A woman looks at poster of leading opposition All Progressive Congress presidential candidate Mohammadu Buhari displayed along the highway in Lagos on January 14, 2015. Nigerians go to the polls in a month's time to elect a new president against a ba ~ PIUS UTOMI EKPEI
Abuja - The People's Democratic Party (PDP) on Friday accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of unnecessarily shielding its Presidential Candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari from an open debate.
APC announced the withdrawal of its candidate from the debate, held by Nigeria Election Debate Group (NEDG), on account of "lack of fairness."
Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, Director of Media and Publicity at th PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, said this in a statement in Abuja on Friday.
According to him, the withdrawal of the party is to shield "Buhari`s intellectual laziness and inability to constructively engage on contemporary national issues on live television and radio."
Fani-Kayode said "the APC knows Buhari will flunk it if he is subjected to the rigours of debate on issues of national governance and development."
He, however, added that the PDP Campaign Organisation had envisaged that the APC would be reluctant to engage in the debate.
He said the organisation was aware that the APC had expressed concern when approached by an international news channel for a debate.
According to him, the APC has assured the news channel that it would only be comfortable with its Vice Presidential Candidate, Prof Yemi Osinbajo to participate, instead.
He maintained that if the APC truly believed it was a party of progressive intellectuals as it claimed, it should allow Buhari to prove that at the debate.
"Should the APC fail to participate in the debate, it would also show the disdain both the party and its candidate has for Nigerians", he said.
According to him, the party’s absence would deny Nigerians the opportunity to demand Buhari to account for his actions while in public office.
He held that "Buhari does not have what it takes to sustain a coherent argument on germane issues of governance and national development. We challenge Buhari to a debate on any national and international medium of mass communication and our candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan, will participate."
"Jonathan’s running mate, Vice President Namadi Sambo, is also ready to participate in the debate and any other debate", the statement quoted Fani-Koyode as saying. He maintained that Jonathan and his running mate were well-rounded intellectuals who had been prepared by their experience in office to answer any question on governance at any debate.