Lanre Issa-Onilu, spokesman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), says President Muhammadu Buhari owes no one any explanation for not attending the presidential debate.
The debate which held on Saturday was organised by the Nigeria Elections Debate Group (NEDG) and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON).
President Muhammadu Buhari was not in attendance. A statement from his campaign council said the president could not attend the debate because of a clash with his hectic schedule.
Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who came to venue, also refused to participate in the debate, later citing the absence of the president.
Oby Ezekwesili, Fela Durotoye and Kingsley Moghalu, presidential candidates of Allied Congress Party Of Nigeria (ACPN), Alliance For New Nigeria (ANN) and Young Progressive Party (YPP), respectively, were in attendance.
Speaking with journalists on Sunday, Issa-Onilu said the debate was only important to those seeking power.
“The president does not have to give reason for now attending that debate,” he said.
“Let me reiterate like I have said earlier, the debate is just one of several platforms for our candidate to engage with the public. We pick the platforms that are impactful and we are the one to determine which one we want to use.
“Debate with who? That’s an insult. That the president will come and debate with who? The debate the president is having is what he did in Niger state – [Niger people] can look to a brighter future. The people of this country, everywhere they go they see development, they can see projects going on. So these are the debates that the president is already engaging with the public.
“That particular debate could be important and I think it is important to those seeking power not somebody who has has a lot speaking for him already.”
According to Issa-Onilu, the PDP presidential candidate “covertly” ran away.
“It is a pointer that that a man seeking our mandate has nothing to offer,” he said.
“He made it clear that he will enrich he will enrich his friends. Our national assets are up for grabs.”
The spokesman said Abubakar went to the US “like a fugitive and came back like a fugitive”.
“They have not been able to present to us evidence of their meeting with anyone of note,” he said.