Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has said that he looked forward to having a presidential debate with President Muhammadu Buhari rather than a representative of the All Progressives Party (APC).

This is coming against rumours that President Buhari will participate by proxy in the yet to be scheduled debate for presidential candidates of political parties contesting in the February 16, 2019 presidential polls. Addressing the 83rd National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the PDP at the party secretariat in Abuja on Thursday, Atiku said “I want to debate with President Muhammadu Buhari”.

He was reacting to comments by the National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus and Senate President Bukola Saraki, both who said that Atiku is ready to tell Nigerians policy thrust and Programmes of his campaign during presidential debate. In his opening remark, Secondus said the party “will not accept debate by proxy. He further called on President Muhammadu Buhari to come out and tell Nigerians what he has done in over three and half years and what he will do if re-elected.

The National Chairman warned the APC -led federal government not to toy with the idea of rigging next year’s election. He warned about the consequences of rigging saying, “the consequences of rigging the 2019 election may be terrible for our country. Nigerians and the international community should prevail on the Federal Government and INEC to conduct free, fair and credible elections. “If you rig election, you are going to cause crisis in the country. We will not accept the results of rigging “.

He also said both the chairman of INEC,Prof Mahmood Yakubu and the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris should have resigned from office if they have dignity considering ignoble roles played by the two public institutions in meddling with Electoral processes in the country. Presenting Atiku to the NEC officially after the Port Harcourt National convention, Secondus commended the Okowa-led Convention planning committee for a successful outing which was the best convention conducted so far.

He said majority of Nigerians who are disillusioned by the poor performance of the Buhari administration are anxious to vote back PDP to power. He admonished party leaders to take the campaign to their locality by vigorously selling the party’s candidates in every wards, polling units and local governments across the country. Senate President and Director General of Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation, Senator Bukola Saraki said it is obvious that PDP is not contesting with the APC in 2019 but security agencies.

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