The a lot talked about Presidential Debate scheduled to carry on Saturday, January 19, 2019, on the Transcorp Hilton Lodge, Abuja, has come and gone however not with out its dramas which have stored Nigerians questioning and speaking about so many issues together with why the incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari, shunned the debate, and why his closest challenger, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, excused himself from it after realizing that the incumbent was not going to be in attendance.
The debate was alleged to be a Presidential Debate. Such debates world over lose their essence and savour as soon as the incumbent shouldn’t be current, and it’s unthinkable that the incumbent within the US, for instance, would miss out on such a debate because the debate is designed to scrutinize the efficiency of the incumbent/his get together and extract commitments from the contenders.
It’s subsequently unhappy and unlucky that President Muhammadu Buhari didn’t see it match to grab this all necessary alternative to interact his challengers particularly and Nigerians generally via the debate. His absence completely vitiates the significance of the debate and obliterates its essence identical to a properly marketed world heavyweight boxing match is scuttled by the absence of the reigning champion. Regardless of how properly publicized the match is, it doesn’t even matter if the tickets have been bought out and the world packed to the rafters, the thrill, the anticipation and expectations of these following developments each on the venue and different locations dissipates on the velocity of sunshine as soon as the reigning champion chooses to avoid the match for no matter cause. Such a disappointment can’t even be assuaged or compensated for by the challenger regardless of how a lot he tries to entertain the gang with shadow boxing and showboating which is what a Presidential Debate with out the incumbent is.
The truth is, in developed democracies, presidential debates are often organized for less than the highest contenders, and within the case of the US, between simply two, the Democrats and the Republicans. Whereas there are often dozens of different political events fielding candidates for the presidential elections in america, solely candidates of the 2 main contending events function in Presidential Debates after the events’ primaries.
Though candidates of the opposite events have all the time been within the contest, their probabilities of victory are very slim and insignificant to the extent that the debate function solely the highest two contenders. If it was within the US, the Presidential Debate would have been strictly between the highest two contenders, on this case, President Muhammadu Buhari and his closest challenger, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. The decision, based mostly on what occurred yesterday, would have been that the Debate wouldn’t maintain since Atiku turned up however Buhari was nowhere to be discovered close to the venue. In truth, he was in distant Plateau State, displaying complete disregard for the debate, as all the time.
Identical to in Nigeria, aside from the most important political events, there are additionally such events with appreciable affect within the American political system however who usually are not invited for Presidential Debates. The knowledge in that is that it permits the contenders with the sensible probabilities of having ample time to scrutinize each other. For instance, former New Mexico governor, Gary Johnson, was the presidential nominee for the Libertarian Get together (LP) on the 2012 US common elections. Johnson had votes in each state in America besides just for Michigan and Oklahoma. His complete votes within the election have been over a million.
Once more in 2016, the LP fielded Gary Johnson, and this time spherical, he acquired over 4 million votes within the presidential election.
One other get together with comparable strengths because the Libertarian Social gathering within the US is the Structure Social gathering. The power of this get together may be measured by the truth that its gubernatorial candidate on the Colorado election in 2010 truly got here second with 36.four% of complete legitimate votes forged, beating the candidate of the Republican social gathering to 3rd place.
It’s noteworthy that regardless of their strengths, solely candidates of The Republicans and The Democrats tango within the US’ Presidential Debates. If the debate was to be in America, the debate would have been strictly between Buhari and Atiku, and the pure and right factor to do when the incumbent just isn’t current is for the organizers to name it off and or for the highest contender to excuse himself as he can’t debate towards himself. One shouldn’t be saying that the opposite contenders usually are not essential, it’s simply that having narrowed the competition to 2 main contenders with probably the most reasonable probabilities of profitable, they want time to scrutinize one another and marshal out their factors.
