BON, NEDG postpone presidential debate charges N500,000 for advert

The Nigerian Elections Debate Group and the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria have postponed a presidential debate earlier scheduled to hold today, Thursday, January 26, 2023.

The Sahel gathered that candidates who would be participating in the debate were eligible to run their political jingle in the cause of the programme, and this was to go for N500,000.

In a letter signed by the NEDG Executive Secretary, Edidi Emessiri, and dated January 18, the debate was to hold in Abuja in an undisclosed venue as the organisers wanted the information “private and confidential.”

The letter, titled, ‘Invitation to participate in the 2023 presidential rescheduled debates’ partly read, “Sir, we write in respect of the above subject matter and to request the honour of your presidential candidate’s distinguished presence and participation in the Presidential Debate scheduled to hold on Thursday, January 26, 2023.

“Broadcast take-off time is 6pm. You are expected to arrive the venue at 5pm to enable us complete make-up preparations for your live broadcast. Venue in Abuja will be communicated to you in due course as we want this information to be private and confidential.”

When contacted on Thursday to enquire about the event, the NEDG secretary, Emessiri, confirmed to our correspondent that the debate had been postponed “based on logistics,” but did not give the new date as he maintained discussions were still on.

Why candidates are charged N500,000 for advert – NEDG

When asked about the fate of the candidates who may not be able to afford the advert fee, and why the fee was being included, livid Emessiri said, “The NEDG is in collaboration with all the radio and television stations in the country, and there are logistics costs to be incurred. Who is going to pay for the satellite uplink? We are paying for the hall.”

He maintained that the debates organised by other private media houses were being funded by civil society organisations.

“We are not being funded by anybody, and you expect us to be in the same group with them? You think they’re doing it with their money?

“Are the politicians themselves not paying for halls to use? We are bringing a platform for them where all of them will have the largest media platforms in the country and then you’re asking questions.

“We want to invite all the presidential candidates but all of them must have to do something. It’s not free of charge. The media organisations have given me a bill to clear for satellite uplink cost,” he said.

“If they don’t have the money, why are they becoming presidential candidates?” Emessiri added.

It was gathered that the Independent National Electoral Commission was also notified of the debate.

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