Thoughts on the Nigerian Presidential Debate

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nike007

Well-Known Member
#1
I was lucky to watch the Presidential debate moderated by the very competent Kadaria Ahmed, the woman is flawless, she is quick with comebacks and follow up questions, in fact she made the debate. Congrats to her.

Like me, lots of Nigerians watched it either on TV in Nigeria and for those in the diaspora we had to tune to Ustream to watch it. As always the debate started an hour late because the candidates arrived an hour late, ah, let’s blame it on African time shall we?

By far the most disappointing person of the night has to be incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan, many of us were looking forward to watching him debate as he is one of the top, if not the top candidates at the moment. The #whataboutus campaign has invited him for a debate and has not gotten any reply yet, so this was a chance to see what he was made of, and he didn’t show up. Although after watching Dame Patience Goodluck, his wife speak in public he may have made the right decision after all.(too much? hmm)

I am not going to give a summary of the debate, because it was really long, rather I wanted to address the strengths and weakness of the candidates as observed by me as i watching and taking notes.




Ibrahim Shekarau (Current Governor of Kano State): By far the most eloquent of the night, Shekarau was composed answered his questions without hesitation and impressed me. However given that he has been governor of Kano for 8 years and there is nothing to show for it, i had a hard time buying his argument. His responses seemed like a page out of a textbook, carefully formed and pleasing to hear. Also when he was asked why he terminated the polio vaccination in Kano on the grounds that they were plans to make women infertile, his response to the question showed a side of him that was shocking, he responded that he had to put the immunizations on hold to investigate the matter. Polio was not something that originated in Nigeria, lots of countries had successfully wiped out polio using vaccinations before the vaccination came to Nigeria, so putting the program on hold, while children died because of something he couldn’t prove was shocking to me and made me question his ability to make a proper decision that will benefit the people who elected him into office. In my opinion, Shekarau could have easily won this debate, he was composed and smart, yet his past decisions and failure to bring substantial change to the state of Kano after 8 years as governor brings doubts to my mind.



Muhammadu Buhari (Former Military President of Nigeria): General Buhari was hands down the most experienced of the 3 candidates, he was a president in the military regime for 2 years and this should have been a relatively easy debate for him given his experience. However, the General simply failed to connect with me and I am sure most of the youth of Nigeria. 70% of people in Nigeria are aged 18-35, making this the largest group in the electorate. General Buhari is 68 years old making him at least 33 years older than 70% of the Nigerian electorate, I simply couldn’t understand him, or connect with the plans he had for Nigeria. I felt that he was still living in the 1970s, coupled with the fact that he was a prominent figure in one of the most repressing times in Nigeria I could not properly give him my full attention or allow him to convince me of his plans to make Nigeria better. A question that stood out to me was when the moderator Kadaria asked him why his kids attended private schools, and his answer, which I am paraphrasing was, there is nothing wrong with sending your kids to private school if you can afford to in a democratic country. The message I got from this reply was that while the public education system in Nigeria is substandard, if you can afford to send your kids to private school, by all means do, this is a democracy. The problem with this response is that while it is gravely elitist, it shows someone who really doesn’t have a plan for the millions of Nigerians who cannot afford to send their children to private schools. I went to a private school, however if the government had a public educational system in place that ensured I would get world class education and be able to compete with students around the world like I am doing today, I am 100% sure my parents and many more parents in Nigeria would have been more than willing to use the money they spent in their children’s education to use somewhere else, maybe to buy fuel to supply power to their homes. I was furious at General Buhari’s response and whatever he said afterwards was a blur to me. In my opinion he failed to connect with me and many young Nigerians who make up 70% of the electorate.



Mallam Nuhu Ribadu (Former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commision): Ribadu was the least experienced candidate, he was also very witty and quick but also showed lots of emotion, I cannot count the number of times I wondered if he was going to scream, he barely kept to time, he started answering questions before the moderator finished asking, he continued talking after the bell, at some point he kept talking so much so the moderator had to warn him that he agreed to the rules of the debate. A question that stood out to me was the first question of the debate, when he was asked that, and I am paraphrasing, if he prosecuted Former Lagos Governor Tinubu and said the crime was one on international proportions, isn’t it curious that Tinubu is now a “godfather” of sorts in his capmpaign. Mallam Ribadu was quick to explain that “the crime” was of international proportions, but he doesn’t sit in judgement of the person. This confused me, and still does, it seems to me that if a person commits a crime, then their character should definitely be questioned. We don’t catch a thief and say, “Well the crime was horrible, but you can still be a part of a campaign for presidency” However, mallam ribadu’s contribution to the reduction of corruption in Nigeria cannot be brushed under a carpet and forgotten. I felt that I conntected to him well, he reminded us he was young, 50 years old and ready to lead, he used personal stories to illustrate his point and appealed to our emotion in doing so. I think that there will be questions about “Tinubu and Ribadu” and I need those answers, the logic behind the argument on his involvement in his campaign was flawed, however witty and funny he was in the debate.


