Dear Reuben Abati,
Happy Birthday to you. I wish you all the best in life. Even as you talked about clarity in your birthday post today, and how all you could see in this new year of yours is clarity on all fronts, I have chosen to write this to you, not for anything, but for the sake of clarity.
This is about the presidential debate you hosted yesterday.
You allowed a vice presidential candidate to join a debate you tagged as a “Presidential Town Hall.” How does that even make sense that a vice, who has a constitutional role that is far different from that of the President, be ever allowed to debate with presidential candidates?
You are the organizer of the program. You and your team invited the presidential candidates. You and your team invited or made open the participants/audience. Then, something was not going your way from the audience you invited, and instead of dealing with it, you turn around and blame a presidential candidate who obviously may not even know the people you invited.
You allowed Dino, an official spokesman for the PDP campaign team to ask a question in a debate that is comprised of different political parties.
You saw that his question was directed at a particular candidate belonging to a party he considers a rival, yet you allowed it.
Do you think it was fair that you did not also extend the same privilege to the spokesmen and women of other parties to interrogate their rival candidates as well?
And there and then, one of the presidential candidates got provoked by one of your guests. The candidate spoke out because this your guest seemed to have been there to distract him. The candidate was angry. You saw the anger on his face. Everyone did. The point the candidate made was very justified. Yet, you allowed it to slide without requesting an apology from that guest or a word of caution or possibly asking.
Reuben Abati without missing words, you have failed as a journalist by compromising your career to please your pay masters and the Nigerian people will not forget.
Rev. Kelvin Ugwu