Both Omoyele Sowore and his party, the African Action Congress (AAC), have protested his exclusion from the presidential debate scheduled for January 19.
The Nigerian Elections Debate Group (NEDG) and the Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria (BON) had announced that five candidates had been included in the debate, excluding Sowore and several others.
Sowore, on his Facebook, wrote:
First they excluded @aacparty from the signing of Peace Agreement & Memorandum of Understanding by Presidential Candidates & Party Chairmen in Abuja today, just emerged also they don’t want me to participate in the Presidential debates, they claimed I am out of control and may spill what I know about these oldies publicly during the debates. These old guards still don’t get it. #TakeItBack #Sowore2019 Victory is certain!
His party, too, shared a statement signed by the Director-General of the TakeItBack Movement/Sowore 2019 Campaign, Malcolm Fabiyi, Sahara Reporters reports. The statement read:
We demand to know the criteria that were used for selecting the parties that will participate in the debates.
The AAC is one of the three largest parties in Nigeria. In fact, we were within the top three parties in the online poll that was organised by Channels TV to determine the participants in the presidential debates. We demand that the unaltered results of that poll be published.
It is unconscionable that our candidates will be left out of the VP and Presidential debates when smaller political parties that fared worse in the polls, and do not have the reach or strength that our party commands across the country, were included.
We also note that our presidential candidate has won every major independent and objective poll against the candidates from the alternative parties. Yet somehow, those parties made it to the debates while our candidates did not.
We demand that NEDG and BON publicly declare the criteria that were used for selecting the participants. Any debate about Nigeria’s future and the 2019 elections that does not include the AAC is a farce. Nigerians cannot be fooled.
We expect that this grave injustice will be rectified immediately, ahead of the VP debates on December 14. Nigerians must not be cheated out of a robust debate about our nation’s future. Nigeria MUST progress.