May 15, 2023

Bayelsa Polls: Ijaw leaders challenge governorship candidates to debate

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By Gabriel Ewepu

ABUJA- AHEAD of November 2023 governorship election in Bayelsa State, Ijaw leaders in Nigeria and Diaspora under the auspices of Ijaw Elections Initiative, IEI, weekend, challenged governorship candidates of political parties to a debate.

The IEI came up with the challenge during a virtual meeting, which they said it is to make the electoral process in Bayelsa State more inclusive and owned by the electorates.

The group said the debate will create an opportunity for the candidates to present what they have for the development and advancement of the State.

This was contained in a statement signed by the Secretary, Ijaw Diaspora Council, IDC, Dr Edward Agbai, where the group also disclosed that candidates will be engaged in Town Hall sessions to share their ideas about a prosperous Bayelsa State through their manifestos and programmes.

The statement reads in part: “Prominent Ijaw leaders in Nigeria and the Diaspora met virtually under the aegis of Ijaw Elections Initiative on Saturday, May 13, 2023, and agreed to use the Ijaw Diaspora Council, IDC, as a platform together with individuals and partnering organizations within and outside the Ijaw Nation to conduct a series of election debates for the forthcoming 2023 Bayelsa State governorship elections slated for November 2023.

“The forum agreed among other things to conduct debate for Bayelsa Governorship Candidates and their Deputies of the various political parties participating in the election.

“Additionally, Ijaw Elections Initiative agreed to engage the candidates in Town Hall sessions in Bayelsa State to share their ideas about a prosperous Bayelsa state through their manifestos and programmes.

“We believe that the debates will provide us the opportunity to openly and freely address the challenging issues that are most significant to the people of Bayelsa State.

“We, therefore, urge all the Bayelsa Governorship Candidates to prepare for the Debate Series to answer publicly and on the record – about the issues that matter most to us in many areas, including human capacity building, wealth creation, sustainable economic democracy, political stability, and good governance.”