Edo State governor and Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidate, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and General Charles Airhiavbere of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are among the seven candidates slated for a nationwide debate to be organised by the Nigerian Elections Debate Group (NEDG) ahead of the July 14 governorship election in the state.
The nationwide debate is to afford both residents and the candidates alike the opportunity of accessing and reappraising series of challenges and prospects in governance confronting the state, even as the media has been charged with the responsibility of educating the masses.
Making this known at a media briefing in Benin City, yesterday, the chairman of NEDG, Taiwo Allimi said, “In Nigeria, we face tremendous social, economic and political challenges and the media should be a participatory instrument for social change.”
He announced that six of the seven candidates including Comrade Adams Oshiomhole (ACN), Gen. Charles Airhaivbere (Rtd) (PDP) cleared by INEC to contest the July election have indicated interest to be part of the debate before a live non-partisan audience.
The political parties he said include ACN, PDP, CPC, ANPP, LP, NCP and SDMP
He added that as part of the responsibility of enlightening the people, the various candidates of the seven political parties approved by INEC to contest the July 14 election, must present themselves in a manner that suggests ‘voluntary services’ to the people if elected into office as governor.
While reeling out the successes made so far by NEDG in the past nine years through the organisation of Presidential Debates, Allimi stated that the Edo State debate will be strictly issues based.
He said: “The format of the Governorship Debate in Edo State will be the panel format. Simply put; we shall have one moderator ant two panellists. Our choice of moderator and panellists will be based on integrity, professionalism and experience.
“The debate is designed to present to the Edo State electorate the opportunity to have first hand information on the plans of the governorship candidates and the strategies of implementation before a radio/TV live audience.
“The governorship candidates will speak on a number of identified areas germane to state development and the sustenance of democracy in Edo State. The debate will be strictly issue-based and issue-driven at setting public agenda which may form the basis of policy formulation and direction of government,” he added.