Accord Party (AP) presidential flagbearer, Christopher Imumolen has demanded a free, fair, and an all-inclusive debate at this week’s Arewa’s Elders Forum gathering.

Professor Imumolen made reference to a claim by the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) standard-bearer, Rabiu Kwankwaso.

He said Kwankwaso alerted that the forum had concluded plans to use the debate to endorse a candidate for the 2023 general elections.

Imumolen noted that it was in the interest of Arewa to ensure a high level of transparency as they conduct the forthcoming debate.

“My fellow presidential candidate, Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso recently withdrew from the soon-to-be conducted debate by Arewa House, alleging there was a secret plot to use the event to endorse a candidate.

“I want to believe this is not true, even though it obvious that some of my colleagues who are flagbearers of other political parties haven’t been included.

“If the organisers want Nigerians to see the debate as credible, they must not be seen as shutting out any candidate. Every one who deserves to be at the debate should be invited to present and defend their manifestos.

“Handpicking a few candidates will not only tacitly give credence to the fears already expressed by Kwankwaso. It will also narrow down the options of our most discerning electorate who tend to make their choices from what they see.

“Besides, no where in the world a presidential debate is made a forum of endorsements for candidates. Arewa Consultative Forum will, therefore, be shooting itself in the foot by trying to do so, and thus showing its hand that it is sectional and biased in it’s outlook.

“They can’t be expected to be taken seriously by those who had expected them to be apolitical, fair and transparent in the conduct of a debate that has far-reaching implications for the future of our great country,” he added.

The businessman and philanthropist advised the Northern elders to avoid the mistakes made by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).

“They handpicked a few of the candidates to take part in their versions of the presidential debates during recent conferences in Lagos”, Imumolen added.