The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Lagos State council is partnering 11 professional bodies to organise debates for governorship and deputy governorship candidates of six political parties in Lagos.
The NUJ chairman, Dr Qasim Akinreti, who disclosed this to newsmen at the council’s secretariat in Lagos, said the coalition is tagged: “The City That Works Alliance.”
The coalition will include Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, Enough is Enough, Nigeria Labour Congress, Radio Television Theatre and Art Workers Union of Nigeria, Centre for Housing and Sustainable Development, UNILAG, WFM and Heinrich Boll Stiftung Nigeria.
Akinreti, who spoke on behalf of the 11 professional bodies, said that the debates would hold on February 7 and February 21 at the Lagos Television Combo Hall, Agidingbi, Ikeja.
He explained that the deputy governorship candidates’ debate was scheduled for February 7 while the governorship candidates’ was for February 21.
“In view of the growing and development trajectory of Lagos State, the City That Works Alliance considered it necessary and timely to intervene and support governance process that can make urban services and infrastructure work for all residents and visitors to Lagos.
“One key approach to supporting the governance process is to understand the thoughts, plans and agenda of the prospective individuals who are aspiring to assume the leadership position of the state.
According to him, the focus is to ensure that Lagos works for the people and there will be no short cut to the governorship seat of Lagos because the coalition wants it to be a straight fight among the best candidates.
Akinreti explained that the debate was meant to assist the electorate make informed decision during the March 2 gubernatorial poll.
The NUJ boss said participants were picked across the five divisions of the state, thus they would have the opportunities to ask questions on various issues including the manifestoes of the parties.
The parties that will participate in the debate are All Progressives Congress, Peoples Democratic Party, Alliance for Democracy, Social Democratic Party, African Democratic Party and Young Progressive Party.
He explained the criteria for the selection of APC, PDP, AD, ADP and SDP candidates including fielding candidates in the 40 state constituencies, adding that the choice of YPP was because it was the only party that fielded a female governorship candidate in the state.
The debate, Akinreti noted, would look at the quality of leadership that could improve social, economic and environment prosperity for the state and expand the electorate’s knowledge of the governorship candidates.
He said that the debate would further enhance the candidates’ understanding of the complexity involved in managing a large city like Lagos to deliver urban services, infrastructure and effective governance.
Among the areas of focus include urban development, infrastructure, environment and regional integration; human rights and legislative framework as well as industrialisation, taxation, revenue, youths, budget, city’s inclusion and agenda balance. Others include employment, empowerment and civil service, citizens relationship entertainment and tourism and governance, local government, politics and freedom of information.