The Center for Democracy and Development and Arise Television are in charge of organising debate this Sunday for four presidential candidates.
Peter Obi of the Labour Party, Bola Tinubu of the ruling APC, Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the NNPP are the candidates participate in the debate.
The four candidates were chosen based on how well their parties performed in a survey conducted online by the organizers, in which all 18 political parties were listed alphabetically.
The Director of the CDD, Idayat Hassan, said in a statement that the survey’s results informed the decision to invite the top four scoring parties—LP, APC, PDP and NNPP—to the town hall.
However, the explanation did not stop two additional presidential contenders, Adewole Adebayo of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Omoyele Sowore of the African Action Congress (AAC), from publicly criticizing their exclusion from the debate. On Twitter, both men expressed their opinions.
Read the CDC full statement about the debate below.
CDD collaborates with ARISE on a first presidential town hall
The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) is collaborating with Arise Television to host a series of presidential town halls ahead of the 2023 general elections. The first of these sessions takes place today and will air on Arise Television and on its YouTube and social media platforms.
Ahead of the 2023 elections, CDD and Arise identified the need to ensure citizens hear from the presidential candidates. This follows CDD’s constant campaign to ensure that the parties and candidates conduct issues-based campaigns. Nigerians need to hear how their future leaders plan to address the rising level of insecurity, considerable economic challenges and the impact of foreign affairs in domestic considerations. This has informed our engagements around the elections, from providing fact-checking support and working with partners to provide analyses on the election security terrain.
We are aware that there are questions surrounding the shortlisted candidates we invited to the first town hall. However, this decision was not without reasoning or a set methodology. To ensure ample time devoted to hearing each of the candidates, we ran a survey on Twitter from the 4th to the 10th of October asking citizens to vote on which four parties they wanted to hear from. 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 (AAC) – 20.7%, All Progressives Congress (APC) – 86.2%, All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) – 6.9%, Labour Party (LP) – 96.6%, New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) – 51.7%, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – 82.8%, Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) – 6.9%, Social Democratic Party (SDP) – 6.9% and Young Progressive Party (YPP) – 13.8%.
The result of this survey informed our decision to invite the highest four scoring parties – LP, APC, PDP and NNPP to the town hall. CDD is an independent and neutral institution and is non-partisan or linked to any political party or candidate. The methodology stated above was set before the survey was sent out to avoid any insinuation or claims of bias.
We do not expect this to be the sole platform for candidates to engage with the electorate. Through our ongoing work – a weekly newsletter focusing on issues for candidates, an election security tracker in partnership with the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data project (ACLED), a fake news observatory to monitor misinformation spread during the campaign and our periodic reports and outreach programmes ahead of the election – we expect to support and amplify voices and platforms so Nigerians can make an informed decision.
We hope that this town hall is not the only avenue for Nigerians to listen to their presidential candidates. We welcome other platforms and opportunities to support an issues-based campaign in the run-up to the 2023 elections. We are optimistic that such dialogue and engagement can only portend for better civic engagement and lead to a peaceful and reflective election outcome.
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