Yesterday was the Governorship debate in Ekiti, organised by the Nigerian Situation Room, Enough is Enough and other media partners. The debate slated for 6pm was expected to have the two leading candidates in the gubernatorial race, Dr. Kayode Fayemi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Professor Kolapo Olusola Eleka of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with three other aspirants, all gathered to convince the Ekiti electorate one last time, who they should vote for.
However, the two leading aspirants failed to show up, leaving many viewers disappointed. This isn’t the first time politicians looking to be elected into office have bailed on political debates, but this kind of behaviour is a practice that needs to stop for the democratic development of the country.
Several individuals including President Muhammadu Buhari and former president Goodluck Jonathan have set a bad precedence of not attending pre-election debates. Prior to the 2015 Presidential election, all efforts to make the two leading aspirants debate their manifestos failed as the APC campaign council under Mr Rotimi Amaechi insisted that the party had opted for townhall meetings instead of a debate. Nigerians were unable to challenge that, and we ended up voting a man we never heard from. In the build up to the last Ondo state gubernatorial elections, the candidate of APC, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) who eventually won the election also failed to attend the debate.
The last time I checked, the two leading aspirants in the Ekiti polls are highly cerebral men – one, A PhD holder and the other a Professor. By their qualifications, attending a debate should not be a problem. The two leading aspirants have run a non-issue based campaign, but one filled with accusations and counter-accusations. In fact, the manifesto of the two leading aspirants is not known. The debate yesterday was the best medium for both men to engage themselves and tell the electorates their plans but they bungled the opportunity. It’s evident their quest for power is not about the people, rather it’s more about their insatiable crave for power.