The presidential candidate of Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Dr. Oby Ezekwesili has decried the exclusion of a large number of candidates from the vice-presidential and presidential debates.
She was reacting to limiting participation to only five political parties and their presidential candidates.
It would be recalled that the Nigerian Elections Debate Group (NEDG) and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) had had named five political parties expected to participate in the vice-presidential and presidential debates in the lead-up to the 2019 general election.
They are Ezekwesili of ACPN, Fela Durotoye of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Kingsley Moghalu of the Young Progressives Party (YPP).
Omoyele Sowore of the African Alliance Congress (AAC), Donald Duke of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Tope Fasua of the Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP) and many other candidates were excluded.
Ezekwesili said it is not reasonable to allow only five candidates to participate in the presidential debates out of many contestants that will be running for the same seat.
In a tweet on Thursday, the ACPN standard bearer said: “As a country with huge contingent of Parties fielding candidates for election, it does make sense to at least allow more than 5 such parties, at least 25 percent of those candidates, to participate in the most influential of presidential debates.”
She said she would like to see one of her opponents, Sowore, in the presidential debate.
“I (Ezekwesili) want to see a candidate like Sowore, whose AAC has been diligent in crisscrossing Universities to awaken our young to engage in our politics.”
“I also believe that candidates of APGA, KOWA Party and SDP should be part of an additional list of five candidates for the presidential debate of BON/NEDG, considering their assiduous efforts to galvanize a base of citizens to get involved in these crucial polls,” she added.
The presidential debate holds January 19, 2019, while the vice presidential debate takes place in Abuja on December 14, 2018.