APC, PDP, LP candidates absent at Niger guber debate

By Ummi Ismaeel,
Minna
The incumbent Governor and candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Niger State, his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and, Legacy Party (LP) counterparts for the March 2019 election were absent at yesterday’s governorship election debate in Minna, the state capital.
The debate, which provided the opportunity for some of the electorate to meet with the aspirants, was organised by Niger State Coalition of Business and Professional Associations in conjunction with the United States-based, Centre for International Private Enterprise.

At the Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi International Conference Centre, Minna venue for the event, only the governorship candidates of African Democratic Congress (ADC), Dr. Ibrahim Mani Ahmed, the Action Democratic Party (ADP) candidate, Alhaji Isah Kawu, All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Dr. Joshua Bawa, and their Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Alhaji Yahaya Dauda, attended and participated in the debate.

No official reason was advanced on why the APC and the LP governorship candidates failed to attend or represented, but it was gathered that the Governor Abubakar Sani Bello was attending the annual wreaths’ laying to mark this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day.
Alhaji Umar Muhamad Nasko of the PDP was said to be out of town on campaign tour to local government areas.
One of his aides, who arrived midway into the event to represent him, was however turned down by the organizers as he made his way to the podium.
Coordinator of the Debate, Mr. Eddie Arasie, said that all the governorship candidates were duly informed about the programme through their campaign organisations, adding, “If they are not here it is not our fault”.
Governorship candidates of the; ADC, ADP, PRP and the APGA who participated in the debate spoke on various issues bothering on education, improvement of the state Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), combating crime, corruption, open governance, infrastructural development, tourism among others.
All the four governorship candidates who unanimously agreed that Niger State needed to be ‘rescued’ were however divided on how to tackle issues if elected as governor.
Specifically, Alhaji Isah Kawu of the ADP said that the number of schools in the state which he put at over 600 were on the high side as such his administration would ‘rationalize and teachers properly placed’ for maximum benefits.
Kawu who was a member of, Niger State House of Assembly also told the crowd that witnessed the debate that his government will not retrench teachers but reposition the education sector with a view to making it more responsive to the needs of the state.

But the ADC candidate, Dr. Ibrahim Mani in his conclusion said, ‘I have been a teacher all my life’ promised to increase the number of schools as he believed that, having more schools will take education closer to the students while teachers’ salary and allowances will be increased.
Also, the PRP candidate, Alhaji Yahaya Dauda, on what he termed, ‘avoidable water scarcity’ and how he intends to tackle same, lambasted the APC administration for failing to provide potable water to Nigerlites despite promises.

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