Nigerians Support Buhari's Decision To Boycott Debate

•Muhammadu Buhari

•President-elect Muhammadu Buhari

Eromosele Ebhomele

Top Nigerian analysts on Friday supported the decision of Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the February elections, to boycott the debate being organised by the Nigeria Election Debate Group, NEDG.

The Buhari Campaign Organisation had on Thursday announced that Buhari would boycott the debate, citing the lack of integrity of members of the group.

The organisation also said Buhari would agree to participate in any debate organised by a body seen to be neutral and that would not end up being biased.

•General Muhammadu Buhari: thanks Nigerians for massive support
•General Muhammadu Buhari: thanks Nigerians for massive support

Speaking with P.M.NEWS on the issue that is currently trending, Biodun Sowunmi, a rights campaigner, said he supported Buhari’s stand on the debate.

He said apart from the influence of the Nigeria Television Authority, NTA, as well as the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN, on such issues, the alleged “campaign of calumny embarked upon by the Africa Independent Television, AIT, against the person of Buhari” is enough for him to boycott the debate.

“AIT just came up with a documentary full of a lot of malicious information. How would you then participate in a debate with the AIT, NTA and FRCN as part of the organisers?

“Such platforms should be organised and anchored by an independent body. AIT has peddled a lot of lies that it is now like your enemy inviting you.

“How do you trust the NTA and FRCN not to have leaked the questions the panelists would ask the candidates during the debate to President Jonathan before hand?” he asked.

According to Festus Keyamo, Buhari took a very wise decision.

Keyamo recalled that when President Goodluck Jonathan boycotted the debate of 2011, many Nigerians did not condemn him; instead he won the election.

He then wondered why some Nigerians would insist that Buhari participate in a debate where the organisers are widely perceived to have been highly compromised.

He noted that the debate group is made of 90 percent government agencies.

“They planned to embarrass him. They would have given Jonathan the ‘expo’, they won’t give Buhari, just to embarrass Buhari.

Related News

“I totally support Buhari,” he told P.M.NEWS.

President of Voters Awareness Initiative, Barrister Wale Ogunade, said he would ordinarily have loved Buhari to participate in a debate so as to sell himself to Nigerians, but that with the way the Nigeria Election Debate Group is currently constituted, he would not participate if he were Buhari.

He said before the decision not to participate was reached, the members of the campaign group must have met and analysed the situation.

“Personally, if I am in such a situation and someone who has been trying to destroy my reputation invites me for such a debate, I won’t attend.

“They (the PDP) are taking this campaign too far. They may have organised this debate particularly to disgrace Buhari,” he said, noting that Buhari has not said he would not debate, but that he wanted people who are truly interested in the cause of Nigeria and “not these particular people.”

He said the debate group should defend its integrity by creating a platform to bring on board people and organisations with better reputation. He listed organisations like the United Nations, the EU, AU and their like as credible organisations that should be considered for debate.

He suggested that even members of political parties and other organisations could be drafted into preparing the questions for the debate.

He also used the opportunity to caution those beating the drums of war that such threats should be condemned at this period.

Barrister Mustapha Nwaokobia, the co-ordinator of the Change Ambassadors of Nigeria, said Buhari’s decision is tenable and that since he believes in logic, he thinks participating in such debate is like asking someone to deliberately drink poision or walk into a booby trap.

“They are the same media that have broadcast very satanic documentary against the person of General Buhari.

“We will not support General Buhari walking into a booby trap. We are ready for debate in a better fora. Perhaps, a Channels Television, Nigerian Bar Association or Nigerian Medical Association-organised debate would do.

He noted that Buhari would not participate in a debate with media which insulted the memories of his late wife and daughter who died of sickle cell, which he called a natural cause.

“Help us appeal to Nigerians to understand with Buhari. He loves them and the country and would participate in a debate organised by a neutral body, not this charade they are trying to organise.”

Rotimi Fashakin, Buhari’s aide also said he supported Buhari’s decision, saying if the PDP could politicise the military to embarrass one of its own, the party could do anything just to win the election.

Load more