While many Nigerians who desired to see the two leading Presidential candidates face to face in a debate may live with the disappointment, attention is now shifting to a core area of governance; the economy, that has become a topic for heated intellectual exchanges in the past week.
Candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Muhammadu Buhari and his party have refused to honour any debate so far citing media bias an unwarranted attack on the personality of the candidate.
The Conference of Nigerian Political Parties has called on the Nigerian Election Debate Group (NEDG); to consider as a matter of urgent national importance the hosting of a debate between Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and ex- Central Bank Governor, Professor Charles Soludo, so as to enable Nigerians know the truth about the nation’s economy.
“We are making this request without being immodest because of the following reasons, we rate election as a process, this being the case, the debate of both major actors in the management of our economy in the past decade, will in no doubt assist the electorate in making proper decision more than the promises of all manner of candidates”
” Since the main challenger, General Muhammadu Buhari has declined to attend; the Okonjo-Iweala and Soludo debate, will conveniently fill the void and make the money and energy spent worthwhile”.
“For us the Okonjo-Iweala and Soludo debate is more important than the debate of the coterie of presidential candidates, as it will illuminate on the true status of our economy, an economy that in spite of unprecedented oil revenue of the last decade is in comatose”.
CNPP, in a statement signed by is publicity secretary, Osita Okechwkwu, made available to our Correspondent in Enugu on Monday said “We cannot sweep away the invectives of the worst Central Bank Governor and rusty economist; mud splashed by both of them”
“Nor can we deny the fact that Nigeria is broke and our dear Naira has crashed.
It added that No sane country can afford to miss this golden opportunity of verifying the source of the pauperization of its citizenry; especially when the two personalities are renowned economists, of one tribe and one religion, of which no one will input a sectarian or ethnic motive.
“whereas we sympathize with the organizers, they should take solace on the truism that the record we have, has it that the victors in the 1999, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo versus Chief Olu Falea -2003, Chief Obasanjo versus General Muhammadu Buhari -2007, Umaru Musa Yaradua versus Buhari and 2011, Dr Goodluck Jonathan versus Buhari presidential elections debate, the winner never attended major election debate organized by NEDG and NN24.