Agboola Ajayi, the governorship candidate of the Zenith Labour Party, was absent at the Ondo State governorship debate held on Sunday in Akure.
The debate, titled: “2020 Ondo Governorship Election: Face the Voters,” was organised by media organisations, labour unions, civil societies, religious bodies and other critical stakeholders in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Agboola, who is the present Deputy Governor, decamped to the ZLP from the All Progressives Congress to contest the governorship election.
Akinwumi Abodunde, the moderator, said four political parties were invited for the debate, explaining that only two parties were present at the programme.
Abodunde said: “We invited candidate of APC, PDP, SDP and ZLP for this debate and none of the candidates showed any sign that he will not attend as at one hour to the programme.
“But only the candidate of APC and SDP – Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and Mr. Peter Fasua respectively, were present at the scheduled time.”
Meanwhile, Eyitayo Jegede of Peoples Democratic Party came an hour behind the scheduled time.
The moderator grilled the three governorship candidates on leadership, economy, agriculture, health, education, infrastructure, election security and insecurity.
Akeredolu, while responding to the questions, denied the allegation of running a family government, saying he ran a transparent government.
The governor said his wife was not a commissioner, neither does any of his children hold a post in his government.
Instead, he said his wife “has been helping the women of Ondo State through the “BRECAN Initiative”.
He added: “Let anybody that has evidence that anyone of my family is a consultant in the government come out.
“We will sue anyone that lies against my family.”
Akeredolu, therefore, called on his supporters to shun any act of violence during the governorship election scheduled to hold on October 10.
Jegede promised to run a transparent government if elected, cautioning his supporters against violence during the poll.
He said: “There is nothing to be gained by violence, which is why I make sure I report to the Police when such happens.
“This state must have respect for peace and order.
“I plead with our young men not to go near violence, and our leaders must discourage violence.”
Similarly, Fasua, the SDP candidate, urged the youths not to die for any politician in the name of an election.
He said: “Anybody that dies while perpetrating violence has lost his life for nothing.
“Please don’t waste your life for anyone during this election period.
“We, the candidates, are always with our security and are safe.
“Don’t allow yourselves to be used for violence.”