Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel and guber candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, for 2019 and his All Progressives Congress, APC, counterpart, Obong Nsima Ekere were both absent at the BBC news pidgin governorship debate held in Uyo, the state capital on Thursday.
The two hours live audience programme tagged “Governorship Debate with BBC News Pidgin,” held at the Theatre, University of Uyo, UNIUYO, was however, honoured by four other governorship candidates.
They are Iboro Otu of Abundance Nigeria Renewal Party, ANRP, Nature Udoh of Young Progressives Party, YPP, Ezekiel Nya Etok of Young Democratic Party, YDP and Ekong Eyo of Peoples Progressives Party, PPP. “This is the first governorship debate organised by the BBC News Pidgin. We chose to come to Akwa Ibom because of the interesting development in politics in the state and similar debate will hold in Port Harcourt on January 21st,” said organisers of the debate.
Reacting to the absence of PDP and APC candidates from the programme, the Editor of the BBC Pidgin Service, Adejuwon Soyinka said both of them gave reasons that they were on official assignments outside the state, and therefore could not participate unless on another date convenient for them.
The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy Mr. Charles Udoh on the absence of Governor Emmanuel said, “Following an invitation extended to Governor Emmanuel to participate in the BBC pidgin English debate alongside other gubernatorial candidates and a clash of the time for the debate with another official function outside the state that is of grave importance, the governor in a telephone conversation with the BBC team appealed for a shift of time to enable him attend.”