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ELECTION, DEBATE AND THE NEED FOR ATTITUDINAL CHANGE

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Governorship Elections

Debate is a vital, far-reaching and inexpensive means of campaigning and earning the voters admiration before election. It is identical to an interview session wherein the employer (electorates) assess the job seekers (contestants) suitability for the job. In developed nations, candidates save debate dates and prioritize attendance over other political activities or duties. Participating in debates is not based on self-determined conditions or wish. It is an essential responsibility. Absence at debates is a political suicide that can break the backbone of a candidate’s political career or end it. In such climes, reeling out manifestoes, the implementation methodology and facing public scrutiny is not construed as rendering favor to the people, but a solicitation of it. The reverse is the case in Nigeria.

 

After returning to democratic rule in 1999, our political consciousness has increased, but our political culture remains undeveloped. On political consciousness, individuals were once upon a time begged to contest for top political offices, but people now struggle hard to become Councilors. Lagging behind, our political culture has not developed swiftly as the consciousness. Candidates still discount political debates since participation and performance are inconsequential on election results. The electorates are responsible for this. Top on most persons’ candidate suitability checklist is ethno-religious connection and political affiliation. Debate and manifesto assessment is rated unimportant. This embolden candidates, especially that of the dominant parties to dishonor debate invites. Such is the case witnessed at the just concluded Presidential debate organized by the Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria (BON) and the Nigeria Elections Debate Group (NEDG).

 

Five presidential candidates, out of over seventy, were opaquely selected to debate. The five selected candidates are Obi Ezekwesili of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Fela Durotoye of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and Kinsley Moghalu of the Young Progressive Party (YPP). Ezekwesili, Durotoye, and Moghalu turned up for the debate, Atiku put in an appearance, but declined participating, in fulfillment of his earlier alert that he would not participate if Buhari does not show up.

 

Atiku’s refusal to debate diminished the admiration his visit to the United States earned him. Nigerians were initially impressed he returned from the US few hours to the debate and made it to the venue on time. His inner circle and political strategists miskicked the ball when they made Buhari’s decision determine their action. Atiku contends that he withdrew from the debate because Buhari “who is at the helm of affairs of the nation is not present to defend himself or his policies”. This argument holds no water. What if Buhari is a first-term contestant and not an incumbent seeking reelection?

 

Atiku shouldn’t have stormed out of the debate without participating. His action mirrors an applicant excluding himself from a job interview because a particular candidate is not present. Such action will, almost certainly, not earn the applicant the job. In this case, Atiku had the confidence to act in such manner because the employer (the electorates) has not made debating a winning determinant like the other employers in developed nations. Avoiding the debate because Buhari is absent is a disregard to the Nigerian populace who have stayed tuned to hear how Atiku intends to ‘get Nigeria working again’. It is also an unnecessary attack on Buhari’s right of choice. Buhari’s absence shouldn’t make Atiku desist from presenting his policies to the populace. Atiku took such action because non-participation in debates has no effect on electoral votes.

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Atiku’s seems to have acted based on concerns other than Buhari’s absence. He apparently left to avoid being humiliated by other candidates. He may also consider debating with presidential candidates who can’t earn half a million votes a waste of time and disrepute to his person. Such reasoning and ego is prevalent in our polity. Moghalu, Ezekwesili and Durotoye’s weak political structure humbled them to participate. They would have most likely behaved like Atiku or Buhari if they were in their shoes.

 

Nonetheless, it is un-presidential for a president not to attend a presidential debate. Buhari lost a golden opportunity to convince Nigerians that he is fit to continue being President. Avowing that busy official and political schedules clashed with the debate is an untenable excuse, especially when many people are casting doubt on his mental ability and had predicted his non-participation.

 

Defending Buhari’s absence is encouraging wrongdoing. Shuttling the country to campaign is good, but debating is a better means of reaching more people, including the electorates, Nigerians in diaspora, and the international community. Other programs should have been postponed if the President considers it important to take part in the debate. If it were to be his personal electoral duties such as the submission of nomination form, collection of return certificate, or swearing-in ceremony, would he be absent?

 

The APC and Buhari’s inner circle allegedly prevented him from participating in the debate in order not to further expose his intelligence deficiency. The Aso Rock cabal is handling Buhari like the late President Yar’Adua. They are encouraging him to stay in office despite being aware of his deteriorating health. One can only pray that Buhari doesn’t end like Yar’Adua because of the greed of a few persons. Buhari means well, but his ability to function effectively can’t increase, it will decrease further as he aged.

 

Atiku unrelentingly challenging Buhari to debate – and the President’s abysmal performance at public functions lately – made his team prevent him from attending the debate. This decision is irrational, but wise. Buhari lacks communication skills and the ability to speak on crucial issues offhand. He would have probably made a mockery of himself if he had debated with persons like Moghalu and Ezekwesili.

