An International foundation, Push Africa Foundation (PAF) and its partners have shifted the debate they organised for candidates of political parties contesting the November 16 governorship election in Bayelsa State from October 28 to 31st.
The foundation’s Country Director, Egberamen Doris, who spoke in Yenagoa on Monday, said the postponement was to enable the organizers and other stakeholders plan for effective logistics and ensure maximum participation.
It was gathered that about five governorship candidates of the political parties had been selected to participate in the debate.
The Governorship Campaign Council of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) declared that its Candidate, Senator Douye Diri, had already indicated interest to partake in the debate.
Speaking in Yenagoa, the state capital, the Director-General, Diri/Ewrujakpor Campaign Organisation, Dr. Nimibofa Ayawei, said Diri was not afraid to engage the people of the state in any debate.
Ayawei said: “Any debate that will have to do with the 2019 election, PDP will always be available because we want issue-base campaign. It is the choice of the other camp to make their candidate available. I am not challenging anybody. For us, we want to always interact with Bayelsans”.
It was, however, not clear whether the Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief David Lyon, would be available for the debate.
Efforts to reach the Alternate Director-General of the APC, Prof. Seiyefa Brisibe, to confirm whether the party’s candidate would be available for the debate proved abortive as he consistently refused to answer telephone calls.
Doris described the debate as an important landmark in the state’s democratic journey saying it would deepen democracy and the growing maturity of governance and politics in the state.
She said the proposed debate would give the candidates an opportunity to sell their vision and plans to the state and give the electorate the forum to assess the candidates.
Egberamen noted that the event scheduled to hold October 28, would be conducted independently and exclusively by key stakeholders.
She said the foundation mobilised a Bayelsa State Election Debate Group (BED-G) comprising broadcast organisation, Non-Governmental Organisation (NGOs), civil society groups, faith-based organisations and professional bodies for the event.
Egberamen described the BED-G as a carefully selected non-partisan, non-religious and non-profit oriented group under the supervision of PAF with the primary mandate of organizing the debate.