So,who won the debate? I don’t know, why don’t you decide and tell me? For me, I know that I am confused, my mind is not yet made up. Governor Shekarau was a surprisingly good debater, but do we want a president that can debate like a walking text book or do we want a president that can put those ideas into action. General Buhari is the most experienced candidate, but do we want a president who has lost touch with 70% of the electorate? Mallam Ribadu was vibrant and witty, but for a champion of anti-corrutpion measures how can he justify the “Tinubu connection”.


At the end of the day it is up to us to choose who is the best candidiate for us, I wrote this piece not to tell you who to vote for but to share my opinion on what I observed.

I look forward to the #whataboutus debate happening on Friday, March 25th hosted by Naija’s own: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Ebuka Obi-Uchendu.

For more information about the #whataboutus campaign and debate, like the Facebook Page: What About Us? | Facebook or visit the website here: What About Us Nigeria
 

ssergit

..still The Drama Queen!
#2
I didn't watch the debate, but Hubscrown posted this on his facebook profile as Goodlluck Jonathan's response to D'banj on 'Job Security':
via Nejeeb 'Souljazz' Bello
"Assuming you r'e doing your job on stage, performing and we start hearing Gun shots outside, there need to be security from such situation as you perform".

-GEJ defining job security to D'Banj
And I didnt bother watching as I do NOT understand why an incumbent President would refuse to show up at a Presidential debate., Election is next month for crying out loud!!
 

Sola

Administrator
Staff member
#3
And I didnt bother watching as I do NOT understand why an incumbent President would refuse to show up at a Presidential debate., Election is next month for crying out loud!!
Because he has put the mechanism to rig himself in in place, so it doesn't matter what you think or debate. He's the incumbent. They always win.

Nike, you are a brilliant reporter.
 

kolinzo

Well-Known Member
#4
Good job, Nike. I will watch the debate when it's uploaded on youtube. But I have to disagree on what you wrote about Buhari's answer to the private school school question. If what you wrote is what he said then he gave the best answer to that. Anywhere in the world, people with money do send their kids to private school; all you have to do is look at US, Japan etc. In a democratic nation you do have a choice and that's Buhari's point.
 

ssergit

..still The Drama Queen!
#6
Because he has put the mechanism to rig himself in in place, so it doesn't matter what you think or debate. He's the incumbent. They always win.

Nike, you are a brilliant reporter.
so true. all the votes don't even matter, he has just made it clearer and plainer now.

Facebook is agog with people angry at his absence. this is a viral chat popup message:
OVERHEARD: “If Goodluck Jonathan has all the time in the world to Facebook and read the comments made by his fans and followers, why was he too busy to even attend a 1-2 hour debate?”
 

takestyle

Well-Known Member
#7
But I have to disagree on what you wrote about Buhari's answer to the private school school question. If what you wrote is what he said then he gave the best answer to that. Anywhere in the world, people with money do send their kids to private school; all you have to do is look at US, Japan etc. In a democratic nation you do have a choice and that's Buhari's point.
I think you're missing the point.

btw nike, kudos on the incisive commentary.
 

nike007

Well-Known Member
#8
Thanks Guys. Kolinzo, like Takestyle said I think you missed the point. Buhari gave a good answer and if he were in Europe that would be acceptable but lets look at this more in depth. Buhari is 68 so I am guessing his kids didn't just start going to primary or secondary school, cool. So think back to when his kids started going to school, that's when he made the decision to provide an alternative way to give them an education and that's how far back the Nigerian Public education system has been in an abyss. I went to private school all my life, I could not have controlled that, my parents made the best choice for me, my parents are nit running for president though. Everyone wants to give their child the best oppurtunity, my beef with Buhari's answer as I already explained is this, if the Public Educational system was up to standard we wont have to go to Private school. Only a small percent of kids in America go to private school and their educatinonal system here is not even up to par with what private schools offer in Nigeria. By saying what he said he sounded elitist and out if touch. He could have said that the government in place at the time did not provide standard education and he wanted to give his children the best education and that's why he sent them to private school. That would earned him points because that's the reason people send their kids to private school not because they want to throw away =N= 120,000 per term.
 

vince

Well-Known Member
#9
Wow! So naija presidentrial candidates now debate issues, eh? When did dt wan start? Whatever happened to, "i will give you pipe-borne water" , empty campaign promises? Times are changing indeed. I will find the time to download the vvideo clip of this historic debate.
 

Papino

Well-Known Member
#11
@Nike,Very good job you did here.
I saw the debate and was also impressed with Shekarau whose ability to communicate impressed a lot of people.However,the debate lacked substance as non of the participants showed in depth knowledge of the problems of Nigeria!Though it might be tactical for GEJ's team to avoid the debate,he would have used the opportunity well .From the debate,one saw sprinkles of good and original qualities in each of the candidates only that the good qualities were not original and the original qualities not good enough for an endorsement.smokin:
 
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