Presidential candidates of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, walked out of the venue the ongoing NEDG/BON presidential debate minutes before it began after he learnt President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC, was not going o attend.
He had earlier in the day threatened not to attend the debate if President Buhari absents himself.
Five candidates were invited but only candidates of the YPP, Kingsley Moghalu; ACPN, Oby Ezekwesili and ANN, Fela Durotoye, are on the podium.
In a statement issued the debate began, Atiku said: “We came here for a Presidential debate, not a candidacy debate, and I, Atiku Abubakar can not 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. After all you cannot shave a man’s head in his absence. I do not believe in attacking a man who is NOT here to defend himself. 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 the APC Presidential Candidates absence in this debate. His non-appearance is a slight on ALL of us and our democracy.
“Secondly, with all due respect to my fellow candidates, Fela Durotoye, Oby Ezekwesili, Kingsley Moghalu and to the moderator Mark Sugar and with apologies to all Nigerians here and at home expecting an interesting debate, I regret that 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.
“Thank you and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
President Buhari also evaded the presidential debate in 2015.