THE Nigerian Election Debate Group (NEDG), Thursday fixed January 19 for the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congrsss, APC, President Muhammadu Buhari, former Vice President and Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar and Presidential candidates of other political parties to engage in a debate.
Also to be part of the Presidential debate are Gbenga Olawepo- Hashim of the Peoples Trust, PT; Engr. Yabagi Sani of the Action Democratic Party, ADP; Donald Duke of the Social Democratic Party, SDP; Omoyele Sowore of the African Action Congress, AAC; Oby Ezekwesili of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, ACPN; Obadiah Mailafia of African Democratic Congress, ADC; Kingsley Moghalu of Young Progressive Party, YPP; Chris Okotie – Fresh Democratic Party, FDP; Hamza Al-Mustapha – Peoples Party of Nigeria, PPN; Habib Mohammed Gajo – Young Democratic Party, YDP; Olusegun Mimiko – Zenith Labour Party, ZLP; Ade Fagbenro Bryon – Kowa Party, John Gbor – All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, among others.
Addressing Journalists on Thursday in Abuja, Chief Executive Officer of Channels and chairman of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria, BON, John Momoh said that Vice Presidential candidates of the APC, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, that of the PDP, Peter Obi, Junaid Mohammed of the SDP and other running mates are billed to have their debate on December 14, 2018.
According to him, the debates would focus on issues that matter most to working families, that would help restore the economy, provide electricity, create jobs, secure health care for every Nigerian, make and achieve excellence in every Nigerian school as well as ensure safety and security for Nigerians.
Momoh who noted that the debates will hold at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja and will be broadcast live by all BON members, said that plans were on to forward to the 9th National Assembly, a fresh bill for the establishment of a National Commission for Presidential Debate that would make it mandatory for presidential candidates to engage in debates ahead of presidential elections.
Speaking further, John Momoh said, “just a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to address a group of people who were on a courtesy visit to our global headquarters in Lagos. I reiterated the well-known fact that our country, in spite of its numerous potentials, is faced with a social crisis that began way back to the military era; but which has transcended democratic rule since the army returned to the barracks. Today, we are experiencing a health care crisis that threatens our women and children, an education crisis that threatens our children’s future, a power crisis that is crippling every aspect of our economic lives, and a more fundamental crisis – a crisis of corruption, accountability and security.
“One other major challenge facing us as a nation is the threat to national unity, as centrifugal tension, resource control and self determination , ethnicity-based identity politics and religious cleavages have enveloped national consciousness.
“Many of these problems stem from decisions made by our leaders behind closed doors, other times openly, from regulations removed when no one was looking, or from the reckless actions taken while authorities turned a blind eye.
” Our nation is strongest when our elected leaders are transparent, accessible and accountable to its citizens, explaining their decisions and answering tough questions. That standard of openness must start long before election day.
” It is for this reason that the Nigerian election debate group and the broadcasting organisations of Nigeria are organising a vice presidential debate on December the 14th, 2018 and a presidential debate on January the 19th, 2019. ”
The debates would hold at the Transcorp Hilton hotel Abuja, and will be broadcast live on all bon member radio and television stations across the country. the debates will also be streamed live on all mobile and social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, twitter and instagram, to give it a global coverage.
Among others, the debates will focus on the issues that matter most to working families; restoring our economy, providing electricity, creating jobs, securing health care for every Nigerian, making and achieving excellence in every Nigerian school and ensuring safety and security for Nigerians.
“The Nigerian election debate group would set the format and rules of the debate, handle moderation, outline the criteria for political party participation, ensure the objectivity of audiences and steer negotiations between broadcasters and the parties. Nigerians expect the leaders of all political parties to be challenged in a very public and robust way in these debates. not just one of them, but a series of them.”