President Muhammadu Buhari could not attend the 2019 Debate organised for Presidential Candidates on Saturday night because the event clashed with his other major activities .
The Spokesperson for the Presidential Campaign Council of the All Progressives Congress , Festus Keyamo , stated this in a statement on Sunday night .
The event was organised by the Nigeria Election Debate Group and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria .
Giving reasons for the president’ s absence , the statement said , “ Firstly , out of several opportunities afforded our candidate to interact with the Nigerian people directly by different organisations , our presidential candidate has taken full advantage of another town – hall meeting organised by another group which held on Wednesday , January 16 , 2019 .
“ He was also joined at that town -hall meeting by our Vice – Presidential candidate who is also the Vice – President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria , Professor Yemi Osinbajo , SAN .
“ Nigerians from all walks of life who were physically present and through on -line platforms asked uncensored questions which were adequately answered . It was also transmitted live by various broadcast networks in Nigeria .
“ In addition, the busy and hectic official and campaign schedules of Mr . President clashed with this programme . Today , Mr . President commissioned the Baro Inland Water Port in Niger State and campaigned in Niger and Plateau States where his time was over – stretched by the tumultuous and mammoth crowds in both States , ( as seen by Nigerians on live television ) and only returned to Abuja late this evening.
The council , however , said the reason given by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alh . Atiku Abubakar , was untenable as it showed he had no programe for the country .
“ We note the statement of the candidate of the PDP , Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who actually came for the event and left the venue when he did not see Mr . President , who is our candidate . According to him , he would not want to “ attack ” Mr . President in his absence .
“ It should now be obvious to Nigerians that for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the PDP , this election is all about attacking the person and programmes of Mr . President and not about proffering their own solutions to the problems they created during their sixteen years of misrule , maladministration and looting of the nation’ s resources .
“ When they cannot see President Buhari to attack , the content of their campaign becomes hollow , empty and “ full of sound and fury , signifying nothing ” . Now that Atiku Abubakar had a unique opportunity to explain to Nigerians his own vision and mission without a President Buhari in the picture , he ran away. Afterall , he has his own eight years of crass and grand corruption as Vice President to defend before the Nigerian people .
“ On February 16 , 2019 we urge Nigerians to demonstrate to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the PDP , through their votes , how empty indeed their campaign has always been and to vote massively for President Muhammadu Buhari and Prof . Yemi Osinbajo , SAN who have started the rebuilding process of our great nation. ”
The PCC thanked the organisers for the invitation , assuring Nigerians to continue to hold the debate groups and Nigerians in high esteem which Buhari has demonstrated during past election debates when he honoured similar invitations .
“ Nigerians will also recall that a few weeks ago , our Vice – Presidential candidate , Prof . Yemi Osinbajo , also attended the debate organised by the same organisations , ” the statement added .
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