The presidential debate being anchored by Kadaria Ahmed and titled ‘The Candidates’ had hosted the leading candidates of the two major political parties jostling for the 2019 presidential election. The Candidates’ is a form of presidential town hall meeting that is co-produced by Daria Media and the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), with support from the MacArthur Foundation.
The moderator had already hosted the duo of President Mohammadu Buhari and Professor Yemi Osinbajo of the All Progressive Congress (APC) as well as Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Mr. Peter Obi of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Deserving credit must be given to Kadaria Ahmed for proving her mettle as an ace and professional journalist.
However, juxtaposition of the performances of both APC and PDP candidates in the debate needs to be made to guide Nigerians in making the right elective choice come February 16, 2019. Performances of the two leading presidential candidates, Mohammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar had been adjudged on the areas listed below :
On abilities of the two candidates to easily understand and mentally process simple questions, here are bared faced realities of their performances :
Kadaria: What are your thoughts on restructuring with regards to education?
Buhari: I’m expecting the press to investigate the corruption in the local government.
Kadaria : Will you consider amnesty for corrupt persons willing to surrender loot as a president ?
Atiku: Yes, I will consider granting amnesty to corrupt persons willing to surrender their loots. I will consider drawing a line during which corrupt former public officials would be allowed to return their loot without prosecution. After then, strong policies would be put in place to prevent and fight corruption. It will be more prudent to allow looters return their assets to Nigeria tax free and invest them in order to boost the country’s economy. Whether it is moral rectitude that you want to achieve or you want to see a fast development of your country?
On the abilities of both Buhari and Atiku to provide correct answers to questions, here are the incontrovertible facts of their performances :
Kadaria: Why should the Nigerian people vote for you again?
Buhari : I’ve said before that if my party nominates me, I will contest.
Kadaria : Will you accept result of election if you lose?
Atiku: If elections are adjudged to be free and fair and credible, why not? I have lost elections before.
Another crucial area is on the demonstrated abilities of both Buhari and Atiku on up to date grasp of events across the nation and the world; here are their responses to questions that will help form opinions on this:
Kadaria: The soldiers are protesting poor treatment and are ill equipped. What are your thoughts?
Buhari : I get situation report from the military. The military should investigate the demonstrations because they are not supposed to demonstrate.
Kadaria : What’s your definition of corruption and how did you managed to co-owned Intels while serving as a top Customs Officer?
Atiku : Corruption is when you use your privilege position to enrich yourself, family or friends at the expense of the nation.
I did not use my position as a top government official to enrich myself. There was no conflict of interest because the existing law at the time allowed me to purchase private shares in Intels. I subsequently resigned in 1989 as a top official with the Nigerian Customs Service.
There is also the angle of demonstrated mental alertness by both President Buhari and Atiku Abubakar. Here are the their performances in this respect :
Kadaria: What’s the solution to the conflict between farmers and herdsmen?
Buhari: We studied grazing routes from the 1st republic. Benue Governor shouldn’t ban grazing but provide routes for grazing.
Kadaria : What’s the solution to the conflict between farmers and herdsmen?
Atiku : The solution is provision of feeding lots. Although it may be more expensive to establish but it will definitely make the cows to have more milk and beef. Dialogue and nomadic education will also be reintroduced.
Clear cut plans for Nigerian citizens was equally an area in which the abilities of President Buhari and Atiku Abubakar were also put to test. Below are their performances :
Kadaria: BH targeting the military and killing soldiers. Are you worried about that?
Buhari: They choose the time to attack. We have resource limitations. BH get help from external forces.
Kadaria: How so you plan to lift people out of poverty if you are elected president in the 2019 general elections.
Atiku : A few years ago, I set up a microfinance bank in Adamawa and I brought in someone from Bangladesh and you know they are the best in the world in that area. I told him I wanted to lift people out of poverty and I want you to dedicate 80 per cent of your loans to women. You know how many persons I was able to lift out of poverty? 45,000.
Conclusively, a nation they say always get the type of leader it deserves. Performances of both President Buhari and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the debate had clearly exposed the strength and weaknesses of both candidates. One thing that remains sacrosanct in life is the fact that nobody can give what he does not possess. Good and purposeful leadership simply entails more than having a cult like and mammoth crowd of blind followers. An ailing nation like Nigeria deserves nothing short of a leader that is physically and mentally active and healthy to relentlessly begin the process of healing.
– Adeniji , wrote from Lagos