The reason for the absence of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, at the town hall meeting staged for presidential candidates by Arise TV has been revealed.
Tinubu alongside his Peoples Democratic Party counterpart, Atiku Abubakar, were absent at the event held on Sunday.
However, his Labour Party and New Nigeria Peoples Party counterparts, Peter Obi and Rabiu Kwankwaso respectively, were present.
Atiku was represented by his running mate, the Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa.
Speaking to Punch, the Director of Communications, Bayo Onanuga, said the event clashed with a town hall meeting Tinubu had with farmers in Niger.
He said, “We are in Minna now for engagement with farmers and agro-commodities groups ahead of tomorrow. The media cannot suddenly come up with a debate and wants us to drop everything we are doing to attend it. It is wrong. We also have our campaign schedule to attend to.”
When reminded that the presidential candidate could still have shown up since the engagement in question is slated for Monday, Onanuga disagreed.
“Are we going to use jet to travel to Minna? As I earlier told you, we are in Minna already and cannot make it to the programme. In our own case, their proposal clashes with the campaign programme of our candidate. That’s why we didn’t turn up,” he stated.
Asked if Tinubu would have turned up at the debate if the Minna engagement has not been fixed, the campaign media director stated that there was a likelihood he might.
He said, “Maybe. But he is busy with some other things and he cannot leave that one for this. There are more important things.
“After Minna, we are returning to Abuja before the next engagement in Nasarawa State on Wednesday. After then, I think Calabar is up for Saturday. You can see that this week is a very busy one for the candidate.
“Again, next week, we will be in Imo State on Tuesday for a rally and zonal stakeholders meeting. It is not on Monday as some people erroneously reported. The earlier schedule people saw was just a draft, which is still subject to amendment.”