Kogi guber polls: APC, 14 others shun debate
THE candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Prince Abubakar Audu and 15 others yesterday shunned the Governorship debate that was organised by the Coalition for Popular Participation and Credible Election in Kogi State (CoPPCEK)
The coalition is made up of the Justice, Development and Peace Commission of Idah and Lokoja Dioceses of the Catholic church, Council of Ulamas, the Correspondent Chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
In his opening remarks the coordinator of the coalition Rev. Fr. Leonard Onu se Odemeja indicated that the debate was an opportunity for the candidates to inter phase with the electorates in a manner that the common man can have a platform to hold his leader accountable on promises made.
He said despite the believe that election debates are not new many people were not aware of it.
Fr. Odemeja indicated that invitations were sent out to all the 22 political parties adding that about 19 sent in acknowledgement of having received the invitation.
However during the event only seven political parties’ candidates showed up.
Those present for the debate included the candidates of Peoples Party of Nigeria,(PPN), Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) National Conscience Party( and Democratic Peoples Congress(DCP)
The APC candidate and those of the other 15 parties failed to either show up or send representatives and yet no reason was given.
According to the cordinator “This debate is basically a platform for the contestants to interphase with the electorates, let the electorate have a good idea of what the candidates have in stock for them.
“This feedback is like more or less a feedback mechanism especially for those who had opportunity to rule the State before to feel the pulse of the electorate as per their performances before and the electorates can now hold them by their words whoever emerges Governor.”
On the apathy on the part of the contestants , he said it was not a new issue to Nigerians .
He however noted that apathy would soon give way to active participation as change was a gradual process.
He said it was to galvanise active participation that encouraged the coalition to put the debate together adding that it might not be very successful at the start but would create an awareness among the electorate that they can really track the candidates to come and listen to them to hear them on what they have in stock for them.
In his key note address, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mallam Hussein Halilu Pai represented by Head of Voter Education, Daniel Kuře said his commission was encouraged to participate in the debate because of the peaceful impact it will have in the conduct of the polls.
In his words, “I advice participants here to note that laws guiding conduct of elections are in the Electoral acts 2010(as amended) and the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.