The All Progressives Congress (APC) has officially responded to the Saturday’s presidential debate where its candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari was absent, saying it is an insult for its candidate to be on the same stage with the presidential candidate of the People Democratic Party (PDP) Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
Onilu stated clearly that the BON’s debate is meant for those that are seeking power and not the likes of President Buhari who has a lot already speaking for him.
Both Atiku Abubakar of PDP and President Buhari of APC were conspicuously missing at the live presidential debate organised by the Broadcasting Corporation of Nigeria (BON) and others.
Addressing a press conference on Sunday in Abuja, APC’s National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, said the candidate of his party already engaging with the public through several other platforms which are considered more important and to meet APC’s interest.
He said: “The president doesn’t have to give any reason at all for not attending that debate. The debate is just one of the several platforms that are available for our candidate to engage with the public, we cannot exhaust all the platforms. So we pick the platforms that are most impactful and we are the ones in the position to determine which platform we want to use.
“To debate with who? That is an insult, that the president will come debate with who? The debate the president is having is what he did that morning in Niger state. The people of Niger state can look forward to a brighter future. The people of this country, everywhere they go can see development, they can see projects going on. So these are the debates that the president is already engaging with public.
“So that particular debate may be important and I think it is important to people who are seeking power, not for somebody who has a lot speaking for him already. So for us in APC, the debate as a fantastic idea it is, it is just one of the several options for our own candidate to engage with the public. There are many platforms we have used, there are many platforms we are still going to use and there many we may not use. It is up to us to chose the platforms that will serve own interests.
“Don’t forget, just few days before this debate came, the president was live for two hours with Nigerians discussing his projects. Beside him was the Vice President of this country, talking about his projects and having very important debate over those policies and projects with Nigerians, with people having unfattered access and opportunity to make calls to him, to seek clarifications and ask questions. That for us is what our candidate needs. That for us is more important.
“That gives us the opportunity to say we are different. We are not in the same class with Atiku and the PDP to come share the same stage with people who ruined this country. To talk about what? The same people who started several projects and they became conduit pipe and the APC goverment has come in fixing all these projects one after the other. The same party complaining about the fact that we are completing projects. Is that the party you want us to stand on the same stage to debate with. Don’t take Nigerians for granted. We are not in the same class.”