliance for New Nigeria, Fela Durotoye, Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar and Young Progressives Party, Kingsley Moghalu.
According to him, the running mates of all the candidates will take the stage on December 14, 2018.
Recall that the Coalition for United Political Parties had, on Thursday, alleged that the president was planning to dodge the debate.