By Dayo Johnson, Akure
The African Democratic Congress has kicked against the barring of its candidate Dapo Adelegan from a debate meant for candidates of political parties participating in Saturday governorship poll.
Three candidates took part in the first leg of the debate organised by Face the voter initiative.
They include 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 initially scheduled to attend the second leg but said he received a letter from the organisers that he could “no longer be accommodated due to constraints of space and logistics.
The Deputy Director-General of Adelegan campaign organisation, Pastor Ajibola Ogunmakinwa said thousands of the party’s supporters would be disappointed at the action of the organisers.
Ogunmakinwa said the party’s supporters would be denied the opportunity to see how their preferred candidate would fare.
Also, the Concern ADC Supporters described the decision to bar Adelegan as unfortunate and bizarre.
The party supporters in protest letter signed by one 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 saying elections were about making choices.
According to him, “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 Dapo Adelegan is a tested and trusted technocrat that is 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.
“The 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.
He said that “This is a call for the candidate to offer good governance to the people of Ondo State.”