President Muhammadu Buhari, and former vice-president Atiku Abubakar, and some other leading candidates for the 2019 presidential elections are missing at the first 2019 presidential debate.
The debate, which is currently holding in Abuja, and hosted by The Osasu Show, and supported by ONE campaign, Connected Development (CODE), and YALI Abuja, has Oby Ezekwesili in attendance.
Atiku, who is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, sent in Segun Sowunmi to represent him at the event, while President Buhari of the APC sent in no representative for the debate.
Rotimi Amaechi, the minister of transportation, is present at the event, but did not represent the president at the actual debate.
Speaking at the debate, Ezekwesili, presidential candidate of the ACPN, said she could have gotten angry and left, following the absence of Buhari and Atiku, but said she stayed for the debate out of respect for Nigerians present.
“How can we aggregate the Nigerian issues when those that are meant to be here, are not here?” Ezekwesili said.
It gives me an opportunity that out of due respect for the Nigerian people that I agreed to be on this panel today.
“When I looked and saw that the two main parties; one is absent, the second sent a representative, his spokesperson, I could have become arrogant and say I am not going to seat here, but I decided to stay out of respect for you.
“Let me make it clear, in this election every candidate must tell the Nigerian people what they are about. I have done this out of respect for you. But you would have to join me in saying, Buhari must debate, Atiku must debate. Butiku must debate.”
Asides Ezekwesili, other presidential candidates present at the debate are Alistair Soyode, founder BEN TV London; Tope Fasua, CEO Global Analytics Consulting.
Also expected at the debate are Kingsley Moghalu, former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria; Fela Durotoye, candidate of the Alliance for New Nigeria; Omoyele Sowore, AAC candidate; and Donald Duke, former governor of Cross River.