Nigeria: #EkitiDebate2018 - Fayemi, Olusola-Eleka, Others in Final Showdown

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(file photo)

Gubernatorial candidates in Ekiti State are taking part in a televised debate to canvass support for their individual ambitions, two days to the showdown on Saturday.

Major contenders, Kayode Fayemi and Kolapo Olusola-Eleka, standing for the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party, respectively, are expected to slug it out tonight.

Akin Aiyegbusi of the Social Democratic Party, Segun Adewale of the Advanced Democratic Party and Abiodun Aluko of Accord Party are also participating in tonight's debate, which is the second round. The first edition held in the afternoon amongst candidates of other parties.

The candidates would counter one another on which direction the state should go. While the opposition candidates are arguing for a breakaway from the dominance of incumbent Governor Ayo Fayose, Mr Olusola-Eleka wants the electorate to show appreciation for the remarkable strides of the incumbent by giving him a chance to continue.

Mr Fayose, whose tenure winds down in October, nominated Mr Olusola-Eleka to succeed him, and paired him with a 39-year-old deputy.

Major issues up for passionate arguments tonight include the plight of state public works personnel, state external debts and the divergent views on how to curb the activities of herdsmen.

Mr Fayose signed a law against open grazing by predominantly Fulani pastorialists in 2016, but some candidates have criticise the policy, even though they are largely non-committal about their solutions.

Political analysts have found it difficult to predict a definitive favourite, even in the remaining 48 hours to the election.

The debate was scheduled to start at 6:00 p.m., but logistics and other unavoidable factors appeared to have put them well behind schedule.

As at 6:04 p.m., only Mr Adewale has been seen at the venue. There are widespread insinuations that Mr Olusola-Eleka may not appear for the debate, but this has not been categorically confirmed by the organisers.

Yemi Adamolekun, director of Enough Is Enough Nigeria, which is partnering Television Continental to host the debate, announced at 6:21 p.m. that the live broadcast will commence at 7:00 p.m.

PREMIUM TIMES' Samuel Ogundipe and Nicholas Ibekwe are at the venue to bring live updates on crucial aspects of the night.

Refresh this page for updates...

Segun Adewale of ADP speaking with Premium Times outside the venue of the debate

Segun Adewale of ADP speaking with Premium Times outside the venue of the debate

More than 43 minutes after the official start time of the second round of the Ekiti State gubernatorial debate, organised by the Enough Is Enough group and Television Continental, the event is experience a slow start as most of the seats in the audience are still empty and only one of the debaters, Segun Adewale of Advance Democratic Party, is believed to be around the venue of the debate.

There are also little activities going on at the registration desk as members of the audience appears in trickles.

Pictures in the attached.

little activities going on at the registration desk as members of the audience appears in trickles.

little activities going on at the registration desk as members of the audience appears in trickles.

little activities going on at the registration desk as members of the audience appears in trickles.

little activities going on at the registration desk as members of the audience appears in trickles.

A source close to the the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Kayode Fayemi, just told Premium Times that Mr Fayemi may not appear for this evening debate. Our source, however added that top members of his campaign organisation and the APC are still trying to convince, Mr Fayemi who is the immediate past governor do the state to appear for the debate. This is as the moderator of the debate just kicked off debate proper.

The second belt of the Ekiti election has commenced.

Candidates will be questioned on their plans for Ekiti people on security, education, health care, job creation, the anchor announced.

"You need not have billions of Naira, you need not to have stolen to contest in our party," Temitope Omotayo, 35-year-old, gubernatorial candidate of Young Progressive Party (YDP).

Candidates are now being called to the podium. Candidates present for the debate are;

Abiodun Aluko - Accord Party

Akinloye Aiyebusi - Socialist Democratic Party

Segun Adewale - Advanced Democratic Party

Kayode Fayemi of the People's Democratic Party and Olusola Eleka of the All Progressives Congress are not yet to show up.

Temitope Omotayo, candidate of the Young Democratic Party, addressed the audience in the hall. He argued that the youth can achieve a lot for Nigeria if there is a unison and sincerity of purpose amongst them.

Mr Omotayo, 35, said the senior citizens who dominate the country's political landscape have no fresh ideas to offer in a fast-chanhing world.

Three candidates at the venue at Mr Aluko, Accord Party; Mr Adewale, ADP; and Mr Aiyegbusi, SDP.

Mr Fayemi and Mr Olusola-Eleka, candidates of the two biggest platforms, APC and PDP, failed to show up.

Ms Adamolekun says it is not the first time Mr Fayemi will shun debate. She said the politician similar ignored invitation to participate in June 2014 gubernatorial debate when he was then the incumbent.

Mr Fayemi lost that election, failing to win even one out of 16 local governments areas in the state. He was roundly defeated by Mr Fayose, who was himself ousted from office in 2006 amidst allegations of corruption.

Mr Aluko says he will prioritise the welfare of the people if elected. He is from Ikere Ekiti.

Mr Aiyegbusi, an investment banker, said he would as a matter of urgency attract investments to the state. He said the state has always been know as thorough and hardworking.

Mr Adewale, an aviation executive, said the state is too reliant on federal allocations rather than generating income internally.

He said the state is too educated to be poor, producing a high turnover of professors and other highly-educated personalities. He also said the state has raw materials that could be converted into good use for the overall benefit of the state economy.

The debate moderator says the Mr Fayemi and Mr Olusola-Eleka were invited, but did not show up even though they did not say they will not be available.

First set of questions:

Biodun Aluko of Accord Party promised to advance the human capital of Ekiti people, create wealth through investment in agriculture, mining and tourism.

"I am devastated by the level of poverty we have in the state. I am contesting to eradicate poverty. If i'm elected, my manifesto is simply to eradicate poverty as a matter of urgency," Akinloye Aiyebusi - Socialist Democratic Party

"The main reason why i came to Ekiti is to create a shift from living on federal government allocation by creating wealth," Segun Adewale of Advanced Democratic Party

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