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Presidential debate: Tinubu, Atiku’s absence sparks reactions as Obi gains more grounds

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Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were conspicuously absent on Sunday evening’s Town Hall meeting series organised for the presidential candidates ahead of the 2023.

APC Presidential Candidate, Ahmed Bola Tinubu
APC Presidential Candidate, Ahmed Bola Tinubu

While Atiku sent in a representative in the person of his running mate, Ifeanyi Okowa, Tinubu had no representative.

The event organized by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in collaboration with ARISE Television had only the candidates of the Labour Party, LP, Peter Obi, New Nigerias Peoples Party, NNPP, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, and Kola Abiola of the People’s Redemption Party, PRP.

Drama, however, ensued over Atiku’s representative as some young people kicked against the presence of Okowa and insisted that only presidential candidates should be allowed on the podium.

“We want only Presidential Candidates here,” they shouted on top of their voices as they booed the Delta State governor.

While trying to convince the youths to allow him to continue, Okowa addressed the audience, saying the presidential ticket is one, but the aggrieved youth thundered, “No!!!”

However, normalcy was later restored and the programme kicked off behind schedule.

But Peter Obi was at the centre of the discussion, answering serious economic and political questions amid cheers from the audience. Other candidates had constantly referred to his responses, even as Kwankwaso had commended the work he has done so far for the new political parties in the race.

Tinubu and Atiku have continued to stay away from important political events ahead of the national election.

In August, Shettima stood in for Tinubu at the NBA Annual General conference at Eko Hotels, Victoria Island, Lagos state. Many had questioned his absence and also ridiculed his appearance.

Also in September, Shettima stood in for Tinubu at the National Peace Accord.

Shettima also represented Tinubu at an event organised by Women Radio 91.7 at the NAF Conference Centre, Abuja, while Atiku was completely absent.

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