Why I didn’t attend Arise TV presidential debate — Tinubu
The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu has justified his absence at Sunday’s presidential debate organised by Arise TV.
Slated to attend the live debates put together by Arise TV in conjunction with Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) were Bola Tinubu, Peter Obi, Rabiu Kwankwaso and Atiku Abubakar of the APC, Labour Party, New Nigerian People’s Party and the Peoples Democratic Party.
While Atiku Abubakar was represented by his running mate, Ifeanyi Okowa, Tinubu was absent.
The duo of Peter Obi and Rabiu Kwankwaso were present at the event.
The presidential candidate of the People’s Redemption Party, Kola Abiola whose name was not in the initial list made available to the media was also in attendance.
While clarifying his absence, Minister of State, Labour and Employment who incidentally is the Director, Public Affairs and Spokesperson, Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo said the APC presidential candidate decided to stay away for many reasons.
Among reasons listed by Keyamo were Tinubu’s busy schedule, his preference to speak directly to the electorate through town hall interactive sessions.
The Minister of Labour also argued that “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.
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“As president of Nigeria, by the special grace of God, he intends to treat all persons and businesses fairly and equally.”
His statement further read in part: “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.”