Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), on Saturday walked out of the Nigeria Election Debate Group, citing the absence of President Muhammadu Buhari, the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate as reason for his decision.
The former vice president stormed at the venue with PDP heavyweights, including the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
Atiku stated that he regretted cutting short his trip to the United States to debate with Buhari.
He said, “We came here for a Presidential debate, not a candidacy debate, and I, Atiku Abubakar, cannot challenge or question an administration where the man at the helms of the affairs of the nation is not present to defend himself or his policies. After all, you cannot shave a man’s head in his absence.
“I do not believe in attacking a man who is NOT here to defend himself. As a leader and former vice president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, let me first apologise to all Nigerians, my fellow candidates and the moderator for the APC Presidential Candidates absence in this debate. His non-appearance is a slight on ALL of us and our democracy.
“Secondly, with all due respect to my fellow candidates, Fela Durotoye, Oby Ezekwesili, Kingsley Moghalu and to the moderator and with all apologies to my Fellow Nigerians here and at home expecting an interesting debate, I regret that I will not be able to go on with this debate due to President Buhari’s absence.
“I, however, challenge the President Buhari to choose a date and time for a debate where he will be present and I will be there, hopefully with the other candidates as well.
Thank you and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
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— Atiku Abubakar (@atiku) January 19, 2019