Saturday, January 19, 2019 7:47 pm
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has said he refused to participate in the ongoing debate originally scheduled for five out of the over 70 candidates that will run in the February 16 presidential election because of the absence of President Muhammadu Buhari who he desribed as his main challenger.
Atiku arrived at the Congress hall of Transcorp Hilton where the debate was taking place, but left later, refusing to mount the podioum for the debate.
Explaining reason for his refusal to be part of the debate, Atiku 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 helm of the affairs of the nation is not present to defend himself or his policies.
“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.