By Iduozee Paul, Benin Correspondent
Asthe 2019 general elections gather momentum, candidates of the two majorpolitical parties in Edo State, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and thePeoples Democratic Party (PDP) contesting for positions in the Federal House ofRepresentatives have shunned election debate organized by ConnectedAdvocacy (C A) to inform the people of Edo state on whatthe various candidates have for the citizens shouldthey emerge winners in the poll.
Thedebate was put together to test the competence of the candidates, theirpolitical experience and how they intend to deliver the dividends of democracywhen finally voted into power.
Candidatesrepresenting other parties were however there for the debate.
Addressingparticipants at a Legislative town hall meeting, the House of Representativescandidate, under Action Democratic Party (ADP), Hon. Pius Alile, said if votedto represent Egor/Ikpoba-Okha constituency, he will provide socialsecurity, address the problem of inequality between the rich and the poor,give scholarships for education to youths, loans to women, create functionalmobile healthcare service from community to community, provide qualityeducation, and rebuild the decaying infrastructures that haveadversely affected the localities.
Hon.Alile when asked how he intends to provide the mentioned services, said he willsponsor bills that would lead to the development of his constituency. Hepromised to provide good welfare for the people.
Heexplained that there will also be community engagement with traditionalleaders, Odionweres and Engines, to ensure right projects are sited in theirlocalities.
Hestressed how he had provided close to 10 water bole-holes, to communities bothin lkpoba-Okah/ Egor adding that more water projects are still goingto be commission before the general elections.
Hon.Pius Alile, who was former Student Union president, at the Instituteof Journalism Benin city, disclosed how he gave cash grant of N20,000 each tomarket women to boost their trade, empowered180 petty market traders, graded 40earth roads linking his district, and pledged that if given theopportunity to represent the people, he will do more.
Theformer Egor local government ward 7 councilor said he will ensure new policiesare enacted to attract modern development to his constituency with a vow toempower widows, women and youths withmodern skills and training to enable them withstand global life constraints.
Onhis part, the House of Representatives candidate of the AdvancedCongress of Democrats (ACD) to represent Egor/Ikpoba-Okha district,Comrade Obazelu Ephraim Nosa, said if elected to represent his people, he willensure he creates Information Communication Technology (ICT) centreswith modern gargets and facilitates that will provide jobs for youths andwomen.
ComradeObazelu Nosa said he will also focus on the area of agriculture so that youthsthat graduates from various high institutions go into agriculture. He vowed togive fertilizers to peasant farmers, loans to women to support their trade,bursary to students to make them further their education. He promised to buildgood roads network so that farmers can transport the products to the market.
Explainingthe essence why the election debate was organize, the Executive Director,Connected Advocacy (CA), Israel Orekha, asserted that, ‘’ as the 2019 electionsdraws closer, and election campaigns, by candidates and parties areintensifying, and down soon. It is vital to gather like this as fellow citizensto discuss silent issued-based activities propelling the electioneering processand season of campaigns.’’
ComradeOrekha’s, who is equally the convener of the meeting, said, the legislaturewhich is the second arm of government in Nigeria, will remain a criticalcomponent of the government mechanism, and plays quite a decisive role in theprocesses, dimension and structure of governance of Nigeria, and any otherdemocracy.
“Yet,it does not seem that, we as citizens or the would-be legislators are takingthis business keenly as expected. As a nation, we are currently confronted withseveral critical problems in nation building, requiring competent, wellinformed and vitally non-partisan legislative interventions.’’
“Wehave the vexatious issue of constituency projects, and the appropriation offunds for such by legislative. What is the position of the candidates, andtheir parties on the issue of constituency projects? Should the practice bescrapped? Or should the process be sanitized within clear cut legislativeframeworks?”
“Whatis their position on the bills, before the two chambers of the NASS, regardingthe provision of legislative framework for the constituency project management?These are pertinent issues begging for answers, and today, we want to carefullyhear the Edo representatives and would-be policy-makers manifestoes andcommitment to the people. It will be exciting to know, if any of such have beentaking into cognizance and in their agenda,’’ he posited.
Also,for the candidate of NDCP, for House of Representatives to represent Egor/Ikpoba-Okhadistrict, Comrade Michael Obasuyi, told the partakers at the forum, if electedto stand for the people that his priorities is to make sponsor bills that willcreate 1,000 jobs for his people. He said by training the women and youths withmodern skill acquisition to make them self-reliant and to strengthen theexisting institutions to enable government curb corruption.
Forthe candidate of All Alliance Congress (AAC), vying forthe House of Representatives to representthe Egor/Ikpoba-Okha constituency, Osamede Evbakhavbokun, said ifvoted to represent his people, he will make modern laws that attractmore projects to his district. disclosed, if elected, hewill ensure he work with National Orientation Agency to re-orient the attitudeof the youths to make them have the right attitude on how to exhibit the bestmoral value in the society, especially in the area of drug abuse and all othermoral decadence.
Surprisingly,after the event in an exclusive interview with various political party candidatesthat grace the debate, they expressed disappointment about the non present ofthe candidate of APC/PDP vying for lower house in the Egor/Ikpoba-Okhaconstituency for shunning the debate.
Theyexpressed grievances that, the forum would have be an avenue for the incumbentlawmakers representing the district, Hon. Johnson EhiozuwaAgbonyima (APC),Hon. Ogbeide-Ihama, representing (PDP)Oredo/Uhunwode federal constituency, andHon. Patrick Aisowieren (APC), representing Uhunwode/Orhionmwon lower federaldistrict to tell the people what they have done.
Theelections debate event also witnessed various leaders and representatives ofinterest groups, such as, CSOs, NGOs, politicians, academia, religious leaders,market leaders, media and many other bodies.
Atthe end of the elections debate the candidates that presented in the racesigned peace pact to ensure peace lead after the polls.