Edo 2024: Proposing issue-based dialogues

Edo 2024: Proposing issue-based dialogues

Elempe Dele.

I am proposing several public dialogues on pathways to good governance as my apostolic offering during this electioneering period in Edo State now that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has lifted ban on campaigns. This proposal must be pursued with determination so as to expose the thinking and ideas of the candidates to the voters. This I think will also help the citizens of the state to have closer interrogative opportunities with the three major candidates vying to take the baton from Governor Godwin Obaseki, the outgoing governor. No man should be allowed to wink at a girl in the dark – this will amount to futile attempt to woo.

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Central to the proposed ‘gubernatorial dialogue’ will be issues of strategic planning, policy formations and implementations that will have overall impacts on majority of citizens of the state.


It is essential at this point to start interrogating the proposed policies as contained in the yet to be exposed manifestos of the three major candidates as to ascertain their workabilities, effectiveness, efficiency and sustainabilities of such proposed policy papers.

These proposed dialoguing events, which will be held at frequent intervals across the three senatorial districts, in form of townhall meetings, will act as platforms for these candidates to express their thoughts about critical issues publicly, in depth and in unbridled form.


It is not enough to claim, “I will order free education when I am elected!” But how are you going to be funding these public schools to make them qualitative when they are not paying fees? There will be such varieties of questions, and expected answers between people from all works of life and the candidates.


The mechanic should be allowed to ask questions as much as the professor or lawyer. The ‘mama put’ sales girl should be given the same latitude of opportunity to express herself in such meetings just as the construction engineer.

Elempe Dele, Edo.
Elempe Dele, Edo.

The expectation would be that the candidates will be able to articulate their positions clearly and precisely on major talking issues: from healthcare delivery, insecurity, infrastructural development, agriculture… to empowerment. For example, one of the most burning issue today in Nigeria is the indication of the Federal Government inclining towards establishing state policing.

The people must hear from the candidates their positions on this newly proposal and conception that is being debated widely. Their ideas on financing the project, the fear of it being abused by state governors and how they wish to arrest the widespread fear with confidence, legislation on it, if financial independence will do, powers to arrest and prosecute, types of firearms needed, operational autonomy, renumeration.


I mean all the necessary conversations and planning on the very thematic subject matter. The people would want to even hear if there is any opposing voice against the idea and what alternative they would prefer to address the issue of insecurity within the borders of the state that has gone to affect food security gravely.


As we all know, the few hours dedicated to the organized one-off gubernatorial debates has not proven effective to be effective enough. Some candidates find some reasons not to attend, and the opportunity to know what they stand for directly from them is lost. So I propose we allow them the elasticity of several debates and interrogation and dialogues that must be very engaging and conversational.

These organized dialogues will give the citizens first-hand opportunities to evaluate the candidates rather than depend on their media supporters and highfalutin propaganda for assessments.

Like one of my compatriot said yesterday, it takes courage to address certain anomalies in Nigeria. The Edo State citizens deserve to see the courage of those who intend managing their commonwealth in the next four years as policymakers. The people need to continue from now till September to have the opportunities to question the visions that these candidates are envisaging, how they are going to implement policies so that the people can use the results from these dialogues to make informed choices.


We are still in the era where weak candidates are elected based on premordial sentiments rather than based on proven capacity and competence. We must be deliberate in sustaining attempts to do away with this frailty.

We must, as a matter of conscious effort, deliberately open spaces for discourses so as to be able to inject fresh perspectives into the polity. A friend who attended one of such meetings in the UK recently told me his decision of whom to support will depend on his experience with candidates. He told me he was in the process of measuring the strength of these major candidates from what he percieves from their public outings. We all know that ‘democratic projects’ are about the majority of the people so it will be futile for these candidates to yawn at the opportunities to dialogue with the people as often as possible.

We must commend the management of the Benson Idahosa University, BIU, for organizing the Thinking Nest recently. More of such engagements must be encouraged where candidates will offer themselves as talking sacrifices.

We must use these proposed opportunities to search for reasons and also preoccupy our minds on the wholesomeness of our situation as a people. We must be clear with ourselves on major issues – away from the usual broken promises, away from raptures mounting platforms shouting, “vote for.l, he is the best!” It is time for serious brass task in bid to move the state forward as expected.


These candidates must tell us in believable terms how they are going to address the dire situations we have found ourselves in Nigeria. We are all aware that a ‘coffee solution’ will not do any magic, but the people would want hear if there are possible build-up solutions to the problems we are all faced with. For example, the issue of energy supply has crippled several small scale businesses in Edo State. When elected, what would be the alternative?


They must be able to tell us how they wish to address, in depth, and in certain terms, these contemporary harsh realities – and untoward circumstances that we are faced with in Nigeria today. Fuel scarcity looms again, are there injectable policy devices to curb the seeming recurrent menace in the state? What are the gap bridging opportunities are the modular refineries in the state offering?

We cannot be steeped in the assumptions that the candidates, whether they address these issues or not publicly, they know what to do when elected. Those kinds of assumptions are too dangerous to contend with.