Why I Was Absent At Arise Live Presidential Debate – Tinubu
As most Nigerians who waited eagerly yesterday to listen directly to all the leading 2023 presidential candidates continue to lament the absence of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the ruling party, All Progressives Congress, he has, through his campaign organization, explained why he did not attend the programme or send his running mate as his representative.
Though Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party also did not attend the debate, he sent his running mate, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, to represent him.
But, neither Tinubu nor, his running mate, Kashim Shettima, attended the event.
Present at the debate organised by Arise Television in collaboration with Centre for Democracy and Development, included Labour Party Presidential Candidate, Peter Obi,New Nigeria Peoples Party presidential candidate,Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, and Peoples Redemption Party’s presidential candidate, Kola Abiola.
So, in a statement released by Festus Keyamo, the Director, Public Affairs and spokesperson, Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, listed out the reasons Tinubu refused to attend the debate. The statement reads:
“The APC Presidential Candidate in the forthcoming 2023 Presidential Election, ASIWAJU BOLA AHMED TINUBU, did not attend the Presidential Debate organised by ARISE TV on Sunday, November 6, 2022, for the following reasons:
“Firstly, many radio and TV networks in Nigeria have indicated interests to host such debates and out of deference to other TV and radio stations, our candidate will not be making selective appearances in some networks, whilst ignoring others.
As President of Nigeria, by the Special Grace of God, he intends to treat all persons and businesses fairly and equally.
“Secondly, the busy and hectic campaign schedules of Asiwaju Tinubu will not permit him to honour all such invitations by different radio and TV networks, hence our decision for him not to start with one TV station and later ignore others.
“Thirdly, our candidate had long before now realised the importance of speaking directly to Nigerians and shortly after unfolding his Action Plan as President embarked on Town Hall meetings beginning with his interaction with the Business Community and other stakeholders in Kano followed by the Town Hall meeting and presentation by experts last week in Lagos.
Tomorrow, he will be interacting with Agro and Commodity Groups in Minna, Niger State.
“Whilst we thank Arise TV for the invitation, we want to assure Nigerians that we shall continue to hold these debate groups and Nigerians in high esteem.
Nigerians will hear from our candidate loud and clear through other forums.
“Lastly, out of profound respect for Nigerians, we urge all our party structures and supporters at the grassroots to continue to organise town hall meetings to educate Nigerians on the Action Plan of our candidate as we believe a grassroots-approach to reach Nigerians will also be more profound.”
As would be expected, the reasons for Tinubu’s absence have continued to elicit hot reactions from Nigerians and all other stakeholders.