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Aside Buhari and Atiku, Presidential candidates will continue to boycott debates because majority of the voting population don’t cherish or know the importance of debates. The real Nigerian voters are largely the less educated people comprising of artisans, traders and thugs who neither watch television nor surf the web. Most of those clamoring for debate are the (social media) elites who do not have a voter’s card. As long as this trend persist, candidates will continue to shun debates and rather rely on handing out freebies and stomach infrastructure to win elections.

 

The three candidates respected Nigerians by participating in the debate, but Nigerians won’t reward them with their votes. Debate and brilliancy don’t win elections in Nigeria, political structure and financial strengths do. Moghadalu performed better than Ezekwesili and Durotoye, but the three are all winners, the losers are the absentees – Buhari and Atiku. But then, the obvious truth is that one of the absentees will eventually win the election. Other political parties are too syndicated or ethnic fixated to win presidential election in a plural nation like Nigeria. The less dominant parties must unite into a strong force, if they wish to beat the APC and PDP in 2023. 2019 Presidency belongs to either APC or PDP.

 

Nevertheless, Nigerians need a robust party other than the dominant APC and PDP. The difference between both parties is that between six and half-dozen. Castigating one for the other is a waste of time as none of them can transform Nigeria.

 

We must also abolish all the sociopolitical anomalies that breed inefficiency. Anomalies have turned Nigeria into the Durkheim (1893) propounded state of anomie. If civil servants retire when they’re sexagenarian, why should a septuagenarian contest for President? If Nigerian graduates needs to serve the nation for one year before they can secure government jobs, why should school certificate be the minimum academic requirement to become President? So long as this anomaly remains unrectified, the less credible and incompetent ones would continue to occupy crucial leadership positions. The debilitating effect is a continuous rise in the political consciousness to grab power, and a political culture that accommodates underdevelopment, poverty and inefficiency.

 

Political Scientists need to further research factors that’ll compel candidates to participate in debates. Measures such as tackling illiteracy, encouraging political participation, and initiating a robust voter education exercise will improve Nigerians ability to assess candidate’s competence via debates. The ability to take decisions without primordial sentiments will usher in a high political standard that’ll transform the political culture. Attitudinal change is urgently needed to sanitize the monetized political system and redefine the rules guiding the conducts of elections and debates.

By Omoshola Deji

*Omoshola Deji is a political and public affairs analyst. He wrote in via moshdeji@yahoo.com

 

 

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Opinion

Busola Dakolo Returns With Update On Rape Case

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Busola Dakolo

After months of being quiet, Busola Dakolo has returned with an update about her rape case against Biodun Fatoyinbo.

Recall that the wife of Timi Dakolo had in June 2019, accused  Fatoyinbo of raping her when she was a teenager and was worshipping in his church in Kwara state.

The case to bring Fatoyinbo to justice was thrown out of the window by the court. The photographer has now returned with an update on the case.

In the update posted on her Instagram page, Busola shared a copy of the letter she received from the police stating they have completed investigations into the case and have forwarded the case file to the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation (DPPP) for legal advice and further necessary action.

She alleged the Ministry of Justice has since received the case file for Fatoyinbo’s prosecution but has remained silent.  She said her team has sent a letter to the Ministry of Justice over a month ago but no response yet.

 

Read the letter from the police sent to her and her post below:

Busola Dakolo gives update on her rape case against clergyman Biodun Fatoyinbo

”It is now officially one year after since I came out and told the most important story of my life up until this point. That when I was a teenager, Biodun Fatoyinbo violently raped me. It wasn’t just me. In the media, on social platforms and in private, women have been sharing stories of how this man either destroyed their lives or tried to.

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A lot has happened in that time: and my heart is glad that consciousness continues to be raised about the great evil that sexual abuse is, and how widespread it is, and how much women are at risk, and why we need to ensure justice for those who find the strength to speak out.

Awareness is victory. But we are pushing to another even great victory: Justice.

 

When the courts last year decided to rule in favour of the man who assaulted me, people were crestfallen. I understood.
What they didn’t know however is that before we even began, we had been prepared for a long haul battle that may take years because the Nigerian legal system isn’t wired to help sexual abuse victims get justice.
Today, I have a major update. The police has concluded its investigation. And handed over its report to the Ministry of Justice in Abuja for onward prosecution of Biodun Fatoyinbo. He clearly has a case to answer.
But there has been silence from the ministry. Silence. A loud silence!

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“We have written a letter but for over a month we have no response.
“Instead, my lawyers and my family have heard about all manner of manipulation and foul play being attempted to stop the ministry from beginning prosecution immediately.
Or even to get the police report manipulated.

