There are indications that Bola Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar — the respective presidential candidates of the All Progressives Candidate (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) — may not attend a live presidential debate scheduled for Sunday, November 6, 2022.
The debate being organized by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in collaboration with Arise TV, is expected to be attended by the APC and PDP candidates, as well as those of the Labour Party and New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) — Peter Obi and Rabiu Kwankwaso.
It was gathered that 24 hours to the debate, Tinubu and Atiku are yet to confirm their attendance while Obi and Kwankwaso have reached the organizers indicating they would be present.
The debate will take place at 7 pm on Sunday at the Congress Hall of the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.
Should Tinubu fail to attend the debate, it would make it the fourth important engagement involving 2023 presidential candidates that the APC candidate would either fail to personally attend or shun outrightly.
Tinubu’s failure to personally attend the 62nd annual general conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBAs) had generated reactions from Nigerians, with the opposition warning that if elected president, the APC candidate may avoid important gatherings or fail to interface with citizens when the need arises.
The 70-year-old had failed to honour an invitation to attend the 52nd annual accountants’ conference of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) held last month in Abuja. Both Atiku and Kwankwaso failed to also attend the accountants’ conference.
Tinubu was conspicuously missing when presidential candidates of 18 political parties converged at International Conference Centre, Abuja, to sign the Peace Accord put together by the National Peace Committee (NPC) in collaboration with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Against the backdrop of public concerns over Tinubu’s mental fitness, Atiku had last month challenged the APC candidate to “subject himself to an hour-long interview” to prove to Nigerians that he’s fit to lead them.