Youth groups to host five Osun governorship candidates in televised debate

The participants were invited based on the results of an online poll.

Some youth organizations have concluded plans to host a televised debate for five selected gubernatorial candidates in Osun State ahead of the August 9 governorship election.

The debate, organized by the Osun Pro-Democracy Youth, OPDY, LYNX Nigeria, and Enough is Enough Nigeria, EiE Nigeria, will hold on August 3 at the Leisure Spring Hotel, Iwo-Ibadan expressway, Osogbo.

There are 20 candidates contesting at the polls, but the debate organizers said that four participants at the event were invited based on the results of an online poll.

Rauf Aregbesola, the incumbent governor and candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC,; Iyiola Omisore of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP; Fatai Akinbade of the Labour Party, LP; and Segun Akinwusi of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, would participate in the debate, according to the organizers.

A fifth candidate, Ibrahim Adeoti, 42, of the Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN, was invited to the debate on the basis of being the youngest of the 20 governorship aspirants.

Although Mr. Omisore has promised to attend the debate, he has not confirmed his participation, the organizers said.

A radio debate organized by the International Republican Institute for Messrs Aregbesola, Omisore, and Akinbade, last weekend, was attended only by the APC candidate.

The absence of other leading contenders in the election left Mr. Aregbesola having all the time allotted for the “Manifesto Hour” programme to himself.

While Mr. Omisore said he was not “properly” invited to the debate, Mr. Akinbade sent his running mate to represent him.

But Sunday’s TV debate would highlight the critical importance of the youth who represent 70 percent of Nigeria’s population, yet their issues are not adequately represented in the national and local agenda, according to the organizers.

Candidates are expected to make public their plans for Osun youth with special focus on education, employment, enterprise and empowerment, the organisers added.

“This is the first debate in Osun’s 23-year history and Osun residents, especially young people, are encouraged to avail themselves of the opportunity to decide their own fate based on the facts,” said Maruf Adewole, the Secretary of OPDY.

On concerns over security at the debate, the organizers said that the event is non-partisan and, as a result, political party clothing or material would not be allowed in the venue, said the organizers.

“Security will be provided with the support of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), the Department of State Security (DSS), Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), and private security to ensure that fears around security are unfounded,” said Yemi Adamolekun, Executive Director, EiE Nigeria.

The debate is endorsed by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and will be broadcast in partnership with Channels Television and Osun State Broadcasting Service, OSBC, said the organizers.

It is also supported by the National Orientation Agency, NOA, Nigerian Television Authority (NTA Osun), Leisure Spring Hotel, and YNAIJA.

The debate is free and open to the public. Questions will be taken from the audience as well as via SMS, Twitter and Facebook.

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