Nigerian problems are beyond debate
Recently, vice presidential candidates of four political parties participated in a national debate organised by the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigerian (BON). The debate was expected to serve as a compass on how the political party that would form government after general elections next year can transform the country.
The questions were premised on burning national issues, such as unemployment, economy, insecurity, among others. At the end, it appeared the debate was between the two vice presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi, and that of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Yemi Osinbajo.
It is also reported that another debate between presidential candidates have been slated to hold in January, one month before the election. In advanced democracies, elections are won and lost based on candidates’ policy documents; hence the need for debates. The outcome or result of the debate will guide experts and the electorate to make an informed or wise choice during election.
On the eve of the 2011 general elections, a debate was organised for the four presidential candidates - Ebele Jonathan (PDP), Muhammadu Buhari (CPC), Nuhu Ribadu (ACN) and Ibrahim Shekarau (ANPP). Though President Jonathan refused to attend the debate, the other candidates did. The debate, which was successfully conducted, scored Malam Ibrahim Shekarau of the ANPP high. However, after the election result was declared, Shekarau, who emerged best in the debate, came distant third.
For an ordinary Nigerian who is the victim of poor governance in the last one decade, debates mean nothing. He knows that the problem of Nigeria is bad leadership. What has debate got to do with high rate of poverty, unemployment and general insecurity in the country? Yes, they can debate as many times as possible, but they are part of the problem. Do the protesting victims of banditry attacks in Zamfara State, for instance, care about debates? What they know is that they are victims of poor governance.