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#2019Debate: Why Buhari, Atiku shunned presidential debate



Details have emerged on why the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress , President Muhammadu Buhari, and the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party , Atiku Abubakar , stayed away from the debate organised by the Nigeria Elections Debate Group and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria .
It was learnt that Buhari was advised by his campaign team to stay away from the debate after what was perceived as a poor outing on Wednesday ’ s town hall meeting titled , ‘ The Candidate’ , which was moderated by ace journalist , Kadariah Ahmed .

At the town hall meeting which Buhari attended alongside Vice – President Yemi Osinbajo , the President failed to properly answer some questions asked , causing the Vice – President to bail him out on several occasions .

A source close to Buhari said , “ The President wanted to come but you can see that he is not ready to debate some people . It is better for him to miss the debate so that his words would not be used against him . After all , silence cannot be quoted . ”

The source said the President had already told Nigerians what he wanted to do at the last town hall and that was enough .

“ You want the President to go up against motivational speakers who do this for a living ? You want him to give them a platform to lambast him ? No way! The elections will be won on the field and not on a podium . ”

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Atiku , it was learnt, had arrived from the United States at least four hours before the event .

He proceeded to the Transcorp Hotel where the event was taking place but immediately it was discovered that Buhari would not be attending the event , he made a u -turn and stormed out of the event .

In a series of tweets , Atiku wrote , “ 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 .

“ 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 APC Presidential candidate ’ s absence in this debate. His non – appearance is a slight on all of us and our democracy .

“ With respect to my fellow candidates , Fela Durotoye , Oby Ezekwesili , Kingsley Moghalu to moderator Mark Sugar and with apologies to Nigerians here and 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 .

“ 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 .

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The three Presidential candidates at the debate including a former Minister of Education , Mrs . Oby Ezekwesili , motivational speaker , Mr Fela Durotoye , and a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria , Kingsley Moghalu .

The three candidates are known to be eloquent speakers .

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