African Democratic Congress (ADC) on Sunday opposed the easing out of its candidate, Prince Dapo Adelegan, from a debate meant for candidates of parties participating in Saturday’s governorship election.
The candidates present at the first leg of the debate organised by Face the Voter Initiative were Babatunde Ali of People Redemption Party, Aminu Olanrewaju of Allied Peoples Movement, Dotun Ojon of Young People’s Party and Martins Olagbegi of Action Democratic Party.
Adelegan was scheduled to attend the second leg, but received a letter from the organisers that he could no longer be accommodated due to constraint of space and logistics.
Speaking through the Deputy Director General of his campaign organisation, Pastor Ajibola Ogunmakinwa, Adelegan said thousands of the party’s supporters would be disappointed at the action of the organisers.
He said the party’s supporters would be denied opportunity to see how their preferred candidate would fare.
Also, the Concerned ADC Supporters described the decision to bar Adelegan as unfortunate and bizarre.
The ADC supporters, in a protest letter signed by Mr. Jimi Ajibola, said the reason given by the organisers was incomprehensible, if not completely flimsy.
Ajibola said it was a deliberate attempt to deny the people of Ondo State opportunity to make a choice, adding that elections were about making choices.
He said: “It could also be out of fear of our candidate and the need to protect some preferred candidates from facing the real challenge that can be offered by our candidate.
“Prince Adelegan is a tested and trusted technocrat well equipped with what it takes to move a state like Ondo forward after years of stagnation.
“It should be stated that the rigging of an election is not just limited to the cooking up of figures and the stealing of ballot boxes. Lack of transparency in the process and absence of democratisation of the space also constitute an integral part of thwarting a free and fair election.
“Shutting out a credible candidate on the grounds of space constraints and logistics, when the earlier round of debates had accommodated an even larger number of participants, is nothing but an afterthought.”