Presidential candidate of the People’s Trust (PT), Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, on Sunday said that the failure of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), President Muhammadu Buhari and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) to appear at a presidential Debate in Abuja on Saturday amounted to contempt of the electorate.
Olawepo-Hashim, who also challenged the two parties to a fresh debate said that the NEDG.BON must immediately set up a new debate featuring his party and the two big parties.
He said: “Nigerian electorate deserve to scrutinise the candidates and programmes of the two behemoths that have come to be known as the two evils of Nigerian politics. Their absence under whatever excuse(s) shows their contempt for the electorate.”
Olawepo-Hashim, whose party is also known as the Third Force, and who had earlier protested his exclusion from the debate said that he was volunteering to enter into a debate with the APC and PDP candidates at any location of their choice.
He also praised the candidates of the three candidates who appeared at the debate, declaring that they gave good accounts of themselves.
According to Mr Hashim, “Nigerian electorate deserve to scrutinise the candidates and programmes of the two behemoths that have come to be known as the “two evils of Nigerian politics. Their absence under whatever excuse(s) shows their contempt for the electorate.
The PT presidential candidate, however, congratulated the candidates of the ACPN, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili; YPP, Mr Kinsley Moghalu and ANN, Mr Fela Durotoye for “their brilliant performance at the debate.”
“The three candidates advertised to the world, a teaser of what stuff new generation of political leaders are made of,” he said.
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Mr Olawepo-Hashim called on the NEDG/BON to immediately organise another debate to include People’s Trust, the biggest of the newly registered political parties that had been unfairly excluded.
“We have complained about this in the past, a new debate will be a good way to cure the debate platform of that error. There is no problem in making a mistake by excluding us, but it will be dishonourable not to seize a good opportunity to correct your error.”
The PT presidential candidate further called on the organisers to also include promising candidates like Omoyele Sowore and others who may be interested in the next round of the debate.
According to him, it is fundamental not to allow the APC and PDP escape public scrutiny which a debate symbolises.
Olawepo-Hashim added that it will not even matter if the APC is represented at the proposed debate by another person other than the President Buhari, whom he said may be afraid of public scrutiny due to his obvious display of lack of presence of mind in recent public outings.
“We are persuaded now that we can excuse Mr Buhari; all we want is to scrutinise APC’s record at a proper presidential debate. Nigerians have a right to that debate,” Olawepo-Hashim said.
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