A presidential debate leading up to the February 14 election, being organised by the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), will hold on Tuesday. The debate is scheduled to take place at the Congress Hall of the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.
Already, President Goodluck Jonathan has accepted to participate in the debate, a statement said last night. In a letter dated January 14, 2015, to the initiators of the debate – Channels Television, ARISE Television as well as THISDAY and Guardian Newspapers Limited – on behalf of NPAN. Senator Ahmadu Ali, Director General of the Jonathan/Sambo 2015 Presidential Campaign Organisation, said the President “has accepted to participate in the debate”, the statement said.
According to the statement, while General Buhari Campaign Organisation has indicated – in principle – that it would also participate in the debate, no official letter has been received from them at press time.
The statement went on: “President Jonathan and Major-General Mohammadu Buhari were formally invited to the debate. In a letter dated January 11, 2015 to both presidential candidates and delivered the same day, the organizers noted that “too many of the troubles we now face stem from governance: decisions made behind closed doors, regulations removed when no one was looking, or reckless actions and impunity across the polity.” The letter added: “Our nation is strongest when our elected leaders are accessible and accountable to its citizens, explaining decisions and answering tough questions. That standard of openness and transparency must start long before Election Day on February 14, 2015.”
“The organizers include ALL member organizations of the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria, Channels Television and ARISE Television. And footage will be made available LIVE to all broadcast stations as well as on social media:Twitter, Facebook and Google. The audience for the debate will include civil society groups, youth groups and other stakeholders. Attendance at the debate will be strictly by invitation”.