President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday gave reasons why he was absent at the presidential debate organised by the Nigeria Election Debate Group and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON).
Spokesperson of the APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), Barrister Festus Keyamo, said the President was absent because his schedules clashed with the debate and the fact that he had participated in a town-hall meeting that afforded him the opportunity to interact directly with Nigerians.
“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 organized 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. 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,” he said.
In addition, Keyamo said the hectic official and campaign schedules of Buhari clashed with the debate.
“Today, (yesterday) 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 and only returned to Abuja late this evening.
“Whilst we thank the organisers for the invitation, we want to assure Nigerians that we shall continue to hold these debate groups and Nigerians in high esteem which our candidate 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 organized by the same organisations,” he said.
He added that the statement of Atiku on the absence of Buhari “showed that he and his party, the PDP have nothing to offer the country”.