OrderPaperToday – Executive Director, OrderPaper Advocacy Initiative, Mr. Oke Epia,  has disclosed reasons why the Development Dialogue Series (DDS) was organized for presidential aspirants seeking office in 2019.

Mr. Epia also revealed plans by OrderPaper to organize more presidential debates on other critical sectors of the country’s economy in the coming weeks.

Speaking at the DDS on Oil sector reforms held at the prestigious Eko Hotel, Lagos on Wednesday, he noted that while presidential debates have been organized in the past, aspirants to top political offices have not been sufficiently grilled on key aspects of the economy.

He said: “With the Development Dialogue Series that focuses on key areas of development and vital economic sectors, aspirants will have more opportunity to to tell Nigerians what they intend to do and how they plan to achieve the intentions. The idea is for the aspirants to manifest how much do they understand the issues and what they intend to do differently so that Nigerians can understand better beyond sloganeering.

“Enough of the days of glib talk and fleeting promises on the soapbox without depth and details. No more shallow sloganeering that leaves citizens excited and then high and dry without substance; no more plethora of promises that gets denied and/or obfuscated when politicians get elected into office. The Development Dialogue Series is a bold and novel attempt to put a stop to all that and chart a new course of intellectual rigour and deep citizen engagement with aspirants and candidates prior to winning elections.”

On the focus of the day’s event, the executive director said the essence was for the aspirants to articulate and share their governance compact on the oil and gas sector of the economy on which they can be held accountable if voted into office as president of the country.

Aspirants present at the DDS included Tope Fasua of the Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP), Martins Onovo of the National Conscience Party (NCP), Chike Ukaegbu of the Advanced Allied Party (AAP), Professor Iyorwuese Hagher of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and S.K.C Ogbonnia of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Others were Jaye Gaskia of the Sustainable Nigeria Party (SNP), and Mrs. Funmi Adesanya-Davies of MAJA.

While commending the aspirants who participated in the debate, Epia told the gathering that a couple of others invited did not only fail to show up but even declined the courtesy of replying communications duly sent to them.

In this category were Governor of Gombe State, Ibrahim Dankwambo (PDP), Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (PDP), Fela Durotoye of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), Dr. Baba Datti-Ahmed (PDP); and Omoyele Sowore of the Africa Action Congress (AAC). He also noted that Prof (Mrs.) Remi Sonaiya and Adeshina Fagbenro-Byron both of KOWA party, Dr. Yunusa Tanko of the National Conscience Party (NCP) and Prof. Kingsley Moghalu of the Young Peoples Party (YPP), sent in regrets and advanced cogent reasons why they could not make the event.

Epia however recounted the contributions and commitment of OrderPaper towards national developmental, citing ConsTrack, the constituency tracking mobile app as well as the Gallery Colloquium as examples, among others.


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