The Nuhu Ribadu presidential campaign organisation has expressed surprise at the insistence of President Goodluck Jonathan and Vice President Namadi Sambo to attend only televised debates supervised by the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, BON.
The campaign organisation said in a statement by Head of Media and Communications, Alhaji Ibrahim Modibbo, that most of the presidential/vice presidential debates were organised by reputable bodies well qualified to organise them, adding that none of the other candidates had requested for any leverage except candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, wondering why it should be so.
Modibbo said: “It simply shows that either the duo have nothing concrete to sell to Nigerians or are afraid they cannot defend their actions in office for the past 10 months.
“It is common knowledge that BON is mostly populated by government employees, and as such the presidency will find a way of running the entire debate from the back door.
“In any case, what is there in a debate that is aimed at giving you the opportunity and platform to convince the electorates that they are better off with you?”
He recalled that the president had earlier given another condition that he must be presented with the questions to be asked ahead of time before attending the debate.
According to him, only Vice President Namadi Sambo refused to attend the Vice Presidential debate organized by Network News 24 without giving any reasons.
He noted that the president had equally stated that he could not attend the debate organized by the Murtala Muhammad Foundation because he was busy campaigning, but had time to invite all presidential aspirants to a meeting with him, as though they were not equally busy campaigning.
“We are surprised at the way the PDP presidential candidate is running away from these debates; even undergraduates’ organized debates for their colleagues aspiring to lead them because it is the best platform to assess an aspirant and take a final decision on his ability to lead.
“Anyone that is ready to offer honest service should not be scared of facing his opponents or indeed his people in a fair and open manner. That is not too much to ask of a man who is asking to lead the largest collection of black people with a population of 150 million people,” he said.