The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) says it is not a big deal if President Muhammadu Buhari chooses not to attend the 2019 presidential debate slated for Saturday, January 19, if he feels there are other options where he can speak to Nigerians.
This much was made known by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Lanre Issa-Onilu, in an interview with Daily Independent.
Issa-Onilu insisted that the APC will look at several options through which Buhari will engage Nigerians since there is no big deal in the debate which is not one of the ways for him to talk to Nigerians.
Read what he said here:
“What is special about a presidential debate? A presidential debate is one of the several platforms for presidential candidates to engage with the public.
As a party, we will look at all the options and pick the ones that we can accommodate and those that will be impactful and effective in achieving our goals.
We will be the ones to determine that. If the presidential debate happens to be one of that, fine. If it wasn’t, then it is no big deal.
There is nothing special about any debate. It is just one of the several platforms to engage the electorate.”
However, many Nigerians are of the view that President Buhari should attend the debate to let Nigerians know what he has in stock for them.
According to Chuks Ibegu, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, President Buhari has to attend the upcoming presidential debate if he wants Nigerians to take him seriously.
Ibegbu who also spoke in an interview said Buhari must not send a proxy to represent him in the debate.
Ibegbu stressed that Buhari must appear in person and not send the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu or his vice, Yemi Osinbajo because he, the president, needs to tell Nigerians what he has done since assuming office.
“We can’t pre-empt anything because we are not part of Buhari’s programme but he has a moral duty to talk to his people on why he wants to rule for another four years.
He has to come and talk to Nigerians on what he has done in the past four years and what he intends to do in the next four years; he can’t do it by proxy.
If he doesn’t talk to Nigerians, then he has no moral right to lead us. Tinubu or no Tinubu, he must tell Nigerians in person what he has done in the last three and half years and it must not be by proxy,” Ibegu said.