The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, PACAC, Prof. Itse Sagay, has declared that President Muhammadu Buhari will not debate with the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
Sagay also said that President Buhari will do what former President, Goodluck Jonathan did in 2015 by handing over if he loses the 2019 election.Sagay, said if Buhari loses, he will congratulate the winner and happily retire.
Speaking on the presidential debate, he said “One really has to look at this thing from the point of what favours you. From the little information I have, opinion polls and so, Buhari appears to be far ahead from the other credible party’s candidate, that is, Alhaji Atiku.
“Buhari is far ahead, and when you have that, you then calculate, if I take part in the debate, I don’t have anything to gain but they may have something to gain, so, I’m not going to give them that advantage.
“It is a calculation anybody can make. This is not the first time, Goodluck Jonathan did it, Obasanjo did it, and Yar’Adua did it.
“If you are far ahead, you may just say what do I stand to gain by going to debate and give them an opportunity of talking to me shoulder to shoulder as if we are equal when I’m far ahead. So, I will not go.
“It then means that there are many opinion polls, the two I have seen say that Atiku is far ahead of Buhari?
“Well, just for weeks away. At nine months, the secret between a man and a woman will come out; we are going to see it. It can never happen, it is going to be a landslide.
“The president has been telling Nigerians things they need to know, it doesn’t have to be on that debate alone. That is what the campaign is all about, there are releases on televisions, and so many things are going on.
“I have seen a lot of information, so the debate is not a crucial platform for giving information out. It is more an opportunity to give everybody an attempt to be shoulder to shoulder with each other. The person who is leading doesn’t want to give them that opportunity.
“Unfortunately, there is no law that is binding about participating in a debate. It is ideal for everybody to appear for the debate, but if you have nothing to lose by not debating, you may decide not to do so. It is a calculation.
“We cannot blame any candidate who, like someone who is playing chess, knows that my best move is to ignore the debate and carry on and let them debate among themselves.
“Obviously, he [Buhari]knows what to say. He is the head of government, even if he is not initiating everything that the government is doing, he is approving them; he is reading, he is signing. That can’t be true.
“You know many of these people, particularly the motivational speakers, that is their life; they have nothing else doing.
“It doesn’t even make sense for somebody who is deeply involved in government about development and improving the lots of his people to say that you are going to compete with people like that. All that they are going to do is to ramble on and on before you know what is happening.
“He knows what to say. It is not in his interest to go and debate with those people. Let us be practical and sensible about a situation.“You go on areas, which you have your strength and concentrate on that. He has nothing to gain by debate.
“If he goes to debate, he is just going to help people who have no hope, and I call them, Buhari and the political dwarfs; he is only going to give relevance to the political dwarfs; he is already far ahead of all of them.
“He doesn’t want to go there and make them taller than they are; so, let them remain like that – political dwarfs. In four weeks time, we will know them.
On the fears in some quarters that Buhari may not agree to handover if he loses, Sagay added, “There is no problem there at all. Buhari is just there to serve; he is making a great sacrifice, working day and night for the people of this country.
“If in our own consideration and we are not happy, and we want to change and we vote for any other persons who wins, Buhari will gladly go.
“He would do what Jonathan did, congratulate the person and he would quietly go back to Kaduna and Katsina. I assure you about that, there will be no resistance if that happens.”