Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has explained why he left the venue of the ongoing presidential debate, minutes after the programme started.
The presidential debate is organised by the Nigeria Elections Debate Group (NEDG) and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) and taking place in Abuja. According to Atiku, there was no point participating in the debate if the man in charge of affairs in the present administration is not present.
He apologised to Nigerians for leaving the venue, but challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to pick the date and time of another debate where all the candidates would guarantee attendance.
The statement read: "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 Candidate's 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 and with all apologies to my Fellow 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 the 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.