Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the PDP, on Saturday stormed out of the 2019 presidential debate hall due to the absence of his major challenger, president Muhammadu Buhari.
Atiku who arrived at the flagship presidential debate late left when he realized the conspicuous absence of Buhari, the incumbent and presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The debate, which is hosted by Nigeria Elections Debate Group (NEDG) and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) is currently ongoing at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.
According to TheCable, Atiku made a last minute decision to boycott the debate, as advised by some members of his campaign council, seeing that his major challenger had shown signs that he will not be attending.
Some other members of his campaign team persuaded him to attend the debate, seeing it as an opportunity to market himself, and build a case against Buhari.
The former vice-president, who returned from the United States hours ago, tweeted that he will be attending the debate, which he termed a referendum on the incumbent.
“I arrived the Congress Hall of the Hilton venue of the
#2019Debate. This debate and the election is a referendum on the incumbent,” Atiku tweeted.
Atiku eventually left the hall, Mark Eddo, the moderator of the debate, said.
The last time Muhammadu Buhari attended any Presidential debate with opponents was in 2011, when he went against Ibrahim Shekarau of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), and Nuhu Ribadu of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
Fela Durotoye of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN); Kingsley Moghalu of the Young Peoples Party (YPP); and Oby Ezekwesili of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), are present at the debate.