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Election debates ensure better choices – Abu

Yvonne Williams

Board of Trustees, Nigeria Elections Debate Group (NEDG), said in Abuja on Thursday that debates would enable the electorate to make better choices in the forthcoming elections.
Mrs Eugenia Abu, member of the board, stated this at a news conference after the board’s meeting.
She said Nigerians would be well informed through the debates

“That is the belief of NEDG and that is the much reason why it was set up.

“So this year, it is expected that carrying the political parties along to the debates would ensure that Nigerians see all of them and listen to issues-based debates.

“This is what NEDG is working so assiduously to achieve’’, she added.

Abu assured that modalities were already in place to avoid foul languages during the debates.
Another member of the board, Alhaji Abubakar Jijiwa, who is also the Director-General, Voice of Nigeria (VON), said “we are going to use independent, credible people to draw the questions for the presidential candidates.

“The questions are the things that are natural for candidates to tell Nigerians about their policies and what they are going to do if elected.’’

He said that the group believed that the instrumentality of the debate would give Nigerians the opportunity to have informed choices in casting their votes during elections.

“The debate is the option we are giving to Nigerians in order to shun rancor, bitterness and bad language.

“We are using the platform of election debate group to bring into the homes of Nigerians three categories of debate via television and radio.

This first category will involve town hall meeting featuring only chairmen of two political parties; Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

He explained that the choice of the two political parties was not an indication that other political parties were not recorgnised as they were selected on empirical evidence.

“The second step is the vice presidential debate, coming up on Jan. 28 at the same venue and this is going to be in two batches – 4p.m. and 7p.m.,’’ Jijiwa said.

He added that the debate would also serve as a platform to remind the country’s leaders of their words during their debates.
“It is something that we will keep for retrieval purposes.
“Down the line, we can also play back some of these debates and ask some of our leaders to account for the things they promise to do’’, he said.

(NAN)