Former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose has explained why he turned down invitation to attend a debate organised by Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE Nigeria), a coalition of young Nigerians promoting good governance and citizen engagement.
The group in a release, Friday in Lagos said that of the 18 candidates vying for the position of Governor, only the four leading candidates were invited to participate in the debate.
They are incumbent governor Kayode Fayemi, of the All Progressives Congress (APC); Opeyemi Bamidele of the Labour Party (LP); and Accord Party flagbearer, Kole Ajayi and Fayose.
A senior official, Ms Yemi Adamolekun had stated that except Mr Fayose of PDP who “declined to participate in the debate”, other candidates are expected to articulate their plans for Ekiti youth with special focus on education, security, power supply and employment/enterprise.
It has however been alleged that Lere Olayinka, an aide of the ex-governor said his principal would not participate in a “sponsored election debate.”
“Yes, it is true we are not participating. That group EiE got money for the event; Fayemi paid them millions”, he alleged.
“EiE was founded by Chude Jideonwo, the organiser of Future Awards and owner of Ynaija. Every Tom and Dick named Harry cannot organize debates, same way any serious candidate should not attend just any debate.
“Fayose will only attend debates organised by Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, BON, or any other credible organisation. You may recall BON organised one during Ondo elections.”
Enough is Enough Nigeria, however, debunked the claims by Fayose’s camp.
Executive Director, EiE Nigeria, Ms. Yemi Adamolekun, told our reporter that she “personally spoke to Mr Fayose and he declined participating because we have a relationship with Channels TV, a Lagos-based broadcasting station.”
According to her, “since there’s even an exact figure – N218m – they should please show proof.
“We have run this on a shoe-string budget which is why publicity started late. Ask our vendors. If we had N218m, the WORLD will know a debate was happening in Ekiti.”
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has fixed Saturday June 21 for the state governorship election.