Nigerians React To 2019 Presidential Debate
Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari, former vice president Atiku Abubakar and three other presidential candidates were billed for the 2019 presidential debate that held today, the 20th of January at the Congress Hall of the TRANSCORP Hilton Hotel, Abuja.
Buhari did not show up as predicted by tweeps on Twitter in several polls.
Atiku who was on a trip to the US arrived Nigeria and made it to the venue to take pictures before leaving the venue like a man who runneth when no one chases him. This situation meant that three candidates, Kingsley Moghalu (Young Progressive Party (YPP) ), Oby Ezekwesili (Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) ) and Fela Durotoye (Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) ) were the last three standing.
Now, it is interesting to note that the three are members of the PACT (Presidential Aspirants Coming Together) group, a group which saw Durotoye emerge the winner, Young Progressive Party (YPP)’s Moghalu profess that a true consensus candidate was not produced and Ezekewsili, their referee at the election.
The three candidates on stage were part of PACT who were supposed to be the “3rd Force”
Fela Durotoye won the PACT election to produce a sole candidate.
Moghalu lost the election.
Oby was referee.
The winner,the loser & the referee r all Presidential Candidates 😭 #2019Debate
— Deji Adeyanju (Ndi Kato) (@YarKafanchan) January 19, 2019
Back to the story. Shortly after leaving, Atiku became the king of twitter fastest fingers and went on about why he had to leave because the incumbent’s “non-appearance is a slight on ALL of us and our democracy.”
“We came here for a Presidential debate, not a candidacy debate, and I, Atiku Abubakar can not challenge or question an administration where the man at the helm of the affairs of the nation is not present to defend himself or his policies,” Atiku said in a statement on Saturday.
”After all you cannot shave a man’s head in his absence. I do not believe in attacking a man who is NOT here to defend himself.”
His disappearance took the most of the conversation on Twitter and set the Nigerian centre of the platform ablaze.
Take a look:
Atiku’s advisers didn’t get this move right at all. This was your “See I’m here, I care, I feel your pain, I can hear you, the President couldn’t be bothered” moment and you blew it. #2019Debate 🇳🇬
— Wale Gates 🇳🇬🇬🇧 (@walegates) January 19, 2019
Its unfortunate and ironic that candidates who flaunt crowds of supporters in hundreds of thousands in open stadiums, have fear of a microphone and a few people in a Hall.
— Senator Shehu Sani (@ShehuSani) January 19, 2019
Atiku decided not to appear perhaps because Buhari didn’t turn up. The both of them don’t respect Nigerians and Nigerian voters. This debate is very IMPORTANT. This is disgraceful and very bad. You are asking to lead us. Speak to the people!! #2019Debate
— Dr. Dípò | The Career🔌 (@OgbeniDipo) January 19, 2019
Atiku should have gone on to debate. You have to respect the other candidates whether or not you think you are competing with Buhari. This is our General problem in this country, not respecting others
— Imoh (@ImohUmoren) January 19, 2019
Some were in support:
I stand by the decision of my candidate not to debate under the circumstances.
I would have advised an alternative course of action but better political strategists than me have decided that this was best.
I stand by them.
— Sam Hart (@hartng) January 19, 2019
You get this bro! You’re indeed a rare breed. People don’t understand that this is a game, the game of politics. You think it is about doing what feels right? Lmao. Atiku made the right move. Tough decision but makes lots of political sense. https://t.co/A8uLoWDixV
— Kemal Odanz (@KemalOdanz) January 19, 2019
And some hope that this is not faux rage
I hope this anger on Twitter streets will translate to REAL votes. How many of us here saying we are disappointed in Atiku and Buhari have collected our PVCs???
— Kemi Lala Akindoju (@lalaakindoju) January 19, 2019