The deputy governor of Ondo State and candidate of the Zenith Labour Party for Saturday’s governorship election, Agboola Ajayi, has declined the invitation to participate in the Channels Television debate scheduled to hold on Wednesday evening.
The deputy governor cited time constraints as the reason for his inability to honour the invitation.
According to him, there was a delay in his campaigns in Owo due to security concerns, and he would need to take advantage of the short time available to reach Ondo voters.
Mr Ajayi did not attend a Face the Voters event, organised by a consortium of media and civil society organisations on Sunday.
He had claimed the organisers “were those being paid by the state government and would not be fair to him in the asking of questions”.
Those who attended Sunday’s debate include Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress and Oyeleye Fasua of the Social Democratic Party.
Mr Ajayi, in a statement he signed on Wednesday, said his inability to honour the invitation by Channels TV should not be construed as being disrespectful.
“I received your invitation to a debate scheduled for Wednesday,7th October, 2020 late on Monday, 5th October, 2020,” the statement read.
“While appreciating the opportunity it offered me to debate with other contenders for the office of Governor of Ondo State, I have to let slip-by the offer because I am otherwise engaged.
“I have had my campaign in Owo delayed by a day due to security concerns related to intolerance and violence.
“The scheduled event will hold all day on Wednesday while final interaction with my team from across the state would hold in the evening of that same day.
“This is so that I could avail myself of Thursday, October 8th, the last day allowed for campaigns, to embark on a whistle stop tour of some locations across the State.
“I hope my decision to maximise the time available for me to continue to dialogue with voters across the State, a third of who are mostly not able to enjoy debates on national TV because they are not connected to the national grid, will not be seen as taking your offer for granted.”