The National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has said it would have been demeaning for its presidential candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari, to stand on the same podium with his main rival in next month general elections, former vice president and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar for a public Debate.
Tribune Online checks revealed that the former vice-president who was at the venue of the presidential debate held at Transcorp Hilton hotel, Abuja at the weekend took his exit when there was no signal that President Buhari would show up.
Those who participated in the the debates, organised by the Nigerian Election Debate Group, (NEDG) were of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, Oby Ezekwesili; Alliance for New Nigeria, Fela Durotoye; and the Young Progressives Party, Kingsley Moghalu.
But addressing newsmen yesterday in Abuja, Mallam Lanre Isa-Onilu, the National Publicity Secretary of the APC said it would have been an insult for President Buhari to be dragged in a debate with Alhaji Abubakar and the other presidential candidates.
Mallam Onilu declared that “debate may be important to people who are seeking power, not for somebody who has a lot speaking for him already.”
He declared that President Buhari would on his own terms choose the platforms to use to sell his candidacy to Nigerians.
He said: “The president doesn’t have to give any reason at all for not attending that debate. Let me reiterate as I have said earlier that the debate is just one of several platforms available to our candidate to engage with the public. We can’t exhaust all the platforms. So, we pick the platforms that are most impactful and we are the one to determine which platform to use!
“Debate with who? What an insult! For the president to come and debate with who? The debate the president is having is what he did that morning in Niger state. The people of Niger State can look up to a brighter future. The people of this country, everywhere they go can see development, they can see projects going on.
“So, these are the debates that the president is already engaging with the public. So, that particular debate may be important to people who are seeking power, not for somebody who has a lot speaking for him already.
ALSO READ: BREAKING: Presidential debate: Atiku walks out, blames action on Buhari’s absence
“So, for us in APC, debate as fantastic an idea as it is, it is just one of the several options for our candidate to engage with the public. There are many platforms we have used and many we are still going to use, there are many that we may not use. .It is just up to us to pick and chose the platform that will serve our best interest.
“We aren’t in the same class with Atiku and PDP. To come and share the same stage with people who ruined this country? To talk about what? The same people who started several projects and it became conduit pipe for them to steal money?”
Onilu further alleged that the PDP presidential candidate was not interested in any debate but wanted to use the platform to pour invectives on President Buhari.
“The original objective of the people who put the debate in place is to ensure that you come and discuss your policies and programmes and you also point out the weakness or you puncture the policies and programmes of your opponent, not to attack the person. It is also very disappointing and a display of arrogance for Atiku to think that the other aspirants who were at the debate yesterday didn’t matter.
“It was only President Muhammadu Buhari that matters. And we thought that even if that was the case, he should be about the policies of the president and not seeing the President there should have given him the opportunity to tear those policies and programmes to pieces
“It wasn’t a good thing for the president earlier that day to have commissioned Baro port in Niger State which for 16 years of PDP was just a pipe dream. He should have come to tell us that wasn’t good enough.
“Of course, he wasn’t going to discuss policies and programmes with the president, he was going to attack the president.
Atiku is the face of the dark era that this country has witnessed, he personifies that era and all with him are going to be consigned to the dust bin of history. “
The post It would have been demeaning for Buhari to debate with Atiku ― APC appeared first on Tribune Online.