Following President Muhammadu Buhari’s handover of the All Progressives Congress’ campaign to the party’s national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has asked the President not to use this as “an excuse” to be absent from the presidential debate.
The presidential debate is organised by the Nigeria Election Debate Group and is slated for January 19, 2019.
President Buhari had, on Monday, handed over his party’s campaign for next month’s elections to Tinubu, saying he did not want to lead the campaign because he did not want governance to suffer because of the elections.
Ordinarily, the President, who is the chairman of the APC Campaign Council, ought to lead his party’s campaign – supported by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Tinubu, who are both the council’s co-chairmen.
However, in an interview, the spokesperson for the Atiku Campaign Organisation, Mr. Segun Sowunmi, said it was sad that whereas other presidential candidates were busy campaigning and wanting to be questioned by the people, President Buhari was boycotting campaign because he had nothing to campaign for.
Sowunmi said the development also showed that the President did not have the rigour it takes to campaign and govern the country.
He said, “President Buhari has only attended one campaign, which was the one held in Uyo (Akwa Ibom State capital). He is pushing people ahead to campaign for him because his chickens have come home to roost.
“It proves what we’ve been trying to say before that Buhari doesn’t have the energy and rigour to campaign.
“If he is giving someone else the task of leading his campaign, he could have as well given his presidential ticket to someone who has the energy.
“He should not use this as an excuse to be absent from the presidential debate.
“Nigerians want someone they can question and someone who is willing to listen to them. So, he (Buhari) should take charge of his own campaign.”
Sowunmi said boycotting campaign was the same thing as boycotting governance, asking President Buhari to take up his responsibility.
“His excuse that he doesn’t want governance to suffer is not tenable. In the United States, United Kingdom, France and other great countries, campaign is part of governance because it is an avenue to interact with your people. Hence, Buhari should not hand over his campaign to someone else.
“In the first place, if he had organised the system to be running smoothly, he would not have given this excuse,” Sowunmi added.