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2019 Vice Presidential Debate: So much for alternative and the obvious two horseman race. By: Francis Duru B. Agric; MsSDPM

The 2019 election intrigue took a new dimension yesterday as “THE DEABATE” kicked off with the Vice-presidential debate. Nigerians had clamored for this and it was an episode to behold which will stay in our heart for a long time. This was a taste of what is to come, and it was a great opportunity for Nigerians to see firsthand what these men and women have to offer as we continue to evaluation the imminent choice before us.

This imminent choice calls for critical sober reflection considering where we are as a nation; the media war of confusion and the political maneuver of the people, this debate was what we needed to see beyond the political smokes. While there is a lot of room for improvement, we must give credit to the organizer for a seemly job well done. As much as we expect this debate to play a critical role in how the pendulum swings come February 2019, it is painful that the critical mass voters in the rural communities might never see the debate. However, we must take the much we can get from it especially for Nigerians that are privilege to see the debate live and those that will watch it in retrospect.
Before we go into the nitty-gritty of the vice-presidential debate, let me provide a background fact as to what each candidate should be judged on. In Nigeria, the Vice-President is primarily saddled with the responsibility of driving the economy. Therefore, it is safe to say that the best candidate should the one with the economic sagacity to drive the economy of our great nation. We must also note that oratory skill is not equivalent to economic knowledge and experience. It becomes imperative that we pay close attention to the content of facts and not vocabulary. This debate provided loads of facts ranging from social programs, cost of governance, fuel subsidy, corruption, government assets privatization, economic diversification, national resource distribution and many more. I will recommend that you take time to watch the debate in retrospect as time will not permit for complete dissection.

Meanwhile, as the debate progressed, the two-horseman race between Mr. Peter Obi (PDP) and Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (APC) became too apparent. We even had other candidates referring in addendum of what either Mr. Peter Obi or Prof Yemi Osinbajo had said. This was the sorry side of the debate as I had expected these main players to be given a run for their money, but that was not meant to be. This is not to discredit other candidates, I have this feeling that they did the much they could do in the situation, but we can agree that much is needed to dislodge these perennial players. I looked out for a spark from somewhere else, but I could not find. I have the feeling that some of the vice president’s choices were made based on their seemly popularity and the probability of winning election with their candidature combination. Indeed, much consideration was not given on the job of running the economy.

On Mr. Peter Obi (PDP) and Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (APC), While Osinbajo was telling us what is currently being done, Obi on the other hand was telling us what could be done differently. The presentation of what is currently being done as well as credible alternative was the essence of this debate, and both men nailed it. One spark caught my attention during the debate as Obi responded to a critical issue on corruption and in the characteristic manner of the Osinbajo, he responded quite efficiently from his own point of view. Obi had said “Why do we have to close SHOP because we are being attacked by thief” and Osinbajo responded “If you don’t deal with the thief then there will be nothing left in the inventory of the SHOP”.

The respond of Osinbajo might look smart on the surface but what he said was a clear revelation of how the current administration thinks. Osinbajo just confirmed that the current administration decided to shut down the nation’s economy (LOCK SHOP) to fight corruption which of cause is as evident as the day light. This is the clear picture of where are today and a resonant of the NEXT LEVEL agenda. Obi on the other hand had advocated that locking down the economy wasn’t the solution, he said we can open the economy and find a better way of fighting corruption through institutionalized approach. we must begin to think these things through if we are to make the right choice. Now that the vice-president debate is done and dusted, we must look forward with great expectation to the grand-master of the debates, we must focus on the content of the discussion and not oratory as we make up our minds on the best choice for our nation in this critical time.


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