The presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, on Thursday urged the Nigerian Elections Debate Group (NEDG) and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) to include candidates of other political parties in the presidential debate.
The organisers had announced that only presidential candidates of the ACPN, Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Young Progressives Party (YPP) would be partaking in the debate.
With this, the presidential candidates expected at the debate are Ezekwesili, President Muhammadu Buhari, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Prof. Kingsley Moghalu, Fela Durotoye.
Omoyele Sowore of the African Alliance Congress; Donald Duke of the Social Democratic Party; Tope Fasua, and a host of others were excluded.
Reacting, Ezekwesili explained that candidates of other political parties also deserved to be given an opportunity to participate in the debate.
She noted that allowing more candidates to participate in the debate would give Nigerians a better understanding of the candidates’ ideologies.
She said, “As a country with a huge contingent of parties fielding candidates for the election, it does make sense to at least allow more than five such parties, at least 25 per cent of those candidates, to participate in the most influential of presidential debates.
“I especially wish to see a candidate like Sowore whose AAC has been diligent in crisscrossing the universities to awaken our young ones in ivory towers to engage in our politics. Sowore is doing the country a great service because we must have that generation of Nigerians fully understand and embrace Plato’s counsel: ‘Those who think that politics is beneath them shall be ruled by their inferiors’.
“I also believe that candidates of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), KOWA Party and the Social Democratic Party should be part of an additional list of five candidates for the presidential debate of BON, considering their assiduous efforts to galvanise a base of citizens to get involved in these crucial polls. I hope earnestly that this will be considered by the organisers.”