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Naija News reports that the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in collaboration with Arise TV, organised the debate, which is expected to be attended by Tinubu and other leading candidates. Other presidential candidates expected at the debate are Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) and New Nigeria Peoples Party’s Rabiu Kwankwaso. 

However, from indications, other presidential candidates have confirmed their attendance, except for the APC flagbearer who is yet to confirm his attendance, and reportedly withdrew from the debate. 

The debate will take place at 7 pm on Sunday at the Congress Hall of the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.
Nigerians React However, the withdrawal of the APC Presidential candidate has attracted wide condemnation from Nigerians on social media. See some of the reactions below. 

David Hundeyin wrote: “The other candidates should pull out too as a matter of principle. There cannot be a presidential debate without the incumbent party being represented.” 

Savvy Rinu wrote: ‘’Nah. They don’t want Nigerians to care about debates in the first place. They only need Nigerians to care about collecting bags of rice and buy their votes with 5,000 naira. 

Others must show up
It’s up to Nigerians to decide.’’ Jeremiah wrote: ‘’I agree. The debates must hold regardless. I recall when Atiku pulled out of the 2019 debate because Buhari was a no-show — the electorates were at the receiving end. However, no VP should be allowed to represent any candidate!’’ Paddy Mmaduakonam Anigbo II wrote: “He is not the incumbent. His absence is nobody’s loss but that of his and his party.” Iamobiemeka wrote: “It’s a delicate situation. That may be his aim. 

If none attends, he’d say he wasn’t at any debate because none held.’ I think the other candidates should attend but they should highlight APC/BAT’s absence and we should amplify it and call it what it is – COWARDICE.” 

Kayzone wrote: “If they pull out, then Tinubu wins. That’s what they wish for, for debates not to hold at all.” 

Amyy2020 wrote: “The organisers should not accept a representative as a matter of principle. 

If u don’t show up, u are out of that particular one. Simple.” Diamond Nation wrote: “I don’t think others should pull out.its obvious he has nothing to say. 

This should be an eye opener to everyone rooting for him.its left for the people to choose a president that will stand up in times of challenges not one that will always send a representative.” 

Tinubu Fails To Show Up At Important Engagements Involving 2023 Candidates If Tinubu fails to attend the debate, it would make it the fourth important engagement that the APC candidate would either fail to personally attend or shun outrightly. 

Tinubu’s failure to personally attend the 62nd Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) had generated reactions from Nigerians, with the opposition warning that if elected president, the APC candidate may avoid important gatherings or fail to interface with citizens when the need arises. 

The 70-year-old also failed to honour an invitation to attend the 52nd Annual Accountants’ Conference of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) held last month in Abuja. 

Both Atiku and Kwankwaso failed to also attend the accountants’ conference. 

Tinubu was conspicuously missing when presidential candidates of 18 political parties converged at International Conference Centre, Abuja, to sign the Peace Accord put together by the National Peace Committee (NPC) in collaboration with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).