The debate was organized by PRTVC, YIAGA, Amplified Radio and EIE. It was attended by the three candidates of Labour Party – Amb. Bagudu Hirse; All Progressives Congress – Rt. Hon Simon Lalong; and the People’s Democratic Party — Senator GNS Pwajok. The debate was moderated by Dan Mallam.
The moderator first began by reading out the profiles of the respective candidates; their educational background and work experience.
The debate was formatted in three sets, with questions from a prepared set; social media; then the audience. The questions ranged from education, security, health, infrastructure, economy…
Bagudu Hirse of Labour Party said that improving the fortunes of education starts with primary education; Barrister Simon Lalong said a lack of payment of workers’ salaries is the reason for Plateau’s educational woes; GNS Pwajok responding to question on education said more budgetary provision must be made for education.
Debating the question of security in Plateau, the APC candidate was of the opinion that the crisis stem from elections and a lack of unity amongst Plateau people; GNS Pwajok said Operation Rainbow had to be revamped to help in security of the state while also advocating for state policing; Bagudu Hirse of Labour Party’s take was to encourage elders across the state for more security.
A range of issues were discussed with Bagudu Hirse of Labour Party providing comic relief as he got the audience laughing over his continuous stress on how the answers to all questions posed to him were available in his “7 point agenda” and also his constant reminder of his “international connections.”
Simon Lalong of the APC was for me the most disappointing, he was unprepared and looked to deflect rather than answer questions. On a number of times, he made attacks at the current PDP led government rather than provide solutions to the issues raised.
The PDP’s candidate, Senator GNS Pwajok was by far the most impressive, he made articulate points and was also the most prepared, providing statistics and figures in response to questions.
At the end, the three candidates shook hands, hugged and pledged to work together regardless of the outcome; they also all signed a peace accord pledging to resort to legal channels should they feel aggrieved over the election results and shun violence.
Follow Faisal Adamu on twitter @notfaizzy