The much anticipated Presidential debate organised by the Nigeria Election Debate Group (NEDG) and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) between the leading candidates running in the February 16 presidential election held on Saturday at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja.
Although the candidates of the two major parties, Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) were absent at the contest and have offered varying explanations, three candidates turned up for the challenge; Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Fela Durotoye of the Alliance For New Nigeria (ANN) and Professor Kingsley Moghalu of the Young Progressive Party (YPP).
It has been described as an eye-opening experience, especially for potential voters who desired a platform to hear alternative candidates present their plans and programmes, and as well explain practical solutions to the country’s myriad of challenges.
Here are 7 takeaways we noted from Fela Durotoye’s presentation at the debate:
- There’s always a major power shift in Nigeria every 20 years
“Every 20years, Nigeria experiences a major shift in governance. 2019 that shift will happen. Power must shift into the hands of someone without political shackles as power shifts every 20 years in Nigeria”
2. Nigeria is yet to fulfill its potentials because it has had Rulers instead of Leaders
“Why haven’t we fulfilled our nation’s potentials? Because we have been ruled and not led for the last 50 odd years. Rulers suppress the potentials of others whereas leaders support those people to release their potentials.”
3. Institutions must be strenghtened for the country to effectively fight corruption
“First and foremost we must ensure that the institutions, the security agencies are strengthened,” They must be properly led.”
“We must strengthen the ICPC, EFCC,Police Force and other institutions. If it takes 11 years to prosecute justice for 2 governors in Nigeria, do we really have strong systems?”
4. Role model leadership in the military will advance the fight against insecurity
“You have to make sure that the leadership of the police, the civil defence corps, the leadership of the army, the navy and all of the armed forces are based not on nepotism, not on friend or man know man as we say sometimes in Nigeria.”
“On performance and the brightest and the best will be selected amongst the people and promoted to lead the rest and provide for them role model leadership.”
5. Nigeria’s educational system prepares the youth for certification and not occupation
“Our current educational system prepares our youth for certification and not occupation. We’ll get the private sector and the market to be involved in curriculum development.
We must ensure our teachers are committed to the success of our students not just in passing exams.”
6. Revamp of the Primary Health Care Centres (PHCs) is key to solving healthcare issues in Nigeria.
7. Commodity boards in the agriculture sector needed to be strengthened so that farmers could have their produce promptly cleared by the government, which would be an incentive for the farmers to increase their productivity.
Temidayo Taiwo-Sidiq is a Political Journalist, Analyst and Social Change Advocate with major interest in Nigerian Politics, Governance and Sports.