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British school holds mock Nigerian elections



AHEAD of Nigeria’s general elections next month and the British elections in May, a renowned Roman Catholic independent school for girls in Surrey, London, Woldingham School, has conducted mock elections.

   In a highly spirited ‘pre-election’ debate, which featured the two dominant political parties, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC), Amarachi Onyebuchi and Siobhan Obi filed in for President Goodluck Jonathan and Vice-President Namadi Sambo, while Oreoluwa Ogunbiyi and Susannah Peppiatt stood in for General Buhari and his Vice-Presidential candidate, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo respectively.

   The issues discussed during the ‘pre-election’ debate ranged widely from corruption, feminism, to the future of Nigeria’s largely oil-based economy, given the global fall in oil prices. 

   Speaking for the PDP, Amarachi and Siobham focused largely on President Jonathan’s economic achievements during his six years in office, pointing to the fact that the Nigerian economy, in the last year, became the largest in Africa, something the two speakers claimed was linked to the rebasing of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP).

   The APC representatives, Oreoluwa and Susannah fired back, insisting that the rebasing of the economy could not be attributed solely to the PDP presidency. Speaking further, the APC spokespersons picked upon Jonathan’s poor record on corruption and also discussed the issue of “the missing N20billion” and the unjust firing of Sanusi Lamido, especially in the light of the fact that the PDP has just gone to visit Lamido Sanusi as the Emir of Kano, to appeal for his vote.

   Although the pre-debate mood had anticipated the win of the APC, many attendees were impressed by the argument put forward by the PDP, acknowledging that despite Goodluck Jonathan’s failure to deal with Boko Haram and increasing unemployment, what Nigeria needed most was continuity. 

   They also raised concerns about Buhari’s role as a former military Head of State, who had imprisoned many journalists and activists, in what seemed to be a fight against free speech, and also, the potential significance of his identity as a Muslim in his role as president. APC’s Susannah and Oreoluwa were no less inspiring, referring to Doyin Okupe’s use of ‘Bring back Jonathan” slogans as being distasteful in the light of the continuing plight of the missing Chibok girls.

   Both sides stressed the need to bolster Nigeria’s agricultural sector and diversify the economy by supporting farmers across the country and improving inter-regional competitiveness, to ensure that the Nigerian economy was not left at the mercy of oil. The representatives of both political parties took questions from the floor, which were answered with diligence, in evidence that both sides had done extensive research into the policies in the respective manifestos of both parties.

   Woldingham School also plans to hold another debate and mock elections ahead of the May British elections.

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