The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on Saturday released a statement explaining the whereabouts of its presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, as he shunned another invite for a town hall meeting.
Naija News understands that Arise Television had invited the former Governor of Lagos State for another debate despite stating earlier he would not attend any of such during his electioneering campaign.
Amid the development, reports in some quarters alleged that Tinubu, scheduled to speak at Chatham House on Monday, was denied a visa to the United Kingdom (UK).
The APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) has, however, faulted the viral reports noting that its candidate is already off to London.
Director, Media and Publicity of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Bayo Onanuga confirmed this in a statement issued on Saturday, Naija News reports.
Onanuga also took a swipe at Arise Television over its constant broadcast of an advertisement about its scheduled town hall meeting which Tinubu had already declined participation.
The statement reads: “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”, said Onanuga.
He said while it is trite that the media has a 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 section 22 that says a presidential candidate of any political party and least of all, Tinubu must participate in Arise News Town Hall event or any media organized event at all.
He added: “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 what 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 its schedule of campaign activities and other engagements within and outside Nigeria. One of such event is scheduled for Monday, December 5, 2022, at Chatham House in London where he will speak on Security, Economy and Foreign Policy.”
He reiterated that for the umpteenth time, no amount of blackmail, bullying and media bullying and innuendos by the owner and management of Arise News will change the position the party’s campaign had taken on attending town hall meetings.