Atiku was completely proper in excusing himself from that Presidential Debate after seeing that the opposite main contender, Buhari, was absent. Debates are usually not simply addresses or rallies, they’re finally a stage the place “opposing arguments are put forward” by the debaters. The truth is, one other dictionary described it as to “argue about (a subject), especially in a formal manner”. One of many synonyms for debate is to “dispute” on a problem. At this stage of our nationwide life, we will not be taking sure issues as a right. If it was a debate on essential nationwide issues, who would Atiku be debating or disputing with on this issues?
Does Kingsley Moghalu know why our troopers are being killed regularly by a ragtag Boko Haram regardless of trillions of naira budgeted and spent on the army in Buhari’s virtually 4 years tenure? Can Oby Ezekwesili present solutions to why the Buhari presidency retains making excuses for many who homicide our fathers, rape our moms, wickedly rip out the unborn from their wombs, maim our youngsters, sack communities and forcefully take over different individuals’s lands with none repercussion and even as a lot as a problem from our safety forces beneath Buhari as Commander-in-Chief? Might Fela Durotoye have been capable of present solutions to why Nigeria turned the poverty capital of the world beneath the Buhari administration with all its recognized inefficiencies, gross incompetence and blatant ineptitude? Who amongst them might have defined why the battle towards corruption underneath this administration has been turned to a battle towards opposition? Who amongst them would have been capable of present solutions on why appointments are lopsided and why Nigerians have been so bitterly divided alongside parochial strains underneath the Buhari presidency based mostly on the phrases and actions of the president and his officers?
Essential points and questions of nationwide significance would have come up on the debate to which solely the incumbent would have solutions to. However what’s the essence of a debate of presidential candidates when the one to provide solutions to these points plaguing us as a nation just isn’t there to both defend himself and his administration or give explanations as to why sure issues occur beneath him which have left Nigerians bewildered.
Such disputing on the rostrum would then give all of the candidates together with the incumbent probability to place ahead what they might do in a different way going ahead. For this reason a debate is between the forces for and these towards. It isn’t a story train, it’s an argumentative one, and when one important get together to the salient factors to be raised on the debate intentionally makes himself unavailable, it rubbishes the very essence of the debate.
That is the rationale why the opposite contenders ought to have additionally insisted that they might not take part within the debate if Buhari was not going to be there. What was the essence of all they stated concerning the precarious state of affairs of the nation when the person on the helm of affairs was not there? Who have been they disputing with? Or, fairly, who have been they debating with? The reality is that each one the opposite candidates who selected to go forward with the debate didn’t achieve this as a result of they’re snug with the truth that Buhari was not current or that they love Nigeria and Nigerians greater than Atiku, however solely seized the chance of uncommon free reside tv protection offered by the event to talk of their ambition and have their faces on digital camera. That’s the hallmark of determined politicians who would compromise requirements and rightness simply to additional their very own private pursuits which they masquerade as nationwide curiosity.
However Atiku just isn’t a determined chief. His ambition is clearly about Nigeria and not about his individual. He exhibits this by insisting that the correct issues should be completed by all regardless of standing. He has willingly engaged Nigerians at totally different boards the place he was subjected to grueling questions agitating the minds of the individuals. He was absolutely ready for the debate regardless of his lengthy journey and the hectic schedules arising from it, but, he moved straight from the US to the debate venue, however alas, the president, probably the most pivotal issue of such an train selected to remain away.
Buhari’s absence is unquestionably not unconnected to the mindset of his presidency as said by certainly one of his acolytes, Prof Itse Sagay, that the presidential debate was designed for “political dwarfs”. Till Buhari comes out of his shell of “political dwarfism” even because the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, those that go to presidential debates with out him there as president have solely succeeded in slicing their very own common heights simply to suit into “political dwarfism”. As for Atiku, it’s apparent he isn’t prepared to scale back his towering heights to be able to fulfill the circumstances for being a “political dwarf”. Definitely, it’s time for political giants within the mould of Buhari and Atiku to sq. up in a debate. That is the actual deal and when might this be?
—[email protected]; Twitter: @StJudeNdukwe
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