Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Incumbent governor of Delta State and candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the March 2, 2019 election, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa and the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Great Ogboru were on Thursday conspicuously absent at the governorship pidgin English debate organised by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
The debate which held in Asaba, the state capital had in attendance Mr. Frank Esanubi, Odikpor Obire and Brandon Omu, candidates of Africa Action Congress (AAC), Peoples Progressive Alliance (PPA) and All Grand Alliance Party (AGAP) respectively.
Also absent at the debate that was conducted purely in pidgin English was the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) John Akwara. Both Okowa and Ogboru were believed to be the front runners in the governorship race.
However, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Okowa, Charles Aniagwu, told our correspondent that he was not sure if invitation for the debate was extended to his boss, stating that the debate was not on the itinerary of the governor for the day.
“As I speak with you now, I’m in the office; we are not aware of any debate today (Thursday) for governorship candidates; it is not on the itinerary of the governor. And nobody informed us before now of such debate. If there was an invitation letter, at least my attention could have been drawn to it,” Aniagwu stated on phone.
On his part, the APC candidate, Great Ogboru, had before now said that he would not take part in any debate on the grounds that in 2015, the then candidate of the PDP, Dr. Okowa, did not appear in a public debate with other candidates.
However, the moderator of the debate, Nduka Orjinmo, told the audience that the six candidates were duly invited for the exercise, adding that the organisers did not get any response from the absentee candidates indicating that they would not be attending, hence their own portions of the rostrum were prepared for them.
But their absence did not stall proceedings as the candidates present gave a good account of themselves, highlighting their programmes and how they intend to take the state to the next level if elected.
Brandon Omu of the AGAP said his government would provide equal opportunities for all the people in the state through an all-inclusive administration, and ensuring a new lease of life for the people.
Odiakpo Obire of the PPA, while promising massive industrialisation of the state, added that he would create industries even within the prison facilities for inmates to get engaged “so that when they are out they will be totally reformed with money in their accounts to start up a new life, and not amnesty for hardened criminals like they are presently doing.”
On his part, Frank Esanubi of AAC said the major plank of his administration if elected, would be centred on job and wealth creation by doling out N1 million each to graduates every year, and N500,000.00 each to trained artisans, for them start their own businesses.
Esanubi stated that his administration would adopt a bi-curricular educational policy where under graduates across the state’s owned tertiary institutions must learn skills alongside their academic pursuit so that they would not over rely on their certificates after graduation.