President Buhari was not at the Presidential debate which is currently ongoing and organised by the Nigeria Elections Debate Group and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria.
According to the Punch, the reason for this was the unconvincing performance he gave at another program called ‘The Candidates’ which held last Wednesday.
Buhari on more than one occasion had to be bailed out by Vice President Osinbajo, so much so that the moderator had to caution the VP against speaking for the Commander in Chief.
According to the Punch, a source said: “The President wanted to come but you can see that he is not ready to debate some people. It is better for him to miss the debate so that his words would not be used against him. After all, silence cannot be quoted.
“You want the President to go up against motivational speakers who do this for a living? You want him to give them a platform to lambast him? No way! The elections will be won on the field and not on a podium.”
Meanwhile, the Presidential candidate for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar has said that he is ready to debate Buhari at any time or day of his choosing.
He said this shortly after he left the Debate citing the president’s absence as his reason for not staying to participate.
In a short statement on his Twitter handle, 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 helm of the affairs of the nation is not present to defend himself or his policies.
“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.”