The absence of presidential candidates in debates has become a growing trend no communized and made so trivia by politicians with the intent to mock Nigerian electorates, and for Labor Party flag bearer, Peter Obi, he too is set to join the trend as long as fellow politicians choose to absent themselves.
If candidates from other parties are not present, Peter Obi, the Labour Party’s nominee for president, will no longer attend debates, new reports state regarding the former Anambra State governor.
Director-general of the Presidential Campaign Council Doyin Okupe revealed this in a statement on Monday night (PCC).
At the recently completed Arise TV Presidential Town Hall discussion, Atiku Abubakar and Ahmed Tinubu were conspicuously absent.
The main problem: According to the PCC, presidential candidates skipping debates is an increasing trend in the 2023 election cycle.
“Let us make it plain tonight that these repeat offenses will no longer be tolerated by the Labour Party Presidential Campaign Organization,” the council declared.
“While our candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, and vice presidential candidate, Dr. Yusuf Baba-Ahmed, are prepared at all times to engage other candidates and the Nigerian people in any duly scheduled debates, town hall meetings, and any other appearances as designated and scheduled, they will only be prepared to mount the podium, with their peers in this presidential race, and not with any surrogates or diversionary delegated representation.
“This stand is taken with the utmost respect for the rights and desires of Nigerians to full and direct information, and first-hand responses and presentations necessary for the best assessment of worthiness, capacity, capability, competence, character, integrity and disposition, as required to make the right choice in these coming elections,” they said.
All candidates were invited to the August 22 Nigerian Bar Association Annual Bar Conference, which was attended by the Nigerian people, and the September event hosted by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
However it was only Peter Obi and a select group of other invited candidates who made their presence known in person without the use of stand-ins.
“The vice presidential candidate of the PDP was allowed to represent the presidential candidate. Obi and the Presidential Campaign Organisation totally condemn this disregard for the electorate and the people by these absentee presidential candidates.
“The decision to present oneself as a presidential candidate does not start and end with the purchase, submission of forms, and certification as a candidate by INEC.
“It also forebodes on the candidate a high degree of responsibility to present himself for open discussions and explanations on his policies, visions, and plans for the people to enable a better understanding and engender an appropriate choice by the electorate in the coming election.
“Anything short of the simple, transparent, and honest adherence to this basic contract of responsibility falls short of the standards of fair contest and engagement. This could only be interpreted as a mischievous evasion of the desired interface with the people” they added.