BON, NPAN, NUJ, NGE, OTHERS PLAN PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE
A BROAD-based coalition has been formed by the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON), Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) as well as election based non-governmental organisations and professional associations for the conduct of presidential and vice presidential debates for the 2011 general elections.
The coalition, known, as Nigerian Elections Debate Group (NEDG) would be chaired by Chairman, Board of Directors, Gateway Television, Abeokuta, Taiwo Alimi.
Briefing journalists yesterday in Abuja, the Chairman of BON, Mallam Abubakar Jijiwa said the body had made a presentation to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to include presidential debate in its timetable in future elections in the country.
He observed that the media has a critical role to play to ensure that the 2011 elections are free and fair, adding that Nigerians have the right to know and monitor issues that dominate the campaign through the mass media.
He noted that the body would meet with all registered political parties to discuss the development with them, pointing out that presidential and vice presidential candidates of the major political parties are expected to participate in the debate.
Jijiwa, who observed that Nigeria's democracy has come of age, said that the media has made huge sacrifice for the sustenance of peace, unity and democracy in the country.
According to him, the group has made elaborate arrangements for documentation, archival and retrieval of the debate to be able to refresh the minds of Nigerians, so that they can hold to question, any of the candidates who emerge as the winner of the election on why they have not fulfilled their campaign promises.