Abuja – The Nigeria Elections Debate Group (NEDG) says fresh ideas are being introduced to ensure that presidential debates remain a stable feature in the nation’s democratic development.
Taiwo Alimi, chairman of NEDG stated this on Thursday in Abuja at a one-day workshop on “Nigerian Media and the 2011 Elections: Setting Agenda for Issue-based Campaign”.
Alimi said that every effort had been made to ensure that this year’s presidential debates got the widest coverage, locally and internationally.
“Throughout the world, the United States have perfected making debates a permanent feature of democracy in America; and this year a three-man delegation had come from the United States and will now be exchanging ideas; they have been bringing input to us.
Earlier, Abubakar Jijiwa, Chairman, Board of Trustees of the NEDG, said that plans were underway to organise mid-term debates to institutionalise a mechanism where politicians were held accountable to Nigerians for either their actions or inaction.
“The organisation we are trying to do is to go beyond the debates so that in the course of the service or their tenure of office we hold the political leaders accountable for some of their actions and promises.
“But the most important thing is that we have put in a sustainable structure that will outlive each and every one of us here. From the onset we called an all-inclusive board of trustees that made sure that everyone was on board.”
Jijiwa, who is also the Director-General, Voice of Nigeria (VON), urged Nigerians to look forward to “very exciting and robust presidential debates in 2011”.
NAN reports that the 2011 presidential debates scheduled to hold between March 28 and March 30 is the brainchild of the NEDG, a broad-based coalition of civil society groups and media organisations.