Election, debate, attitudinal, change, – The Sun NigeriaElection, debate and attitudinal change – The Sun Nigeria.
Debate is a vital, far-reaching and inexpensive means of campaigning and earning the voters admiration before the election.It is identical to an interview session wherein the employer (electorate) assess the job seekers (contestants) suitability for the job.In developed nations, candidates save debate dates and prioritise attendance over other political activities or duties.Participating in debates is not based on self-determined conditions or wish.It is an essential responsibility.Absence at debates is a political suicide that can break the backbone of a candidate’s political career or end it.In such climes, reeling out manifestoes, the implementation methodology and facing public scrutiny is not construed as rendering favour to the people, but a solicitation of it.The reverse is the case in Nigeria.After returning to democratic rule in 1999, our political consciousness has increased, but our political culture remains undeveloped.On political consciousness, individuals were once upon a time begged to contest for top political offices, but people now struggle hard to become councillors.Lagging behind, our political culture has not developed swiftly as the consciousness.Candidates still discount political debates since participation and performance are inconsequential on election results.The electorate are responsible for this.Top on most persons’ candidate suitability checklist is the ethnoreligious connection and political affiliation.Debate and manifesto assessment is rated unimportant.This emboldens candidates, especially that of the dominant parties to dishonour debate invites.Such is the case witnessed at the just concluded presidential debate organised by the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) and the Nigeria Elections Debate Group (NEDG).Five presidential candidates, out of over 70 were opaquely selected to debate.The five selected candidates are Obi Ezekwesili of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Fela Durotoye of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and Kinsley Moghalu of the Young Progressive Party (YPP).Ezekwesili, Durotoye and Moghalu turned up for the debate, Atiku put in an appearance, but declined to participate, in fulfilment of his earlier alert that he would not participate if Buhari did not show up.Atiku’s refusal to debate diminished the admiration his visit to the United States earned him.Nigerians were initially impressed he returned from the US few hours to the debate and made it to the venue on time.His inner circle and political strategists miskicked the ball when they made Buhari’s decision determine their action.Atiku contends that he withdrew from the debate because Buhari “who is at the helm of affairs of the nation is not present to defend himself or his policies.”This argument holds no water.What if Buhari is a first-term contestant and not incumbent seeking reelection? Atiku shouldn’t h
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