The City That Works Alliance, a Coalition of 11 professional bodies in Lagos State, has concluded arrangements to organise debates for governorship and deputy governorship candidates of six political parties in Lagos.
Dr Qasim Akinreti, the Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists Lagos State Council, made this known to newsmen during a news conference on Friday at the council’s secretariat in Lagos.
Akinreti, speaking on behalf of the coalition, said that the debates are scheduled for February 7 and February 21 at the Lagos Television Combo Hall, Agidingbi, Ikeja.
According to him, the deputy governorship candidates debate will come up on February 7 while the governorship candidates will hold theirs on February 21, at 4:00pm, each day.
He said: “In view of the growing and development trajectory of Lagos State, the City That Works Alliance considered it necessary and timely to intervene and support governance process that can make urban services and infrastructure work for all residents and visitors to Lagos.
“One key approach to supporting the governance process is to understand the thoughts, plans and agenda of the prospective individuals who are aspiring to assume the leadership position of the state.
“Hence, the need to convene this debate. The debate is a programme which outcomes will be integrated into the larger Change the City Projects which NITP and LCS is implementing.
“Our focus is to ensure that Lagos works for the people of Lagos. There is no short cut to the governorship seat of Lagos, we want it to be a straight fight for the best.”
The union leader said that the debate was to help the electorate make informed decision during the March 2 gubernatorial poll.
Akinreti said participants, who had been carefully selected across the five divisions of the state, would have opportunities to ask questions on various parties’ manifestoes.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that candidates of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Peoples Democratic Party, Alliance for Democracy, Social Democratic Party, African Democratic Party and Young Progressive Party would participate.
The criteria for the selection of APC, PDP, AD, ADP and SDP candidates was, among other things, because they fielded candidates in the 40 state constituencies.
Akinreti, however, stated that the choice of YPP was because it was the only party that fielded a female governorship candidate in the state, creating gender balance.
He said that the goal is to further understand candidates’ plans on how to improve the city system and deliver effective service to the residents.
According to him, the debate will interrogate the quality of leadership that could improve social, economic and environment prosperity for the city and to expand electorate knowledge of candidates.
He said that the debate would further enhance candidates’ understanding of complexity involved in managing a large city like Lagos to deliver urban services, infrastructure and effective governance.
Akinreti said that Funke Durodola, Asst. Director, Programmes, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria and Toun Okewale-Sonaiya, General Manager, Women FM would moderate the debate.
According to him, areas of focus will include urban development, infrastructure, environment and regional integration; human rights and legislative framework as well as industrialisation, taxation and revenue.
Others include youths, budget, city’s inclusion and agenda balance; employment, empowerment and civil service, citizens relationship entertainment and tourism; and governance, local government, politics and freedom of information.
thers are housing, foreign direct investment, sustainable and development goals as well as informal economy, flood and waste management.
NAN reports that groups in the alliance include Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria, Nigeria Institute of Town Planners, Enough is Enough and Nigeria Labour Congress.
Others include: Radio Television Theatre and Art Workers Union of Nigeria, Centre for Housing and Sustainable Development, UNILAG, WFM and Heinrich Boll Stiftung Nigeria.