Tinubu declines Arise TV town hall meeting invitation

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The All Progressives Congress Campaign Council has announced that its standard bearer, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, will not attend the third edition of the presidential town hall meeting of Arise Television.

This was disclosed in a statement issued by the Director of Media and Publicity of the APC campaign council, Bayo Onanuga, in Abuja, on Friday.

The presidential town hall series organised by the television station in collaboration with the Centre for Democracy and Development is slated for December 4.

The third edition, which will focus on education, healthcare, poverty, and human capital, was expected to host Tinubu, standard bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar; his counterpart in the Labour Party, Peter Obi and New Nigeria Peoples Party’s presidential hopeful, Rabiu Kwankwaso.

The development is coming two days after Atiku and his running mate, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, pulled out of ‘The Candidates’, a similar town hall meeting organised by Original Daria Media concept, MacArthur Foundation, YouTube and Nigerian Television Authority.

Reacting to the Arise News invitation, the camp of the APC candidate on Friday berated the management of the station for listing him among candidates coming for the meeting without due consultation.

A livid Onanuga described the act as unprofessional and reckless.

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The statement read, “Our attention has been drawn to an advertisement by Arise News in connection with a Town Hall meeting scheduled for 4 December.

“We are surprised that the TV station listed our candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as a participant, when there was no prior consultation with him and his aides and no consent of the candidate obtained for the advertisement.

“We deem this as professionally wrong and reckless. No media organisation should arrogate to itself the right to railroad any candidate to fit into its own agenda.

“As we said in an earlier statement, the busy and hectic campaign schedules of Asiwaju Tinubu will not permit him to honour all invitations from different radio and TV stations for debate and or Town Hall meetings hence our decision for him not to start with one media organisation and later ignore the others.

“In the absence of a unified and mutually acceptable all parties and all candidates platform, our candidate has been speaking directly to Nigerians, since President Muhammadu Buhari launched Tinubu’s Action Plan for a Better Nigeria.

“To date, over seven town hall meetings with strategic sectors have been held across the geopolitical zones, where the candidate and his running mate have spoken about their programmes.

“These direct engagements will continue before the election on 25 February 2023. We, therefore, urge Arise News to stop using our candidate’s name or portrait in its advertisement, forthwith.”