The Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar has refused to participate in the ongoing presidential debate organised by the Nigeria Election Debate Group (NEDG) following the absence of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), president Muhammadu Buhari.
Atiku, who returned to the country today from the United States, in a statement issued Saturday evening said he was at the Congress hall of Hilton Hotel Abuja,venue of the debate only to learn that president Buhari will not attend the debate. He said he walked out of the debate in protest of the president’s absence. He, however apologised to Nigerians for leaving the debate and said he is open to debating with the president at any time and venue of his choosing.
Read full statement.
“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 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.
“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.
Thank you and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”