The Chatham House in London on Tuesday reacted to the use of surrogates during an interactive session on Monday, by the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate in the 2023 general election, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, saying that their chairman was ambushed because it was not their practice.
The frontline British think-tank said the ruling APCs presidential candidate undermined its normal arrangement and did not seek prior permission to act in the manner he did.
Tinubu, during his appearance, finished reading a scripted address then delegated political surrogates that included Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila and Governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Nasir El Rufai, and APC Women leader, Betty Edu to answer questions on his behalf.
He assigned the question on oil theft to one of his campaign spokespersons, Dele Alake; the question on security he assigned to El-Rufai and the question on youth development and inclusion to Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River.
Also, a former commissioner of finance in Lagos, Wale Edun, was asked to answer the question on job creation; Mr Gbajabiamila answered a question on national defence while incumbent Lagos State governor Mr Sanwo-Olu took the question on youth inclusion in politics and governance.
“Yesterday’s event was not the norm and our Chair was not notified in advance that Mr Tinubu would be delegating questions,” a spokesperson for Chatham House said in an email. “The principle of Chatham House events is to be able to hear the views of invited speakers, and also to hold those speakers to account.”
Nigerians across the country and the international community have condemned Tinubu’s conduct during the question and answer session of the event. The former Lagos governor failed to express his plans for the country in several areas of governance, including health, education, economy and national defence.
Tinubu avoided all entreaties by the Nigerian media to make himself available for public debate with other presidential candidates but preferred to visit Chatham House in London where he used surrogates to explain his plans for Nigeria if he is elected president.
He has also been noted to have repeatedly committed blunders suggesting that he may not be in the best position to steer the ship of state at this critical time when the country is experiencing a harsh economy and insecurity.
The presidential candidate has dismissed public concerns about his health, insisting that it was misplaced assumptions to think he is not in sound physical and mental health.
Meanwhile, the major opposition parties including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the New Nigeria Peoples Party have condemned the performance of the APC candidate at the Chatham House describing it as a national disgrace.
The atiku-Okowa Campaign Organisation mocked the performance saying it was a pathetic display of vacuity. They noted that all Nigerians, including supporters of the APC were embarrassed to watch Tinubu.