A number of constitutional lawyers have lent their voices to the ongoing saga concerning the proposed boycott of the presidential debate by the All Progressives Congress and their presidential flag bearer, General Muhammadu Buhari, urging him to participate, regardless of the APC stand the the organisers nursed were bias against the opposition.
Tayo Oyetibo, a lawyer told Punch that: “There is nothing unconstitutional in presidential debates. Everybody has a freedom of speech, but the fact remains that the people need to know who their prospective or potential president is, by way of intellectual engagement.
“They can nominate their representatives to go on board, but they should not deprive Nigerians of their views on the crucial issues that will be informative to the people. I think it is in their interest for their candidate to participate.
“Nigerians want to know who their candidates are; they have been talking generally without being specific on issues. They should be able to expand their theory, conception, views, mission and vision.
“This is the opportunity to narrow down to specifics so that people can assess them. As at today, there are still a large number of voters that are undecided, whether they should vote for A or B.”
Echoing Oyetibo’s sentiment, another lawyer, Fred Agbaje said General Buhari’s absence at the debate would only prove to Nigerians that he cannot solve Nigeria’s problems.
Agbaje said: “I think he should have participated in that debate. Some of the questions might be embarrassing and he could tell them he would not answer them.
“He has to participate; majority of Nigerians will see it as if he is running away from it. It (boycotting) will further affect his political career because Nigerians will see it as if he does not have solutions to Nigeria’s problem, or that he is arrogant.”