The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar has said he refused to participate in the presidential debate on Saturday due to President Buhari’s absence.
Atiku, who was at Congress Hall of the Hilton (venue of the presidential debate), left before the debate started after hearing that Buhari wouldn’t be attending.
The PDP flagbearer has now described Buhari’s absence at the debate as a “slight on democracy and Nigerians”. He also apologized to Nigerians on behalf of Buahri.
In a statement released by Atiku on his social media handle, he challenged Buhari to pick a new date and place as he is ready to debate him anywhere.
“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 helm of the affairs of the nation is not present to defend himself or his policies,” the statement read.
“Afterall, 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 Candidate’s absence in this debate. His non-appearance is a slight on ALL of us and our democracy.
“With respect to my fellow candidates, Fela Durotoye, Oby Ezekwesili, Kingsley Moghalu & to moderator Mark Sugar & with apologies to Nigerians here & at home expecting an interesting debate, I regret I will not be able to go on with this debate due to President Buhari’s absence.
“I however challenge 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.”