As parts of its corporate social responsibility and its determination in sensitizing the electorates towards the forthcoming gubernatorial elections in Lagos State, the Diocese of Lagos West, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion has concluded plans to bring together all the gubernatorial candidates in Lagos State for a debate.
The debate, which is in its fourth edition, is slated for Monday January 14 at the Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, Ikeja, Lagos.
Speaking during a press conference themed ‘Towards Electing God Fearing Leaders’ at the Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, Ikeja, Lagos, on Monday, the Bishop of Diocese of Lagos West, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, the Rt. Rev. James Olusola Odedeji said the programme being put together by the Election Sensitization, Mobilization and Observation Committee of the Diocese in conjunction with the Dioceses of Badagry and Lagos Mainland, is expected to give an insight into the various programmes of each gubernatorial candidates for the progress and development of Lagos State.
Bishop Odedeji who noted that as Christians, while they are bound by the injunction of the Lord that they should seek the peace of the society, said that they (Christians) have realised that good governance is an imperative for solid development, hence, as Christians continue to pray for peace, progress and development of Nigeria generally, and Lagos state in particular, they also have duty to watch and serve as light to others.
According to him, “This is why, in line with our tradition as Anglicans, we are organising a special, divinely-ordained and direct debate for the governorship candidates of political parties participating in the 2nd March, 2019 election.
“We do not want our people, all residents and voters in the state to act in ignorance, since the consequence could be catastrophic. We expect the candidates to tell all Lagosians their plans on social services, taxation, the economy, tackling corruption, among others.
While about 41 political parties are jostling to become Governor of the state at the 2019 elections, the Bishop of Diocese of Lagos West announced that before the close of entry window on Monday, about 10 parties had indicated interest in participating in the debate.
According to him, among the candidates that have indicated interest and expected to be at the debate include Babajide Sanwo-Olu of the All Progressive Congress, APC, and Jimi Agbaje of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Others include ADP, NDP, ADC.
Bishop Odedeji pointed out that in order to ensure that the debate retains its integrity, the organised private sector, other Christians and other religious bodies have been invited to witness the debate as the panel to moderate the debate is drawn made up of media practitioners from both print and electronic.
Speaking further, while noting that while the Diocese has been organising the debate since 2007, no governor has emerged in the state without passing through the debate, he submitted that the Election Sensitization, Mobilization and Observation Committee under the leadership of one of its senior clergymen, Ven. Gbenga Oniye has been working tirelessly towards ensuring that Anglican members are mobilised to vote.
“We campaigned for their participation in the registration process and we are now mobilising them to actually vote on the election days.
He said on the elections days, February 16 and March 2, no fewer than 150 well-trained observers would be sent to the field to collate events and report formally.
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