Moghalu, Durotoye & Ezekwesili Shine At The Presidential Debate, Despite Buhari & Atiku’s Failure To Participate….
The Presidential debate scheduled last year by Nigerian Electoral Debate Group (NEDG) and Broadcasters Organisation of Nigeria (BON), eventually held last Saturday 19th January 2019, by 7pm. The debate started promptly to a rendition of the Nigerian National Anthem by former reality show winner Timi Dakolo.
Unfortunately, only three candidates attended the debate and they are, Prof Kingsley Moghalu of YPP, Dr Oby Ezekwesili of ACPN and Fela Duotoye of ANN. The duo of President Muhammadu Buhari of APC was absent, while Atiku Abubarkar of PDP, who came into the hall prepared for the debate, changed his mind when he discovered that Buhari would not be participating in the debates.
However, the debate which was moderated by Mark Eddo, former BBC, CNBC, MSNBC reporter, still held and Nigerians across the globe listened to the three candidates. The organizers also engaged some youth and social media influencers, who fielded questions in areas that concerned them.
And so the debate began, WakeUpAfrica360 brings you some of the highlights and comments from the three of them.
Said he was putting himself forward for presidency, and that his government would tackle issues foundationally. His government would restructure, constitutionally, establish education for all, create skills for young people, provide access to finance. “We will accomplish all these by working together. Economy– the path of fixing the economy depends on who becomes president. Skills & Economy– we will train and skill our security sector and recruit 1.5 million young people into our police force. We will retrain those in the public service. We will bring down the cost of recurrent expenditure within 2 years, with the political will. Digitalization– my government will focus on innovation; rural areas are not well served by ICT and we are going to create that within the rural areas. The ICT sector will get government focus on infrastructure, and ensure it moves to the rural areas, and create opportunities for start-ups, and that’s where the venture capital comes to play. The funds its a co-investment by the private and public sector. But will be run by the private sector. Absence of PDP and APC– I am not surprised that APC and PDP have turned their backs on Nigerians. Two reasons, one is arrogance and the second is because they cannot answer the questions. They belong to the old class of recycled politician, who cannot answer the intricate questions on nation building. Security– we will bring a political will to address the problem once and for all. We will tackle corruption in the Nigerian military. We will also create economic opportunities for which the lack of it is feeding insurgency in Nigeria. These countries have bypassed those agreements, because these countries agreed with Nigerian government to produce military hardware’s. Nigerians have not had a police force. We will invest in creating a 21st century police force. We need a modern police force to tackle kidnapping, and in Nigeria where we have a huge security issue, we need a modern police force that can match these. Youth & Labour– we will make every Nigerian feel a Nigerian. Look at the divisive leadership we have in Nigeria today. I started by saying my presidency will be foundational. We will practice inclusive governance. Education– we have a strong attraction to education. We will bring to education the political will to make it a priority, and my government will make a budget of 20% for education. We will invest, retrain and recertify Nigerian teachers. We will invest in how our children learn and invest in educational infrastructure. And end ASUU strikes finally. Improving Quality of Education– its what you put in that you will get out. I am also a product of public Schools. We are going to put public Schools back to their high standards. Health– we will focus on quality of health and provide access to healthcare and increase the budget for health to 15%. We must save the $1B that comes into this country to medical tourism and ensure it is used for what its meant for. Funds Sourced From– saving from subsidies, privatize NNPC Private sector would own 49% and govt 59%. Dealing with Biafra– some things has happened which may have made them feel they are not wanted, hence the yearn for their own country. We can see the kind of divisive government we have, a government where 99% of appointments are from one section of the country. But like I said, my government will be foundational. We would have a vision. A vision that is uniting and powerful enough that we can all agree on. Apart from my parents, 3 people have impacted my life and they are, Mr Ray Ekpu, Prof Bolaji Akinyemi, Sanusi Lamido. Why would I look at anyone with prejudice? There would be no sacred cows, every citizen matter. Implementation of Youth Policy– my government will have the political will to foster a thriving environment for our youth to thrive and become the best from the part of the world. Girlchild– I deliberately chose a 37-year-old woman advocacy for girl child as my deputy. We will work against any marriage that steals the future of our young girls. Last Words– its time for something new, different and bold, the future will not be shaped by recycled politicians. I am ready and it is time.
