The Presidential Candidate of the Peoples National Convention (PNC), Hassan Ayariga says he cannot participate in Tuesdayís IEA presidential debate.
Speaking on Joy FMís Super Morning Show Monday, Mr Ayariga Ėamid coughs Ė said he had prepared very well for the debate but cannot take part because he was suffering from malaria.
He also indicated that his major reason for opting out of the debate was also born out of respect for the late former Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama who was interred on Sunday.
Ayariga said it was improper for the IEA to go ahead with the evening encounter just a day after the former veep was laid to rest.
He called on the IEA to postpone the debate.
"...The man was buried yesterday [Sunday] so I am challenging the IEA...to postpone it a week so that at least we show some level of respect for the passed vice president and dignity for the people and morality. And that is the reason why I am not going to attend the IEA debate."
However the Executive Director of the IEA, Jean Mensah who said the IEA was about 90 percent ready for the encounter stated the debate cannot be postponed.
"...I believe that the nation is mourning the former vice president but I think that the greatest tribute to him will be to host this debate..." because Aliu Mahama believed in democracy.
She told Joy FMís Kojo Oppong Nkrumah that a one-minute silence will be observed in his honour and regretted that Mr Ayariga has taken this decision. The debate, she maintained, will continue as scheduled.
Meanwhile members of the PNC seem to be taken aback by the sudden decision of their flagbearer.
Atick Mohammed, a policy analyst for the party could not hide his disgust at the decision of his partyís flagbearer when he reacted to the news on the Super Morning Show.
He said the party was not aware of the decision and that he "just woke up this morning to [hear] that breaking news myself and I'm sure its so with so many other executives [of the PNC]. This is a unilateral decision, I'm sure he [Ayariga] has taken..."
Atick believed Ayariga was only giving an excuse to chicken out of the debate. "If you listen to the excuse he is giving, its so whack, so unconvincing..."
He could not understand why people who were close to the former veep are willing to partake in the debate while Ayariga is willing to boycott it.
Atick maintained that the PNC will not allow their flagbearer to continue taking such damaging decisions without consulting the party.
"...He has already done some damage to the party, if he proceeds with this decision I think that will be the last straw that will break the camel's back..."