Ahead of the February 25 presidential polls, the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) has knocked the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, saying that after avoiding to speak to Nigerians at debates and town hall meetings, he would eventually meet them at the polling units.
The NNPP also chided and disowned a group known as Northern Leaders Consultative Forum (NLCF) championed by the former Speaker of House of Reps Yakubu Dogara, for allegedly saying they looked for NNPP’s manifesto without seeing it before they endorsed the PDP candidate.
He noted that his party’s manifesto has been made public since November 13, adding that the likes of Dogara and his cohorts should not drag NNPP into their ” undeserving hatchet job.”
The NNPP National Chairman, Prof. Rufai Ahmed Alkali, stated this in Abuja during media briefing on Monday.
According to him, the APC National Leader and its presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was avoiding debates or organised town hall meetings for two reasons.
He said the reasons would either be his (Tinubu) inability to withstand long engagement or that he would be confronted with the questions on the abysmal failure of his party as National Leader.
It would be recalled that the APC presidential candidate had avoided all organized town hall meetings or debates that involve NIgerians.
Tinubu had shunned debate at the conference of the Nigeria Bar Association, the Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Arise TV debate and Town Hall meeting and National Peace Accord.
The only engagement Tinubu had attended with NIgerians was the meeting the Arewa Consultative Forum and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
The media handlers had severally said that Tinubu was obliged to attend town hall meetings or media debates.
Alkali reacting to Tinubu’s absence at the Arise Town Hall meeting held Sunday night said, he would definitely meet NIgerians at the polling unit.
“Our own is a new strategy to engage people, they will now have the feeling that the party respects them, cares for them, understands their needs. So by he time we ask for votes, they say ah we have seen you before.
“Now you can see those people did not do that. So everywhere they go, they are stoned, people are throwing stones at them because they are after breaking this country all these years. They want to come and take their votes again and continue with the same thing.
“It’s not going to happen because Nigerians have shined their eyes now. No decision we take without consulting the people but that of other parties, they are in a hurry to take power. In fact, they feel that February 25 is too far, some of them would like to be anointed today as president of this country. Some of them cannot even attend debates.
“When media organisations, like what happened yesterday, the 4th of Dec 2022. Apart from Arise TV, the CDD, highly respectable organisation and virtually all the media organisation in the country, so this is an open forum. It’s very clear. So why can’t you go and talk, say something, even if it’s not clear, people will get something out of you.
“But you preferred to jet out of the country. So this is a different issue. This is not the first time, not the second time, it has been like that. You can assume that most of them do not have the power to rule the country. Two, they are also ashamed of what they have done. You can’t call yourself the leader of a party for 8 years and now you want to rule the country, you cannot come and tell Nigerians what you have done during the 8 years.
“You are the leader of the party because, you have, for the first time, in the history of the country, a president different, and the leader of the party different. Now the person who is invited is person who is the leader of the party, come forward, you say no, he is out of the country. So people are waiting for him, if he doesn’t come for debate, he will come for election.”
He however admitted that a Presidential candidate might also refuse to attend a town hall meeting or media debates if he was convinced that they would not add to his campaign or victory.