On His Candidacy– I am someone who accepts responsibility in the well-being of a nation, a person who commits time and resources, everything a nation can be but not yet become. We have been ruled and not led for the past 58 years. I have mentored over 20 thousand business leaders. We have been failed in governance, I come to you not with titles, but with the hope of the future, together we will build a new Nigeria. Economy– I will focus on Agriculture, Housing and Road Construction. I will aggressively canvass for 50% drive for land use for agricultural purposed. Tax System– people are willing to pay taxes when they get value for it. We must reduce the cost of governance. We must reform our civil service institutions, we must boost the economy so that we can grow jobs. On APC and PDP Absence- It says that the future is here and that old things have passed away. We have had 20 years of rulership and rulers do not explain to their subjects what they are going to do. We need to be free of these bad coins that the parties absent represents. Security– we will strengthen the military institutions, we will ensure the leaderships in the security agencies are not based on nepotism, but the most competent is given the right position. We must enhance their morale by treating them well when they are alive and treat their families well after they are gone. We must work on the ideology that is currently feeding insurgency in Nigeria. On Youth and Labour– our current educational system is preparing youths for certification and not occupation. What we will deliver is to get the private sector involved in the school curriculum to make them ready for employment. We will integrate values in the curriculum of our schools and make them ready. Education– the more you learn, the more your capacity to earn. We must ensure our teachers are committed to the success of their students. We must develop specialization amongst teachers, we must make the learning environment as pleasing to anyone who wants to learn. On Improving Quality of Education– I was also a product of public schools. We promise opportunities for all and we will fix the education sector. We will provide free transport systems for children in public schools and strengthen afterschool programs, for children who are not able to go to sch in the morning can join. Finally, we will ensure that there’s a law that makes a parent liable to jail if they do not send their children to sch. Health– We will work with state and LGAs to produce primary healthcare solutions at their centres. We will ensure that every Nigerian has access to healthcare. We will provide free healthcare for 60 and above, 5 years and below, and pregnant women. We will ensure we have healthcare practitioners to easily diagnose health issues easily. We will find the money from the savings from government expenditure, we will find the money from private sector, we will find it from the alumni. The glory of the school is reflected in the certificate we carry. Implementation of Youth Policy- we will engage the Nigerian youth with the right capacity trainings, to make them eligible to work in any industry across the globe. We will create policies that would enable the youth to thrive in an environment that can help his career or business grow. On Corruption- I don’t they would be able to defend their records if they could they won’t be here. Today we have selective corruption fight. In the new Nigeria, it must be easier to catch a thief then easier for you to steal. We must strengthen the investigative agencies to help their jobs. We must also make it easier to get judgements. Girl Child- we will ensure that they all have access to education. My deputy is also a girl child advocate. We will ensure that we make girl child education a priority. We will ensure that the girls in schools are safe and well catered for. Last Words- every 20 years power shifts from hands. 2019 is another twenty years, power will shift and has to go into the hands of those who have a new future to offer to Nigerians.
On Coming Out– Nigeria needs to be rescued urgently, the problem in Nigeria is a failure in leadership. We have no business being the world’s capital of poverty. I saved the Nigeria people, I have the capacity, competence and character to take on the position of leadership. Economy– our plan is to take 80% of Nigeria’s out of poverty. Nigerians will need to improve productivity. Our focus will be to remove these barriers that stand in the way such, as regulatory barriers that stand in the way of civilization. Govt Spending– some of the existing institutions and agencies have become consuls for looting the nation. Productivity is not rewarded, it’s the lack of it that gets celebrated, we will change that. The private sector must lead the economy. On Absence of APC and PDP– I am not surprised they are not here. They have simply announced their exit from the race. If the two dominant parties cared about the Nigerian people, they would come here. We showed up here because we believe its time for the citizens of this country to take charge of their destiny’s. Plans to Engage the Youth and Labour- there’s a sense of urgency to tackle unemployment amongst the youth. The lack of skills requires innovative education. Another focus is on the curriculum in the secondary and tertiary institutions to make them dynamic, and make the teachers 21st century compliant. The way out is jobs, jobs and more jobs. Education/health– economic and social abilities are tied to education, because its the reason for opportunities for everyone. We will ensure the early child education is tackled foundationally. Teacher quality depends on how the education will turn out. Improve Quality of Education– the public schools are the basis of lifting people out of poverty. Education in public schools is paramount to us. The quality of teachers depends on the training that they get. We will also regulate the teaching profession to give prestige to their career. We will expand access to NHIS, we will make it open, even for people who don’t have jobs. We would investigate the challenges of keeping our health professionals at home. All health sectors will take a value chain approach, we will work with private sector to enlighten the knowledge of healthy well-being and productivity. Funds Sourcing– I am very careful not to allocate budgets based on global parameters. Teachers remuneration needs to be a recurrent cost that gives value. Government will focus on these. Youth Policy- 50% of our cabinet will be made up of young people. We will ensure that they are globally competitive, especially on science, mathematics and engineering. On Corruption/Human Right– exemplary leadership opportunities restrict opportunities that encourage corruption. It also requires extensive collaboration between government and the judiciary. Girlchild- we found the disparities between girl and boys in schools especially in the north. A nation that educates the girl child has a higher possibility for progress. Barriers that keep girls away are social, economic and cultural. We will provide incentives for the girls that want to go to school. Economic empowerment of some is simply smart economics. Last Words- one thing to take away, is that this is your moment. The citizens can shape the path for a new direction. My coming out to run for presidency is not to become Madame President, no. My coming out is for us to mobilize ourselves to rescue this nation. Make sure that the saints of heaven will review your votes well.
And with that the debate came to an end, the candidates were asked to step forward, they shook hands and held their hands as Timi Dakolo performed his evergreen song ‘Great Nation’. The candidates were also given participation certificates by BON and NEDG and the debate came to an end.
What do you think of the debate?
What do you think of Buhari and Atiku’s inability to participate?
Do you think any of these three candidates stand a chance in the presidential elections?