By Nsa Gill
Cross River State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ntufam John Okon, has rejected an offer by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the state to hold a debate for aspirants seeking political office in 2015.
The initiative, according to the invitation letter, which is sent to aspirants from all political parties seeking political offices in the state, particularly the governorship and national assembly aspirants, is the union’s effort towards deepening the democratic process ahead of the 2015 elections.
The State Secretary of NUJ, Nsa Gill, who signed the invitation letter to aspirants alongside the union Chairman, Ndoma Akpet, told journalists that Ntufam John Okon informed him in the presence of many of his party officials and members that “we want to do our things internally. I will not accept any debate and we will not accept any of our aspirants to participate in that.”
According to the NUJ secretary, even when he was reminded that participation in the NUJ debate platform is free of charge for any aspirant and that only what is expected of his party was to let the union know those who have purchased the party’s intent/nomination form, Ntufam Okon reiterated that he will not accept any debate.
“You people should allow us do our thing our own way. May be after primaries we can participate facing other parties but internally we don’t want it. We want to do our own thing internally”, he quoted the PDP chieftain.
The NUJ leadership however said it will forge ahead with plans for the debate platform, disclosing that the debate had taken into cognizance the timetable for primaries of political parties and had scheduled the debate at a convenient time.
The arrangements are such that attendance to the debate is strictly on invitation and such invitations will cover the organized labor, captains of industries, religious organizations, NGOs, CSOs student bodies and the traditional institution; all of which will be given the opportunity to nominate three delegates to be part of the debate audience.
Participating aspirants will have invitation for a maximum of 10 supporters each to accompany them and will be encouraged to ensure other supporters watch and listen to their performance live on partner television and radio stations.
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