It Is Not Compulsory For Candidates To Participate In Debate – INEC
Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of the Independent National Election Commission, says that the commission does not have the power to force any candidate to go to a debate.
He made the statement on Thursday while addressing the quarterly consultative meeting with media executives in Abuja.
Yakubu argued that democracy, just like voting, is a democratic right. We know debates are to make citizens more informed.
His words, “I am not sure we can compel someone to attend the debate. You cannot do that. Even in most advanced countries, you can’t compel someone to do anything in a democracy. Debate, just like voting, is a democratic right. We know debates are to make citizens be better informed.
“However, there is an unspoken consequence for candidates not participating. I also understand that some candidates prefer not to attend in order to avoid making mistakes that would drive voters from them.
“We are, however, happy with the job the election debate group is doing. The effort of the media in this aspect should be supported, but they should also be non-partisan.
“Many political parties have come to complain to us that they are not invited to debate. In 2019, we have over 70 presidential candidates and now we have 18,” the statement added.