On Friday, 14th December, vice-presidential candidates slugged it out in a debate at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja for the 2019 general elections. The event had an enthusiastic audience across the internet, television, and radio listening keenly for fine details, body language, composure and preparedness of the candidates in supporting the mandate of their presidential counterparts. After all, leaders who are sure of what they have to offer should be prepared enough to articulate their plans and present same to the citizenry while exposing the folly of their opponents’ plans.
Of the dozens of political parties running for the presidency, only 5 were represented by their vice presidential candidates on the stage. Of course, there is a limit to the number of candidates any political stage anywhere in the world can take, so the number of those invited for the debate had to be whittled down. But for the fact that there was no other way to hear candidates wrestle for the solidarity of Nigerian’s support at the elections made the exercise a little less holistic. Campaigns have been flagged off in some geopolitical zones in the country, but a debate is the only chance candidates have to showcase themselves in the company of another opposing party candidate.
With questions being rotated among Ganiyu Galadima of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Khadija Abdullahi-Iya of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), the incumbent Vice President Yemi Osinbajo of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Peter Obi of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Umma Getso of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), the stage provided an avenue for the plans of these parties to be thoroughly tested by eager citizens.
The major candidate highlights of the vice-presidential debate, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and Mr Peter Obi, disagreed on many areas ranging from the economy, job creation, fuel subsidy, anti-corruption, and security. In a rather unprecedented move, Peter Obi went on the attack showing areas of governance where the Buhari-led government had failed. He also did not hesitate to make wide comparisons between what China has achieved and how Nigeria pales in comparison, considering the fact that both countries had a similar fate in the ’80s. Unlike his usual eloquent self, Professor Yemi Osinbajo fumbled for composure as he was drawn to the tight corner of having to defend a low-performing government and selling even more lofty dreams to Nigerians for 2019 elections.
The audience had their own share of jeers and cheers meted on the participants as most of the candidates showed a lack of adequate preparation for the challenges facing Nigeria.
Pundits have since taken to the books to analyse some facts and figures these candidates dropped at the debate while pummeling the sagacity of one another. It has since been revealed, however, that not all of the data cited especially by both Yemi Osinbajo and Peter Obi were perfect. This definitely is not good enough for those who will be handling the fate of a fledgeling nation.
We must, however, remember that in the end, this vice-presidential debate has showcased at least a minimal level of success; and this should foreshadow what we are to expect at the presidential debate where the likes of President Buhari, Atiku Abubakar, Oby Ezekwesili, Kingsley Moghalu and a couple other candidates will show Nigerians better what their plans for a progressive Nigeria are.
Until then, and whether this comes to pass exactly as planned or not, Nigerians can at least rest assured in the fact that we are moving closer to issue-based politicking by the day.
Featured Image Source: Daily Post