Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Buhari Campaign Council has said that President Muhammadu Buhari is not evading debate but will only participate if he is convinced that the circumstances and rules for such debate are germane.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had challenged the president to a live debate with its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, on critical sectors ahead of the 2019 presidential election.
The party noted that Buhari had been mortally afraid of debates, adding that he should accept to face its candidate, Atiku, in a general debate organised by independent bodies at any venue of his choice.
However, Buhari’s campaign team responded yesterday describing PDP’s challenge as mere grandstanding.
Speaking to THISDAY, the spokesman of the Buhari Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo (SAN) said it is the PDP that is notorious for evading debates.
He said that President Buhari will at the appropriate time decide on his participation in the debate after being availed of all the details and circumstances for such an exercise.
Keyamo said: “ First of all, let me say that the PDP has been in the habit of running away from political debates. So they should not come and tell us that they are some kind of super human who wants to debate at all times.
“Obasanjo ran away from debate, Jonathan ran away from debate during their time, so PDP has a history of running away from debates.”
The Buhari campaign Spokesmen further explained that contrary to the insinuations being made by the PDP, the office was yet to receive the formal invitation for a debate ahead of the 2019, adding that it would always assess the circumstances behind any debate before accepting to or rejecting it.
Keyamo also said that at the moment his office was yet to receive formal invitation to the debate but that he will check with the office of the Director General of the Campaign Organisation to know if the organisers have sent such invitation.
According to Keyamo, the PDP is trying to claim what it does represent based on its antecedents.
“They should not come and deceive Nigerians that they are the debaters, they are not the debaters. At the right time we will let them know, when we know all the circumstances surrounding the debate whether we will accede and not.
“By the time we know how the debate is being organised and the rules of the debate, then we will let Nigerians know whether we will debate or not.
“At the moment he said that the campaign office does not know the details of the presidential debate, adding that it will take a decision on whether to participate or not after studying the rules,” he added.