All plans for a television debate this Saturday between the two leading presidential candidates in the 2019 presidential election are shrouded in intrigues as handlers of President Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar engage in a game of words.

Buhari, who is the presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) is yet to commit himself to the debate put together by the Nigerian Election Debate Group (NEDG), a coalition of government and civil society groups.

Buhari’s campaign spokesman, Festus Keyamo said on Sunday that the decision on a debate is yet to be taken.
“The decision on whether to attend the debate has not been taken and it is a decision that is to be taken by the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) and it is not a decision that I can take,”

With Buhari wavering, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate is also shockingly wavering, saying that he would not attend a debate without Buhari.

“We will not come to any debate without Buhari,” a top source in the PDP campaign said on Sunday.

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The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that it would be a waste of time for Atiku to attend a debate without the incumbent.

“Who are we going to debate with? If not Buhari who are we going to debate with,” the high-level source said.

There are indeed no indications that any of the two candidates are preparing for the debate.

While Buhari’s alleged aversion to a debate has been the butt of media speculation in the last few weeks, the apparent decision of Atiku not to commit himself to a debate with or without Buhari is one that is bound to surprise many.  

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 2Buhari and atikuPresidential Debate