THE Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima have cited hectic campaign schedules and resolve not to give any Television station preference among others as reasons for their absence at Sunday’s town hall meeting of presidential candidates in Abuja.
The event was organised by Arise Television and the Centre for Democracy and Development, CDD, in partnership with Vanguard Newspapers, Premium Times, Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE, and Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ.
Three presidential candidates, Mr Peter Obi of the Labour Party, LP, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the New Nigerian People’s Party, NNPP, and Chief Kola Abiola of the People’s Redemption Party, PRP attended the meeting.
The People’s Democratic Party, PDP flagbearer, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who is out of the country, was represented by his running mate, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa.
Explaining Tinubu’s absence, the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, in a statement by its Chief Spokesman, Mr.Festus Keyamo, said “Tinubu did not attend the Presidential Debate organised by ARISE TV on Sunday, November 6, 2022, for the following reasons:
“Firstly, many radio and TV networks in Nigeria have indicated interests 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. As President of Nigeria, by the Special Grace of God, he intends to treat all persons and businesses fairly and equally.
“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 (Monday), 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.”