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Vice presidential debate: Matters arising

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Recently, a national debate for vice presidential candidates of some five political parties was held in Abuja. Among the candidates who took part include Umar Gesto of Young Progressives Party (YPP), Peter Obi of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Yemi Osinbajo of All Progressive Congress, (APC), Khadija Abdullahi of Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), and Ganiyu Galadima of Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN)
  
Organised by Nigerian Election Debate Group, Abuja, some analysts have, however, argued that the vice presidential debate did not achieve much. The perfect place to gauge the views of Nigerians is social media platforms and Nigerians lived up to expectation, as they expressed their views strongly on how the debate ended for them.

A columnist with The Guardian, Mr. Ray Ekpo, noted that there are ninety-one political parties in Nigeria and that it is certainly a cheap joke. But he maintained that it was not INEC’s fault, as the law allows it, but in which country do we have ninety-one viable political parties? None that I know of.

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Similarly, Ola@Kunlemart, however, disagreed, saying that a majority of what Mr. Obi said was not fact, adding, “He has always been a member of the ruling party and led at different stages since 1999 till date. If Nigeria is not working now, then we should ask you, ‘why, sir?’ #Debate2019.”

But Nse Sampson @GentleNse stated that after almost four years of being in charge, this @APCNigeria is still blaming @OfficialPDPNig for the last 16 years before they took over. That is the only point osibanjo tried to make. Let’s have a government that will take responsibility for once; this one is full of excuses #Debate2019.

Also,OladeleDada John@realoladele already has a historic place for Obi, as he said, “History will never forget @PeterObi in Nigeria as he his on is way to becoming the greatest Vice President Nigeria may ever have. Now we can’t wait to see @atiku drag the striker of Broom FC with his Umbrella #Debate2019.”

The issues of petroleum subsidy is the concern of ANYI@anyigoldric, who pointedly stated, “It’s even obvious that the removal or non-removal of subsidies in petroleum is a great problem. We need a working think-tank system to figure this out#2019Debate#Debate2019 #VPDebate.
 
Albert, in his opinion, stated that Obi spent so much time citing Asian economies without pointing to the simple fact that public corruption in those countries attracts maximum jail sentences and capital punishment. He noted that “former President Olusegun Obasanjo invested over $16 billion on power the same time Brazil invested less than $10 billion. That due to corruption, which Obi said is not an economic policy and that fighting corruption has bee a disaster, Brazil generated over 100,000 mega watts of electricity and Nigeria less than 2500 mega watts.  

“He was oblivious of the fact that the industrial sector is fueled by availability of power. If the PDP had generated in every year just 1000 mega watts in 16 years they could have added 16,000 mega watts of electricity. That every nation subsidizes critical sectors of their economy they consider to have a comparative advantage or its non-subsidies might be injurious to their economy.”  

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However, UCHIME ANDY JR@andy1759 was more futuristic about the debate idea, as he said he was already looking forward to the presidential debate, noting, “I can’t wait to hear Sai baba (President Muhammadu Buhari) come tell us his plans for 2019. Osinbanjo made it clear it isn’t easy been a VP. #Debate2019.”

However, Mr. Ekpu argued that having five persons on the debate podium limits the time available to each person to string out his thoughts coherently and convincingly, pointing out, “At the end of the day, we should be working to achieve a two-party structure. This is probably the best for this country. President Ibrahim Babangida may have been wrong on several issues, but on that one he was right.”

In other words, between VP Osinbajo and Obi, there was little difference in terms of definitive policy statement. It left a sour taste in the mouths of many Nigerians. What does the presidential debate hold for Nigerians? Will it go the same way or will the two contending principals lay out their plans in terms that will be clear to Nigerians so they can make a wise choice at the polls? This is at the heart of the matter, as the country is still bedeviled by a rampaging insecurity, unemployment, comatose economy, a worsening educational sector and a myriad of other ills.Sadly, only the two leading APC and PDP parties seem to have attracted attention of Nigerians, as the other three parties that came to the debate appeared so much on the margin of electoral imagination.


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