The much anticipated Presidential debate organised by the Nigeria Election Debate Group (NEDG) and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) between the leading candidates running in the February 16 presidential election held on Saturday at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja.
Although the candidates of the two major parties, Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) were absent at the contest and have offered varying explanations, three candidates turned up for the challenge; Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Fela Durotoye of the Alliance For New Nigeria (ANN) and Professor Kingsley Moghalu of the Young Progressive Party (YPP).
It has been described as an eye-opening experience, especially for potential voters who desired a platform to hear alternative candidates present their plans and programmes, and as well explain practical solutions to the country’s myriad of challenges.
Here are 7 takeaways we noted from Kingsley Moghalu‘s presentation at the debate:
- Nigeria can’t make any significant economic progress without fixing its political system
“We cannot fix the economy if we don’t fix the politics. Our economy can never grow for as long as we are led by the incompetent, visionless, recycled and old politicians that have run this country’s economy into the ground, seeking another four years of poverty for us.
So, let’s first understand that the power to fixing Nigerian economy depends on who becomes the President in 2019. Therefore, the first order of this is to elect a president who understands how to manage the economy.”
2. One major problem of the country is the lack of an economic philosophy
“The problem we need to solve is that we don’t have an economic philosophy. We will have to decide whether we are a capitalist country or a socialist country and if we are, what type of capitalism are we practicing?”
3. The progress of Nigeria rises or falls on the progress of its educational system
“My approach to the Nigerian economy is first of all to focus on reforming the educational system, to ensure that our young people have the skills that can make them competitive in the 21st century and the skills that can give them jobs or help them to set up their own jobs.”
“Then we will give them access to finance which my government will do through the creation of N1 trillion venture capital fund which will give equity capital, not loans that will have to be repaid. This is because loans carry interests in Nigeria that is too high or we may not have the collateral to be able to access them.”
“In my Presidency, we will begin the first budget of 2020 with no less than 20% of it devoted to education.”
4. Moghalu wants to be the ‘education President’ of Nigeria
“When I say that I will be the education President of Nigeria, the YPP is committed and my government will make secondary school education free in this country.”
We will invest in teacher training, we will re-train and re-certify Nigeria’s teachers at the primary school level, at secondary school level especially.
We will invest in how our children learn … then we will invest in educational infrastructure and finally, I will end ASUU strikes in Nigeria.”
5. Nigeria does not have a 21st century police force to tackle kidnapping and banditry
“We will begin with the police force. Nigeria does not have a 21st century police force. We will get technology for anti kidnapping, with a police force that can compete with any in the world.”
6. Separatist agitations can be quelled if Nigeria practice inclusive governance
“We will work hard to ensure every Nigerian and all Nigerians will feel a part of Nigeria. We will practice inclusive governance that will not exclude any region or tribe, and would be based on their competence not nepotism.
“Every citizen of Nigeria matters. You matter, I matter, we all matter. That’s the basis for healing Nigeria. My Presidency will make sure that Nigeria’s peace will be established on the basis of equity, justice and accountability.”
7. Nigeria needs to be restructured to fulfill its potentials.
“I will establish a national ambition upon which all Nigerians can unite. We will restructure this country constitutionally so that it fulfill its potentials.”
Temidayo Taiwo-Sidiq is a Journalist, Political Analyst and Satirist with major interest in Nigerian Politics, Governance and Sports.