The All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) has given the reason its presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was absent at a live presidential debate on Sunday.
Truetells Nigeria reports that the debate/town hall meeting was organised by Arise Television in partnership with the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD).
The organisers had invited the four leading presidential candidates in the 2023 elections to speak on their plans for the country. The event was held at the Congress Hall, Transcorp Hilton in Abuja.
Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP), and Kola Abiola of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) attended the meeting.
While the APC Presidential candidate was absent, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) flagbearer, Atiku Abubakar, who is out of the country, was represented by his running mate, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa.
In a statement on Sunday night, the Chief Spokesman of the APC PCC, Festus Keyamo, said Tinubu failed to attend the event because he does not want to be unfair and selective in appearing on radio and television networks.
The Minister of State for Labour and Employment stated that Tinubu’s busy and hectic campaign schedules will not permit him to attend debates organised by different radio and TV televisions.
Keyamo added that the APC presidential candidate has realised the importance of speaking directly to Nigerians by embarking on Town Hall meetings instead of attending debates.
The statement reads: “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 interest 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 (Monday), 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.”