The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) Peter Obi will not attend debates if his counterparts in other parties do not show up, Director General of the Obi-Datti Campaign Organisation, Doyin Okupe said on Monday.
Okupe, who made this known at a briefing in Abuja on Monday, knocked the Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar for sending his Vice and Delta Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa to represent him at the town hall meeting organised by Arise Television on Sunday.
Presidential candidate of New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Rabiu Kwankwaso and that of the People’s Redemption Party (PRP), Kola Abiola were present during the meeting while the All Progressives Congress Presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu and his running mate, Kashim Shettima were absent
Okupe said Obi will no longer debate with surrogates or running mates and will back out of any debate even at the last minute should other presidential candidates fail to show up.
Okupe said: “Are we saying we will not debate if other candidates didn’t show up? Yes, we will not. We are setting the standard and the record straight. We are the ones that are coming to change the system. We cannot participate in the subversion of the system. That will totally contradict our position of creating a new Nigeria.
“If anybody wants to organise a debate and wants to bring people from the street we will not be part of it. Whatever you say if it is agreeable to us and we all agree, we will keep to it and we will stand by it. We must start to do things properly from somewhere and we think it is now.
“While our candidates Mr Peter Obi and our Vice Presidential Candidate Dr Yusuf Baba-Ahmed, are prepared at all times to engage other candidates, and the Nigerian people, in any duly scheduled debates, Townhall meetings and any other appearances as designated and scheduled this election season, they will only be prepared to mount the podium, with their peers in this presidential race, and not with any surrogates or diversionary delegated representation.
“This stand is taken with the utmost respect for the rights and desires of Nigerians to full and direct information, and first-hand responses and presentations, necessary for the best assessment of worthiness, capacity, capability, competence, character, integrity and disposition, as required to make the right choice in these coming elections.”
Okupe noted that Obi is prepared at any appointed time, to engage Nigerians on his mission and vision for the people and country whom he seeks to lead competently and responsibly.