Omisore, Akinbade absent at Osun governorship election debate

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In Nigeria
Jul 26th, 2014
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THE candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] in the August 9 governorship election in Osun state, Chief Iyiola Omisore, went missing yesterday at a radio debate where he was supposed to square up to the incumbent,Governor Rauf Aregbesola.

Aregbesola is flying the flag of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the election.

Also unavailable   at yesterday’s debate organized by the International Republican Institute [IRI]was Alhaji Fatai Akinbade of Labour Party (LP).

The absence of other leading contenders in the election left the candidate of the All Progressives Congress [APC], Rauf Aregbesola, having all the time allotted for the “Manifesto Hour” programme to himself.

Although  Akinbade, sent his running mate to stand in for him the debate  organisers disallowed him from participating, saying the rule was that candidates would not be represented by proxies.

The Unity Party of Nigeria [UPN]  candidate, Ibrahim Adeoti, who was not invited to the debate, was allowed time to speak even when he was not initially invited.

He walked in on his own and insisted to be allowed to speak.

Organizers were shocked at Omisore and Akinbade’s  failure to turn uo.

”We wrote to them and up to 20 minutes to the beginning of the programme, they were still giving us the impression they would be attending,” said Ezenwa Nwagwu, an official of the Partners for Electoral Reform, who moderated the debate on behalf of the IRI.

“We even started the debate 45 minutes late just because we were waiting for the PDP and LP candidates to show up.”

The Director of Media and Strategy,Omisore’s Campaign |Organisation, Diran Odeyemi, claimed  his principal was not properly invited.

”It was only this morning (yesterday) that our candidate (Mr. Omisore) received a text message reminding him of the debate and that he was being expected at the OSBC studios,” Mr. Odeyemi said,adding:”We did not receive any letter from them. We have a rally today in Ikirun and as I speak to you, we are on our way there.”

But Mr. Nwagwu rubbished  Mr. Odeyemi’s claim, calling  it “mere political shenanigan”.

“We invited them properly,” Mr. Nwagwu said. “It was not verbal invitations. We wrote them letters and the records are there. If we did not properly invite them, how did the APC candidate attend? How did the LP candidate get to send his running mate?”

The Labour Party admitted that Akinbade was invited but explained that he could not personally attend  as he had another appointment to keep,hence the decision to his running mate.

”In order not to create a vacuum, he sent his running mate but the organizers did not allow him to speak,” said Kayode Oladeji, the spokesperson for Mr. Akinbade, the LP candidate.

“As far as we are concerned, we fulfilled all righteousness. It is the organisers thst should explain why they did not allow our candidate’s running mate to participate.”

However, Mr. Nwagwu declared that  rules were clear from the start.

“We had made it clear that only candidates, and not their running mates were expected to participate. There was no room for running mates and they all know that,” he said.

Aregbesola told listeners  that the best thing to have happened in the  since its creation   are his programmes which the PDP wants to destroy.


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