A pro-democracy group, the National Democratic Front has faulted the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over its insistence that President Muhammadu Buhari must be available for presidential debate ahead of the 2019 presidential election.
NDF said the PDP failed to attend four consecutive presidential debates for 16 years and cannot by any means drag Buhari to its level.
National president of the group, Comrade Audu Awulu, while speaking at a press conference in Abuja, yesterday insisted that President Buhari had during his three and a half years in office literarily debated with developmental projects, not media debate that the opposition is clamouring for.
According to Awulu, President Buhari has debated with projects, including those cited in geo-political zones that the PDP neglected in its wasted years.
“He has debated with the war on graft, which was the largest sector of the economy under the watch of the PDP, it’s being dismantled. It is in part responsible for the withdrawal symptoms that has left PDP members and chieftains writhing in agony and having multiple visions,” Awulu said.
The group, therefore, asked the PDP to bury the idea of a presidential debate with Buhari, whom they said is busy with meaningful projects that would better the nation.
He said, “The latest of this obsessive request was from PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, who challenged President Buhari to a live debate with PDP’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. We understand that the party wants the focus of the debate to be on critical sectors in the country.
“The first impression we have of this challenge is that the brains behind the PDP have a wrong notion of what constitute a debate. Their understanding of a debate as part of a presidential election is apparently that of the raucous shouting match they engage in on local television networks, where the most strident person is adjudged the winner irrespective of whether the views they hold and expressed tallied with reality or not.
“In the event that they are not aware, the leaked game plan of the PDP for de-marketing President Buhari specifically recommended that the party insist on a presidential debate. Unfortunately, rather than using the debate to gauge candidates’ commitment to moving Nigeria forward the PDP’s objective is to trivialize the debate and use it to further drive wedges among Nigerians along ethnic, religious and social strata.
“What the PDP, however, failed to realize is that the debate took place long ago and it came out the loser. The real live debate began on May 29, 1999 and the PDP had the chance to be the first speaker; the PDP had 16 whole years of four tenures to argue its point and convince Nigerians that it should remain in office for 60 years like it once hallucinated.”