 

“My name is Busola Dakolo, a survivor of one of the most horrific acts -rape. My voice will not be shut down. My case will not be silenced. I am thankful to those in and out of the police, the ministry and the corridors of power who have called in solidarity and to reassure me that they are monitoring the ministry of justice and that this pressure to bury the case will not succeed.

 

“I am updating the Nigerian public because you all made my story matter. You joined me to say enough is enough. With you, this has been an easier process.” she wrote

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Opinion

Direct Primaries In Edo: Call Oshiomhole To Order, Jumu’ah Tells Buhari, Mustapha, Tinubu Amid COVID-19 Crisis

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A Social Commentator and Political Analyst, Jumu’ah Abiodun has called on President Muhammadu Buhari, Secretary to the Federal Government of Nigeria (SGF) and Chairman, Coronavirus pandemic Task Force, Boss Mustapha and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to call the APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to order ahead of the party primaries scheduled for Monday, 20th June, 2020.
Jumu’ah in a statement published on his twitter handle @jumuahabiodun cautioned the APC National Chairman to desist from his present strategies of deliberately instigating direct primaries in Edo State amid widespread prevalence of novel COVID-19 in Nigeria.
“As a concerned citizen of this country, I will like to call the attention of Mr President, COVID-19 Task Force Chairman and National Leader of the ruling party, APC, to Oshiomhole’s strategies of deliberate instigating direct primaries in his State to accomplish his narrow-minded plan.”
“While it is not my affair to know how you run your party yet my advice for you is, you need to terminate the idea of direct primaries in Edo State with immediate effect.”
“At this point in time whereby the nation recorded 1, 005 cases of COVID-19 within last 72 hours, then Oshiomole is a clown with his direct primaries yearning. If your party want direct primaries your National Working Committee, NWC, should approach other party Chairmen for postponement of the election.”
“The widespread of COVID-19 has already created tension and panic in Nigeria with the country’s confirmed cases surpassed 11, 000 with 315 deaths,” Jumu’ah stated.
He added that: “To curb the spread of COVID-19 should be the priority of any responsible leader, not the direct primaries which people will troop out massively to vote”

Continuing, he said, “I’m using this opportunity to call on the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nation (UN), European Union (EU), the United Kingdom (UK), United States of America (US) and other international community to advice Buhari APC government not to go into any direct primaries for now that Nigeria is the second epicentre of the deadly virus in Africa.”

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Opinion

Shocker: Toolz Demuren Reveals Secret Of Losing Her Baby***The Untold Story

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Popular On Air Personality (AOP), Tolulope Oniru-Demuren popular as Toolz has revealed one of her best kept secrets.

She shared details about losing her child, something she had kept private.

The recently appointed Programs Director for Beat FM shared the tragic experience, revealing the disbelief and agony she endured as well as her journey to recovery.

Toolz goes into details about losing her child and her journey to recovery on the First episode of Life Lessons with Betty Irabor sponsored by Nescafe (video)

According to the mother of one, she got pregnant a few months after her wedding and typically began looking forward to having a baby.

However, when she got pregnant and as it approached six months, she noticed the baby never changed its position.

According to her, the Nigerian hospital she used didn’t pick up the problem on time.

Travelling to the United Kingdom,  a scan showed that her baby was too small and may not survive.

“I never once thought that the health of my child would be an issue,” Toolz said.

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Despite scans after scans and efforts made,  she was told she’ll have to push the baby out because it was no longer moving.

Toolz revealed that at the final scan, she  had some sort of “spiritual awakening”.

“I heard a voice saying ‘this isn’t going to work out but you’re going to be okay’, ” she said.

Speaking further, she said: “That was horrible, the day that I did the scan and there was just like nothing. When we did the last scan, there was nothing, like, no movement, nothing.”

“Oh my gosh, it was horrible, it was absolutely horrible,” she added.

She said she was told that she’ll be given some medications and will come back after three days to push the baby out. The medications were given to her on Thursday and she was told to come back on Sunday. However, she went into labour on Saturday.

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Toolz recalled preparing breakfast on that fateful Saturday when she felt pain and went to the bathroom.

“From there, the pain went from two to twelve. And I remember screaming… I was in so much pain and that’s when I realized that gosh, I’m in labour, ” she said.

“I was in labour for about six or seven hours.

“It was very very traumatic. I try not to think about it too much.

“I think one of the worst moments after that… of course this was in the UK, they had to do like an autopsy, I had to arrange a funeral. It was horrible.

“That whole time, I was just like, ‘Yeah, God, I’m done’. I’m like ‘come and take me, I’m gone’.”

The OAP has since recovered and is now blessed with a handsome son.

 

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