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Arise town hall: I won’t succumb to blackmail – Tinubu

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The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, has taken a swipe at ARISE TV over its constant broadcast of an advertisement about its scheduled town hall meeting.

On November 25, the broadcast media announced that its presidential town hall 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 in its defence.

The television station said candidates participating in the 2023 presidential election must respect the constitution and ensure they respond to questions from the media on their manifestos.

Reacting, the Director, Media and Publicity of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Mr Bayo Onanuga, in a statement on Saturday, said it was shocking and that the station had continued to broadcast the participation Tinubu, despite the party’s earlier statement that the former Lagos state governor will not be available.

The statement, which was titled, ‘Tinubu won’t succumb to Arise News blackmail,’ 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.

“While it is trite that the media has 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 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 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 his own schedule of campaign activities and other engagements within and outside Nigeria. One of such events 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 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 bully and innuendos by the owner and management of Arise News will change the position our campaign has taken on this matter.”

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