What went down at the 2019 Presidential debate

by Ajuma Edwina Ameh
4 minutes read
…Atiku, Buhari Absent
…They are absent because they can’t answer the questions- Moghalu
… Atiku, Buhari’s absence means the future is here- Durotoye
…They have announced their exit from the governance of this country- Ezekwesili
The presidential candidate of Nigeria’s ruling party, the All Progressives Congress APC), President Muhammadu Buhari, and the Presidential candidate of the main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar, on Saturday shunned the much anticipated Presidential debate, which was organized by the Nigeria Elections Debate Group and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria.
However, the other candidates, Fela Durotoye of the Alliance New Nigeria (ANN), Obiageli Ezekwesili of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) and Kingsley Moghalu of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), who were present for the debate condemned the absence.
Reacting, Moghalu described Buhari and Atiku’s absence as arrogant, adding that they have taken Nigerians for granted.
He said: “There are two reasons why they are not here;Arrogance.They believe Nigerians will always come to them. They have a sense of entitlement but not a record of service to the people of Nigeria.
“The reason why they are not here is because they can not answer the intricate questions of the economy. It is a record of fairlure on both sides.”
Speaking, Durotoye said Atiku and Buhari’s absence means the future is here.
He said: The future is here. We have 58 years of independence and not 58 years of freedom. Leadership is truly about people who respects people. Pride comes before a fall.”
Ezekwesili on her part said: “I am not surprised they are not here. They have simply announced their exit from the governance of this country. Their absent simply means a chance for a new idea that will rescue the country.”
reeling out their party’s manifestos, the presidential candidates spoke on some key issues bothering the country.
Speaking on the his approach to the economy, Moghalu, who was a former Secretary General of the United Nations, and Former deputy governor of the central bank of Nigeria, said he will fix the economy by focusing on the educational system, adding that he will ensure that the young people have the skills that can make them competitive in the 21st century.
He said: “We can not fix our economy, if we don’t fix our politics. Our economy can never grow for as long we are led by the incompetent, visionless, recycled and arrogant old politicians that have run this country’s economy down.”
Durotoye, a business management consultant, on his own part said he will focus on three sectors; Agriculture, housing and road construction.
“This sectors will help us not only to grow jobs, but will have great social impact in terms of growing our nation,” he explained.
In thesame vain, Ezekwesili said she will lift 80 million Nigerians out of poverty.
“It is very clear that they are poor because the earn below N700 a day and live on it. What therefore needs to happen is that this majority of Nigeria; over 50 per cent of them would need to upgrade their productivity. When people have higher productivity, the earn more, when the earn more they lift themselves out of poverty,” she explained.
Speaking on employment, Ezekwesili said she will focus on teacher teaching policy.
According to her, “this is where teachers teach student what will help them in the reduction of unemployment.”
Durotoye stayed that “what Nigeria is operating is certification and not qualification. We have to give the right value to our students.”
On Healthcare, Moghalu added that he will make sure that each of the six geo political zones have a world cass hospital, adding that his government will invest and prioritise the primary healthcare
Ezekwesili Said: “We will make sure that healthcare is accessible to Nigerians, whether rich or poor. We will connect health and wealth for the wellbeing of citizens.”
Durotoye stated: “We will synergise with state and local government to increase and improve our healthcare sector. We will strengthen the primary healthcare sector We will establish a free healthcare for people above 60 and below 18.

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