Why I shunned debate, by Buhari
PRESIDENTIAL candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), yesterday clarified why he had avoided going into a debate session with President Goodluck Jonathan on issues surrounding the governance of the country.
Speaking at an interactive session with the Nigerian media executives in Abuja, he assured that he would ensure that the constitution is upheld, including respect for the media, the right to free expression and freedom of speech.
He explained that there was nothing worth debating with the President Jonathan-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which had failed to live up to the expectations of Nigerians.
According to him, the mere fact that Jonathan had to rely on neighbouring Chad, Niger and Cameroun to tackle the menace of the Islamist terrorist group, Boko Haram, speaks volume of the failure of the PDP led-administration.
At the event were former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State and head of Buhari’s presidential campaign organisation, the Executive Director of The Guardian, Mr. Toke Ibru, and several media executives.
Buhari said: “To be fair to me and to the President, after 16 years of PDP and six years of his (Jonathan) time, is there anything to debate about? Very seriously, you know the condition we are in with our experiences, no matter who you are. So what should I debate there?”
On whether he would consider a national government comprising all interest groups and political parties if elected, he said it was an issue to be decided by the top echelon of the APC because, “this is an issue that cannot be decided by a presidential candidate, it is a serious party issue that must be subjected to thorough discussion.
“Just because I have earned the presidential candidature by winning the primaries doesn’t mean I will impose my personal opinion on an issue as this.
The party hierarchy must participate in important national decision.” Buhari assured that he would abide by the APC manifesto, which is preoccupied with employment generation, infrastructure development and stamping out corrupt practices in the polity.
Prior to the interactive session, he reassured Nigerian media owners and the entire country that if elected, his government would ensure that the constitution is upheld.
Recalling his days as a military ruler, when he signed the obnoxious Decree 4 into law to gag the press, he said such era was far gone as he is now a thorough bred democrat.