Atiku Abubakar a former Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the current Presidential Aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has walked out of the Presidential Debate 2019 scheduled to hold today, the 19th day of January 2019.
The 2019 Presidential debate is organized by the Nigeria Elections Debate Group (NEDG) in collaboration with the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) and is holding in FCT Abuja.
Atiku Abubakar who left the venue of the event few minutes after appearing gave reasons for his leaving to be because President Muhammadu Buhari was not present at the event.
We will recall that in 2015, President Buhari did not participate in the 2015 Presidential debate and therefore did not afford Nigerian the opportunity to hear and understand his policies and what he intended to do once he enters the office. He has equally repeated the same thing and probably is no longer tolerated by the PDP.
In the 2015 Presidential Debate, the incumbent President at that time in the person of Former President Goodluck Jonathan attended the debate and defended himself before Nigerians.
Atiku when speaking about his departure said,
“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 apologize to all Nigerians, my fellow candidates and the moderator for the APC Presidential Candidate’s 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”.
Nigerians have also reacted to the development as regards the Presidential Debate 2019 on Twitter.
We came here for a Presidential debate, not a candidacy debate, and I, Atiku Abubakar cannot 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. #2019Debate pic.twitter.com/crperoO3tT
— Atiku Abubakar (@atiku) January 19, 2019
In my opinion, all candidates should have boycotted this #2019debate until Buhari decides to show up. President Buhari has over time shown gross disregard for the people of Nigeria & this needs to stop. I do not blame Atiku one bit for not coming on. #Presidentialdebate2019
— FAVOUR ONYEOZIRI (GCFR) (@Rouvafe) January 19, 2019
Last 48 hours, @Atiku has shown he lacks leadership
Snuck into America like a thief in the night.
Snuck out of the #Presidentialdebate2019 when he knew he’d be floored by @obyezeks, @feladurotoye and @MoghaluKingsley…
— Mr. Aye Dee (@MrAyeDee) January 19, 2019
I agree with @atiku. It is a presidential debate, not a candidacy debate. Without @MBuhari there, the whole thing is a charade. With respect, none of @obyezeks, @feladurotoye or @MoghaluKingsley is a force to reckon with in this election and they know it. #PresidentialDebate2019
— AbujaLawyer (@KelechiOparaku) January 19, 2019