The presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, AAC, Omoyele Sowore has decried his non-inclusion in the Sunday night presidential debate organised by Arise Television and a group, Centre for Democracy and Development was deliberate.
CDD, Arise TV and other organizers of the programme had invited the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Atiku Abubakar of the Nigeria main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, Peter Obi of the Labour Party and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party for the debate.
In defence, to the organisers, the four candidates were selected based on the performance of their parties in an online survey done by the organisers during which all the 18 political parties were listed in alphabetical order.
“The result of this survey informed our decision to invite the highest four scoring parties – LP, APC, PDP and NNPP to the town hall,” the Director of the CDD, Idayat Hassan had earlier said in a statement.
According to her, “All 18 political parties were listed in alphabetical order. After the survey was closed, nine parties did not receive a vote.
“The remaining nine received the following percentage of votes- African Action Congress – 20.7 per cent, APC – 86.2 per cent, All Progressives Grand Alliance – 6.9 per cent, LP – 96.6 per cent, NNPP – 51.7 per cent, PDP– 82.8 per cent, Peoples Redemption Party – 6.9 per cent, Social Democratic Party – 6.9 per cent and Young Progressive Party – 13.8 per cent.”
Subsequently, Sowore accused the organizers of impartiality for favouring Kola Abiola of Peoples Redemption Party who had 6.9 per cent instead of picking Sowore who they claimed scored 20.7 per cent after Tinubu pulled out of the debate.
The results of the poll also unlists the candidates of the YPP, SDP and APGA who had 13.8 per cent, 6.9 per cent and 6.9 per cent respectively, from the debate
Condemning the action of the organisers, an activist, Baba Aye said, “In a @PremiumTimesng article @HassanIdayat said @CDDWestAfrica picked 4 of the 18 presidential candidates for a town hall meeting it’s organizing with @ARISEtv based on ranking via a Twitter survey. The 5th (with 20.7%) was @YeleSowore whilst Kola Abiola of the “PRP” had 6.9% 1/2
APGA & SDP also ranked 6.9% i.e., bhd @aacparty & even YPP. But Kola has been made a replacement for @OfficialAPCNg. This is indefensible. CSOs like @CDDWestAfrica that are supposed to be credible, should not follow such pathways of questionable bias, to say the least.”
While voicing his regrets via a tweet, Sowore said the action was a conspiracy by the organisers to ensure that the best candidate wasn’t given an opportunity to talk to Nigerians.
“It is a conspiracy to ensure the best is not given an opportunity to be at these prime events, they want to keep recycling the same old failed politicians! @CDDWestAfrica @ARISEtv are acting the same script of 2019 to exclude our party. Now @officialABAT @Atiku bailed!” he said.