The National Youth council of Nigeria (NYCN) has sent a strong message to political parties and their candidates billed to participate in the forthcoming South East Gubernatorial Debate ahead of 2019 elections.
The Apex youth body in the country emphasized that Governorship candidates in the four South East States participating in 2019 elections must convince the electorate through the debate by detailing their plans and programmes for their state and be ready to execute them when voted into office as the youths of South East will no longer fold their arms and watch.
Rising from a press conference on Tuesday at Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe Youth House, the National Vice President South East Zone , Prince Chibuike Echem stated that the essence of the debate is to bring the candidates of different political parties and their electorates together, where the candidates will present their manifestos, their programmes and plans for their individual states and bring it to bear, so that the electorates will understand in clear terms what their plans are for their state in other to make informed decision on who to vote for.
” We are bringing this debate close to the core electorates especially the youths who are voting , whom the programmes and policies of government are mostly targeted at. “the aim of this debate is to change the conventional way of campaigning where the candidates promises what they will do ,present vague manifestos to the crowd in a rally who might not understand in details what they are talking about”
On why the candidates have to debate; The NYCN South East Director of Training and Human Capital Development Ijeoma Eze said that one of the reasons why the debate is important is that there are alot of voters who are not convinced by candidate who now stay home and watch TVs on election day and end up not voting that it will avail them the opportunity to access the candidates and make informed decision to vote. She also said it’s an opportunity for the candidates to sell or even campaign by convincing the electorate via the debate on why they should come out and vote.
On whether all the political parties are included in the the debate: Prince Chibuike said that the truth is that all political parties may not have been included but that the committee responsible has been able to scrutinize the political parties and selected five political parties in the various states with the exception of Imo State that has six major contenders and that all the political parties selected have been communicated officially.
The list of selected political parties and their candidate are as follows:
*Candidate participating in Abia State ;Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu (PDP), Uchechukwu S. Ogah (APC) , Dr. Blessing Nwagba (SDP) , Dr. Alex Otti (APGA).
*Candidates participating in Enugu State; Sen. Ayogu Eze (APC) , Mr Cajethan Eze (ADC), Mr. Ekene Uzodinma (UPP) , Mr Peter Aniagbaso (SDP) , Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (PDP).
*Candidates participating in the Ebonyi State; Dr David Umahi (PDP), Sen. Sonni Ogbuoji (APC), Prince Ndubuisi Chibueze (SDP) , Comr. Albino Malachi (ACCORD Party) , Hon. Splendor Eze (ACD).
*Candidates participating in Imo State ; Sen. Ifeanyi Ararume (APGA), Sen. Hope Uzodinma (APC), Rt.Hon.Emeka Ihedioha (PDP), Hon. Uche Ugwumba Nwosu (AA), Dr. Ikedi Ohakim (Accord party), Hon. Tony Nwolu (UPP)
Prince Chibuike also called on South East Youths to support the project.
“We call on all South East Sons and daughters to key in and support this project because it’s a worthwhile project, we as young people it is time for us to hold our leaders accountable, as we said this is the project of NYCN which is the apex youth body in Nigeria it’s time we have come together to ask that our people who believe that they have what it takes to lead us to come and tell us in clear terms what they have to offer”
“Alot of people look forward to this debate so we have gone far and wide to get reputable organisations to be part of this debate. We got the major media organisations as our our partners consequently the debate will be streamed live online and on different national TV stations like AIT and Cable television Networks like TSTV, Startimes etc.”
In his the Coordinator Enugu State Social Security Advocacy Forum Dr Cosmas Ohaka said that it is a very good opportunity for the electorates to engage the candidates as people don’t have the opportunity to ask questions at rallies and that the debate will avail the electorates the opportunity to ask questions finally said that he is happy to partner with NYCN.
“we are happy to be part of this project, by the time we are done with the debate we would have extracted specific commitments from the candidates so that who ever wins will remember that he is committed to serve the people” he said.
Other Partners present at the press briefing affirmed their readiness to support the project.
Mr Okey Onyeka who represented Transition Monitoring Group pointed out that there are a lot of challenges faced by the electorates which the debate is expected to address.
Ezinne Aninwe who represented Dream 92.5fm also stated that the interest of Dream fm is to make sure that the youths are properly informed which will help them access the depth of the candidates knowledge of activities in governance.
The South East Gubernatorial Debate is expected to kick of in Imo State on the 6th of Feb 2019 and continue in Abia Sate on 8th , Ebonyi State on 10th and finally Enugu State on 12th of February respectively