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Politics Why Nigeria Must Insist on Presidential Debate in 2015, by Tolu Ogunlesi


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If I’m voted into power within the next four years, the issue of power will become a thing of the past. Four years is enough for anyone in power to make significant improvement and if I can’t improve on power within this period, it then means I cannot do anything even if I am there for the next four years.” That was President Goodluck Jonathan in February 2011.

And here is Muhammadu Buhari, two months after Jonathan: “This campaign is the third and last one for me, since, after it, I will not present myself again for election into the office of the President.”

The lesson here is a simple one: Politicians ought to be careful about the statements they make.

Having said that, I should also add that we ought to acknowledge the fact that people are allowed to change their minds. Four hours is a long time in Nigerian politics, let alone four years. If Jonathan and Buhari have decided to change their minds, we should respect their decisions. But I also believe that in the spirit of the accountability that true democracy demands, Nigerians deserve explanations from both men.

This is where presidential debates will come in. I’ll be looking forward to debates at which Jonathan, Buhari, Atiku Abubakar and whoever else is seeking to rule Nigeria between 2015 and 2019 are all made to confront their records in word and deed. I believe we ought to have at least three major presidential debates before the election in February 2015, moderated by credible, courageous and knowledgeable people who can hit the candidates with tough and uncompromising questions.

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Source: #PUNCH