The Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on Saturday condemned Arise News – a television station persistent blackmail to railroad the party’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to its town hall meeting slated for Sunday.

The council, in a statement by its Director, Media and Publicity, Bayo Onanuga described the continuous broadcast of Tinubu’s participation at the talk shop as “shocking and downright anomalous”, having told the organisers of the debate that Tinubu will not be available for the programme.

The APC flag bearer had since November 7 advanced seven reasons why he won’t be attending the television station-organised presidential debates in a statement by the spokesman for the campaign council, Festus Keyamo.

Tinubu, in the statement, said he had earlier turned down similar invitations from other TV and radio stations, and therefore could not give preference to Arise TV, adding that the APC standard bearer has a well caught out plans to engage Nigerians through various town hall meetings and rallies.

The campaign council expressed shock at the resolve of the television station to continue to have the name of Tinubu as one of the participants at its presidential town hall meeting billed for today (Sunday).

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.”

The campaign council argued that “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 the section 22 that says a presidential candidate of any political party and least of all, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu must participate in Arise News Town Hall event or any media organised an event at all.

“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. We want to equally stress that Arise News has consistently shown a pattern of bias against Asiwaju Tinubu and we don’t consider the medium as credible and impartial.”

The council then disclosed that the APC Presidential candidate has his schedule of campaign activities and other engagements within and outside Nigeria.

“One such is his scheduled event for Monday, December 5, 2022 at Chatham House in London where he will speak on Security, Economy and Foreign Policy.

“Asiwaju Tinubu travelled to the United Kingdom early today (Saturday) for this earlier scheduled engagement. We want to reiterate for the umpteenth time that no amount of blackmail, intimidation and media bullying and innuendos by the owner and management of Arise News will change the position our campaign has taken on this matter.”

The council directed all its spokesmen and supporters to steer clear of this station over its consistent unprofessionalism and bias against our candidate and party.

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