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‘Respect the constitution’ — Arise TV insists Tinubu, Atiku must attend presidential debate

Broadcast channel Arise TV has asked Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Atiku Abubakar and other candidates wishing to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2023 election to respect the constitution and attend the presidential town hall meeting scheduled for December 4.

Tinubu, flagbearer for the All Progressives Congress (APC) had refused to attend the first and second editions of the town hall series.

On November 25, the broadcast media announced that its third presidential town hall series will hold on December 4, with four presidential candidates expected to attend on the said day.

However, the Bola Tinubu campaign organisation said its presidential candidate will not attend, citing a lack of prior discussion on the matter with Arise TV, as a reason for the non-attendance.

The campaign organisation had also warned Arise TV against using its candidate’s photograph on advertisements for the town hall meeting.

But in another poster announcing the town hall meeting on Tuesday, Arise TV listed Tinubu as one of the invited candidates, and quoted section 22 of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria.

“The press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this chapter and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people,” the aforementioned section reads.

The broadcast media said it is expected of a presidential candidate to “respond to questions from independent journalists”.

In furtherance to this constitutional duty, Arise news channel will host the third in the series of the presidential town hall and expects all candidates seeking elections to form a government under this constitution, to respect the letters and spirit of the law, either on Arise news channel or any broadcast channel or media of their choice, to respond to questions from independent journalists, in keeping with the fundamental objectives, responsibility and accountability required by the constitution for those who wish to lead us,” Arise TV added.

Aside from Tinubu, other candidates expected on December 4 are Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi of Labour Party (LP), and Rabiu Kwankwaso of New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).

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