Organisers of The Candidates, a presidential town hall series, on Tuesday announced that the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar and his running mate, Ifeanyi Okowa will not be participating in the series, ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Atiku and his running mate, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State were supposed to feature at the town hall on Tuesday, The Candidates Town Hall Series is a series of two-hour live televised town hall meetings of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates of six political parties.
The town hall series is organised by Original Daria Media Concept, and supported by the MacArthur Foundation, Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) and YouTube.
Prince Adewole Adebayo and his running mate, Yusuf Buhari, of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), participated in the series on November 17, 2022, and on November 18, 2022, the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, Mr. Omoyele Sowore and his running mate, Barrister Haruna Garba Magashi were featured.
Sen. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and his running mate, Bishop Isaac Idahosa of the New Nigeria Peoples Party were featured on November 19, 2022, while Mr. Peter Obi and his running mate, Dr. Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed of the Labour Party were featured on November 21, 2022.
Atiku and his running mate, Okowa were supposed to be featured on the programme by 7 pm on Tuesday, November 22, 2022. However, at 3:22 pm, the NTA announced on its Twitter page that the duo would not be participating in the town hall.
“Due to unavoidable conflicts, Alh. Atiku Abubakar and his running mate, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa of the Peoples Democratic Party, will not be participating in The Candidates Presidential Town Hall Series,” it said.
Reacting to the development, Sowore said, “See how the so-called “frontliners” are afraid to espouse their “ideas” they keep running and hiding from their shadows!”
Atiku also failed to show up at a town hall meeting for presidential candidates organised by Arise Television and the Centre for Democracy and Development. He was represented by Okowa who said Atiku got permission from the organisers to be away.
Meanwhile, the presidential candidates of the All Progressives Congress, Peoples Democratic Party and Labour Party, Bola Tinubu, Atiku and Peter Obi are widely touted as the frontrunners in the election to hold in 2023.
Tinubu and his running mate, Kashim Shettima are expected to feature at the town hall meeting on Wednesday.