The virtual debate scheduled for later today (Sunday, June 28, 2020) has been generating controversy, as one of the contestants for the chairmanship position in the Kano branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has challenged the neutrality of the organisers.
Sagir Sulaiman Gezawa, who is the arrowhead of the Aminu Sani Gadanya campaign team, wrote to dissociate his candidate from the virtual debate.
He said “We’ve no reason to fear if our candidate; Aminu Gadanya is to attend the said debate. We are confident he is on a higher footing as far as providing the needed leadership to the Kano Bar is concerned.
“However, beyond who the organiser or moderator of such debate is; who is very well grounded in the campaign team of a particular candidate, or the supposed equal opportunity to be given to the candidates, I think we deserve some kind of honour and respect.
“Myself, Gadanya & Auwal Ya’u communicated when we saw the notice of the debate on Facebook. It was already a done deal as the date and time of the event has been fixed already and notice issued even to media houses.
“It appears to us as a kind of blackmail or are we being forced into participating in a debate the organiser of which is in all respect not neutral? We’ve already scheduled series of meetings all towards achieving our goal of winning this election. Are we going to jettison all these for the sake of participation?
“As a campaign team, we think we were not given the due respect we deserve. We should be consulted before fixing it and notifying the public. Hence, we resolved to go ahead with our other priorities which is more of meeting our voters one on one.
“Before I forget, when Auwal responded to the organiser/moderator on his Facebook page that we were not consulted before issuing out the notice, the organiser quickly, about an hour ago I think, sent an invitation to Gadanya personally. Are we attending just as invitees or participants? It’s our view that we shouldn’t be coerced into a debate. We wish the organisers and other participants a fruitful webinar chat”, Gezawa wrote.
Meanwhile, another contestant, Usman Umar Fari, said on Saturday he was not officially informed of the debate by the organisers, but that he would participate.
“I see no reason why I should not participate in order to tell members of my branch what I have in stock for them if voted to be chairman. I have no reservation when it comes to talking to our members, no matter what the platform is. However, I intend to tell the organisers a basic truth at the debate. I intend to let them know that as interested parties who have pledged their allegiance to one particular candidate, they are bound to arouse suspicion, and their neutrality questioned.
“Honestly, I appreciate their effort, their industry and innovation, but for the purposes of another time, this sort of thing should be handled by an independent organiser, and all candidates should be part of the scheduling process. But we learn every day. We keep learning throughout life”, Fari said.