The #TakeItBack movement has conducted a peaceful protest to express their grievances over the exclusion of Omoyele Sowore, presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, from the presidential debate organised by the Nigeria Elections Debate Group (NEDG) and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON).
NEDG and BON had announced only five political parties — Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Young Progressives Party (YPP) — scheduled to participate in the presidential debate scheduled for January 19, 2019.
The protesters marched to the headquarters of Channels Television in Isheri, Lagos on Thursday, bearing placards with inscriptions such as '#SoworeMustBeIncluded'; '#DemocracyIsParticipation'; '#LetNigeriansDecideCharacter', among others.
The selection of only five presidential candidates has generated much criticism against NEDG and BON, with many calling for more candidates to participate in the debate.
Speaking at the event, one of the members of the movement, identified as Juwon, said the selection of only five candidates is “thoroughly unfair corruption in an election with more than 30 presidential candidates".
He called on Nigerians to “ensure that more candidates, including Omoyele Sowore, participate in the debate, and also that President Muhammadu Buhari does not send a representative to the debate or else it would disrupted”.
Similarly, another member of the movement, Comrade Femi Adeyeye, said: “Nigerians have the right to interview who they are going to employ for the next four years, hence the demand to fairly include candidates contesting the elections."
On Thursday, Oby Ezekwesili, ACPN presidential candidate, and Fela Durotoye, ANN presidential candidate, also called on NEDG and BON to include Sowore and other presidential candidates in the debate.