March 15, 2011

Jonathan, Sambo ready for debate – Aide

ABUJA – The Presidency has declared that President Goodluck Jonathan and Vice President Namadi Sambo are fully ready and willing to participate in a televised live debate with the presidential and vice presidential candidates of the other political parties.

A statement yesterday by Ima Niboro, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity said: “This clarification comes against the background of insinuations in some quarters that the duo are avoiding a debate with the other candidates.

“The Presidency has not accepted any of the invitations to debate which have come so far from a plethora of groups and associations because we believe that this multiplicity of competing platforms detracts from the seriousness, gravity and unified national focus that should normally be associated with presidential debates.

“The Presidency is also aware that there is a traditional platform for staging presidential debates in Nigeria under the recognised auspices of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, BON, and that arrangements are underway for a presidential debate on this platform before this year’s election.

“President Jonathan and his vice are more than ready to debate on this national platform which has well-established procedures and rules of engagement and look forward to receiving an invitation from the organisers.

“It is preposterous to insinuate that the duo are reluctant or afraid of a debate with other presidential candidates as it ought to be obvious that they have no reason to be hesitant about debating any of the candidates being presented by other political parties.

“By reason of  incumbency, qualifications and long continuous experience in governance at state and national levels, Jonathan and Sambo have a far better grasp and understanding of the nation’s challenges than any of their opponents and are better placed than them to proffer workable solutions to the country’s problems.

This will become more apparent to all Nigerians when the debates eventually takes place. This clarification has become necessary to lay to rest the seeming confusion that has attended the matter of the presidential debates.”