The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu seems to be in the eye of the storm over his decision not to attend media debates.
Naija News reports his team in defense, declared after he missed Sunday’s debate organized by Arise TV and the Center of Democratic Development (CDD) that it’s not compulsory for him to attend debates as he has a busy schedule engaging with stakeholders through other means such as town hall meetings.
However, while Tinubu may be the current poster picture for presidential candidates missing debates, he is not the first one to do such.
Below is a compilation of past and present presidential candidates in Nigeria that have missed or boycotted debates in the past and their reasons.
Tinubu is the APC candidate for the 2023 presidential election. However, the former Lagos State Governor has so far failed to show up at major speaking engagements with other candidates contesting the position with him.
He shunned the August 2022 Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Conference (represented by his running mate, Kashim Shettima) and missed the November town hall meeting put together by Arsie TV and CDD without sending any representative.
President Muhammadu Buhari
Buhari then as a candidate of the APC in 2015, missed the debate organized by the Broadcast Organisation of Nigeria (BON).
Similarly, in 2019, he was represented by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
Atiku as the 2019 candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), opted out of a presidential debate organized by the Broadcast Organisation of Nigeria (BON) after President Muhammadu Buhari failed to show up.
Recently, as the 2023 presidential candidate of the PDP, he also missed the Arise TV town hall meeting in November 2022 but was represented by his running mate, Governor Ifeanyi Okowaof Delta State.
In the build-up to the 2015 elections, former President Goodluck Jonathan missed a presidential debate organized by NN24.
His campaign organization explained that he missed the NN24 debate because he has already been scheduled to attend another debate put together by the Nigerian Election Debate Group (NEDG).
The New Nigeria Peoples Party 2023 presidential candidate, Rabiu Kwankwaso shunned an interactive session organized by the Arewa Joint Committee.
According to him, the session was a mere cover-up by the organizers to endorse another candidate for the 2023 polls.