Nigerian Catholic priest working in Gambia, Fr Kelvin Ugwu, has accused journalist and newspaper columnist, Reuben Abati of bias while anchoring the Presidential Town Hall by Arise Television on Sunday, November 6 in Abuja.
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Fr Kelvin questioned Abati whether it made sense that a vice, who has a constitutional role far different from that of the President, would be allowed to debate with presidential candidates.
The popular cleric also queried Abati on why he gave Dino Melaye, an official spokesman for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) campaign team, the privilege to ask a question in a debate. Fr Ugwu made the claim through a post on his verified Facebook page. The cleric, however, also wished Abati a Happy Birthday before seeking answers to his questions. He wrote:
“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.
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“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 the guest (Dino) to leave the premises. “Abati, on this, you totally got it all wrong.” “You were obviously too biased and too partisan to anchor a debate of that nature.”