The presidential candidate of the All-Progressive Congress (APC) on Monday attended a live interview on Monday at Chatham House in London, United Kingdom. The flag bearer of Nigeria’s ruling party ahead of the 2023 elections spoke extensively on security, economy and foreign policy as he has been doing in his public appearances back in Nigeria. 

Why it matters 
Tinubu has come under public scrutiny for failing to honour the invites of various Nigerian media outlets for a one-on-one interview to answer questions on his presidential bid or for a public debate with other leading presidential candidates. The shunning of these interviews has strengthened the opposition’s claim of ill health, incapacitation and inability to speak eloquently. 

What we noticed from the interview 
Tinubu’s Chatham house interview, one of the former Lagos governor’s fewest one-on-one interviews, sparked controversy between his supporters, well-meaning Nigerians and the opposition camps. After delivering a speech on his intended policies, Tinubu then assigned the majority of questions to members of his entourage; a move that his faithful supporters praised as an attribute of good leadership. 

  • The opposition, however, faulted the move as they claimed it would expose the candidate’s inability to articulate his words. In choosing to designate the questions, political analysts in the country criticized Tinubu for not using the opportunity to sell his presidential bid by tackling the questions solely and head on. 
  • According to the People gazette, a spokesperson for Chatham House said in an email to the media outlet, that the “Chair was not notified in advance that Mr Tinubu would be delegating questions.” The report further added that “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.” 

The big picture 
As Nigeria gets closer to the 2023 presidential elections and more voters decide on who gets their votes, it is important that presidential candidates seize outings to put to rest lingering concerns about their presidential bid. Chatham House, for example, is an intellectual think-tank institute where famous and great leaders around the world have spoken. Such avenues are the best platforms to sell presidential bids. 

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