Mr James Owusu, a businessman, on Thursday heaped praises on the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and said the second debate it organised for presidential candidates of parties with representation in parliament was excellent.
He said IEA made significant changes to its "modus operandi" and this contributed hugely to the success of the event. Mr Owusu, who was among people the GNA interviewed on their reaction to the debate, said what impressed him most was the presidential candidates of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Convention People's Party (CPP), People’s National Convention (PNC) and New Patriotic Party (NPP) sat comfortably and answered questions a two-member panel fired at them.
The first debate held at Tamale drew flak from people the GNA interviewed because President John Dramani Mahama of the NDC, Dr CPP's Dr Abu Sakara, Mr Hassan Ayariga of the PNC and the NPP's Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo were made to stand for four hours. He said the lady professor on the panel was hard on the audience and made sure the debate venue was as quite as a university lecture hall.
"The first debate was a four-hour torture session. The future presidents - the youngest, 40 years old and the oldest, 65 years old - were on their feet for four hours and these gentlemen have been going round the country campaigning," he said. Mr Owusu said the second debate seemed shorter than the first and this is another big plus for the IEA, adding "Last night's event was different and I score 100 per cent for IEA."
A public servant who wants to remain anonymous said the lady professor was at her "motherly and wifely" best and allowed the audience to give expression to their emotions. She said the audience, made up very important personalities including the top brass of the political parties whose candidates took part in the debate, clapped and laughed in reaction to points the candidates made.
She said the lady professor did nothing to stop them and it was good because it made the event lively and people did not fall asleep. "I am sure audience reaction served as a catalyst for the candidates and they were excellent. It was a political event and there was nothing wrong allowing people to make noise because politicians love noise," she said.
A banker, Mr Kwaku Ansah, told the GNA that the candidates looked presidential in their seats unlike the first debate when they stood for four solid hours answering questions from Prof and Kojo who were comfortably seated. He said he watched the programme from the beginning to the end and learnt a lot.
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