25th February, 2011
Arrangements are in top gear to host 18 of the presidential candidates to a debate which is billed to hold in the Abuja, the nationâ€™s Federal Capital Territory, next month. Though the exact date of the debate will be made known at a press conference scheduled for the second week of March 2011.
The 2011 Presidential Debate is the brain child of a Special Committee on Presidential Debates (SCPD) made up of key personalities drawn from a coalition of civil society groups in Nigeria including a select crop of veterans in the media and the academia. The group seeks to steer this yearâ€™s electioneering campaign towards issues â€“ mostly issues on public policy and good governance.
The group seeks to promote and organize well-structured debates among candidates who have emerged as presidential flagbearers in the various political parties and are ready to contest in the general elections slated for April this year.
Through this debate, it is the quest of the group to make political leaders and holders of public office more accountable and conscious of their promises to the electorate. Even more central to the SCPDâ€™s quest is the need to help voters make informed choices.
The Presidential debate will be televised live before a global audience on national television and select international broadcast channels. The debate will be strictly issue-based, devoid of mediocre arguments and base sentiments.
According to the group,” everything will be done to skillfully navigate the discourse to focus on issues rather than personalities. The debate will be free of rancor and bitterness.Â We are providing a unique and rare platform for the Presidential candidates of each party to engage the electorate on the thrust ofÂ their programmes and manifestoes.
”In this debate, there will be no winners or losers as the challenges facing Nigeria is more paramount. The debate in essence is designed to assist the electorate to choose their leaders wisely based on their assessment of the candidate whose programmes and policies best represent their interest.
All we want to achieve is to provide the electorate the opportunity to compare their options equitably
Further details regarding the presidential debate will be unveiled at the world press conference,” the group stated.