Both President Muhammadu Buhari who is the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have shunned the live presidential debate organised in Abuja.
While feelers had been sent out previously by the APC suggesting the president would not participate, Atiku had expressed his preparedness to debate with the president.
The former Vice President Indeed showed up at the Transcorp Hilton venue of the event but declined to mount the podium because he did not see Buhari there.
He said he could not challenge an administration where the man at the helms of affairs was not present to defend it.
Atiku in a statement he issued after he walked out explaining why he had to leave 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 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.
“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.”
However, Kingsley Moghalu Young Progressive Party (YPP), Fela Durotoye of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) and Oby Ezekwesili of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) squared up against themselves, taking questions from the moderator as well as from selected -NewsBreak.