The gubernatorial candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde and his Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), counterpart, Barrister Sharafadeen Abiodun Alli have shunned the ongoing British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Yoruba news gubernatorial debate in Oyo state.
The debate which is currently ongoing at the Professor Theophilus Ogunlesi Hall, opposite the University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan, the state capital is being organised by the corporation to allow the candidates to tell the people about their manifesto.
The gubernatorial election is billed to take place on Saturday, 2nd March 2019 in all the 33 local government areas in the state.
The debate which had attracted politicians, party leaders and other stakeholders is however been attended by four out of the thirty-nine candidates jostling to succeed the incumbent governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi in May this year.
Those in attendance are former governor of the state who doubles as the candidate of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) Otunba Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala, All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Mr. Adebayo Adelabu, African Democratic Congress (ADC) candidate, Senator Olufemi Lanlehin and Mrs. Bolanle Sarumi-Aliyu, candidate of the National Interest Party (NIP).
Head, West Africa BBC news, Toyosi Ogunseye while addressing the participants shortly before the commencement of the debate tasked the audience to maintain decorum with a charge that the intention of the debate was to let the candidates tell the people about their aspirations.
Ogunseye while speaking warned that the platform was not a political gathering.
She said, “Good morning. Please, we want us to know that this is not a political gathering. This is not a political party thing. This is not a political gathering. We have done it in Lagos and we will do it in Kano and Enugu. We are live and the whole world is watching us live from here”.
Alli, former Secretary to Oyo state government, while explaining why he shunned the debate, maintained that the organisers of the event failed to feature him in the advertisements preceding the event.
The former Chairman, Odu’a Investment Company Limited in a statement made available to DAILY POST through his Media Aide, Comrade Taiwo Ibrahim on Friday, maintained that though attention of the organisers was drawn to the error in the advertisements but the “error” according to him was not corrected.
He said, “Like every other candidate, the organisers invited me but in the advertisements preceding the event.
“Subsequent advertisements made by them failed to bear my image and other details as one of the invitees to the event.
“The attention of the organisers was drawn to the error in the advertisements and they promised to effect a correction.
“I shunned the BBC Gubernatorial debate in Oyo, because I have scheduled other campaign tours for the day, outside Ibadan, the state capital”.
Makinde, on the other hand, cited earlier commitments as the reason for his absence at the debate.
The PDP candidate in a statement made available to DAILY POST by Prince Dotun Oyelade, his Media Aide, said that he had agreed with the people of Ibadan South East that he would kick off his campaign early enough today.