Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has departed Nigeria ahead of Sunday’s Arise Television townhall meeting for leading presidential candidates insisting that he would never succumb to the blackmail of appearing for the townhall meetings or interview by the television station.
GWG.NG reports that Tinubu alongside his major rivals, Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, Peter Obi of Labour and Rabiu Kwakwanso of NNPP have all been invited for the townhall meeting. All three have confirmed attendance, however, Tinubu has publicly rejected appearance insisting that he would not honour any television interview or townhall meeting by the television station.
In a statement on Saturday evening to reiterate his objection, the Tinubu Campaign speaking through the director of media and publicity, Bayo Onanuga said:
“We find it shocking and downright anomalous that Arise News continues to broadcast the participation of All Progressives Congress Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in its Presidential Town Hall meeting scheduled to hold on 4 December, 2022 despite our earlier statement that our candidate will not be available.
“We noticed that Arise News has also been running a campaign on the so-called constitutional duty of the presidential candidates to participate in its debate by dubiously citing section 22 of the Constitution of Nigeria on the obligation of the Mass Media.
“While it is trite that the media has clear constitutional duty to hold public office holders accountable to the citizens and its role as the watchdog of the society, there is no part of the Constitution and the section 22 that says a presidential candidate of any political party and least of all, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu must participate in Arise News Town Hall event or any media organised event at all.
“The same Constitution grants all citizens of Nigeria including, Asiwaju Tinubu the right and freedom of choice and association. The APC Presidential candidate has a right to decide where he goes and events to participate in as he seeks the mandate of Nigerians to be elected as the next President of our country.
“We want to make it abundantly clear again that Asiwaju Tinubu will not participate and will not attend the Arise News Town Hall meeting slated for Sunday, 4 December, 2022 and any other ones it may plan before the February 2023 presidential election.
“The APC Presidential candidate has his own schedule of campaign activities and other engagements within and outside Nigeria. One of such events is his scheduled event for Monday , December 5, 2022 at Chatham House in London where he will speak on Security, Economy and Foreign Policy.
“Asiwaju Tinubu travelled to United Kingdom early today (Saturday) for this earlier scheduled engagement. We want to reiterate for the umpteenth time that no amount of blackmail, intimidation and media bully and innuendos by the owner and management of Arise News will change the position our campaign has taken on this matter,” the Tinubu Campaign said in insisting it would not partake in the Townhall meeting arranged by Arise TV.