Nige­rian prob­lems are beyond de­bate

Sunday Trust - - VIEWPOINT - Ibrahim Mustapha Pam­be­gua Kaduna State. 08169056963

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.

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