THE PRESIDENT EXPLAINS, DEFENDS, ANSWERS (THAT DEBATE)
As a prelude, I made sure my children were asleep, or else I would have been made to re-define debate, or explain debate malpractice, the art and act of you squaring against yourself, defeating yourself and then being presented with a certificate.
It was about an hour of monologue, hate him or like him the president tried his best to address the issues as they were thrown at him.
For me, my personal opinion is that the decision by Buhari, Ribadu and Shekarau to boycott the BON/NEDG presidential debate was a monumental error and very poor politics. For me, they missed the big platform given the number of Nigerians they would have captured, the fact that Jonathan could not have done better than at least two of the three re-enforced my opinion.
Jona got to battle quickly, determined to beat himself at his game, explaining the concept behind new universities, he sounded sensible, but then, I do not get why one would build several Universities to accommodate just 500 students, how would this tackle our educational problems?
While he was rattling away, no opponent to remind him that, The National Examinations Council (NECO) again registered another mass failure in the November/ December external 2010 examinations as out of the 25 subjects taken by students, none had up to 50% pass record. While only 20% passed English Language, only 34% passed Mathematics.
If we do not understand English we can try another one, but not even one of the 473 students that sat for French Language got a credit.
As if education is the only problem, the President in his self-debate stated he was going to relentlessly tackle corruption, and I dare request he starts with exam malpractice. Because for an exam in which 256, 827 actually sat recording a total of 132,993 cases of exam malpractice tells you that our children are fast learning.
While I made a conscious effort to see the good side of the debate, I could not neglect the lonesome picture of the president, more especially each time Gbenga had to tell him, sir you time is up. I wonder what that was for, when he was the only guest at the opera, and it could play for as long as...
For the first initial 20 minutes, the whole thing just did not get into perspective, it was simply a case of when I was the deputy governor, I have been a governor of Bayelsa, when I was Vice president and I became president, I am from a humble background, I can make it, you can make it. All these were statement of facts that we all know, so what happened.(Although I beg to add I am not from a humble home, I am from a poor home, the Nigerian way, that's why our children cannot pass English, whether you are from a rich or poor home, that home can be humble).
At some point, I wondered if it was a press parley, a campaign or it was the president defends. The mono-debate was all the more interesting with the timekeeper bent on pressing the bell and earning her remuneration.
No matter what Nigerians think, for majority of those that were in that debate hall, Jonathan will win, he will win, not because he is a great man, but precisely the opposite. He is the luckiest man in the world...Even his rivals will not address the press with him.
The interview went well, to all purpose and intent and there was very little to suggest that he was going to be rattled after the first five minutes drama of why did he not attend other debates or the real debates.
For those that had bad-mouthed the president that he got the expo (questions before hand), the truth is that the president must have disappointed you all because he did a good job of cramming (reading them from heart) the answers.
A part of this whole debate I did not understand was why did the organizers not pair Utomi with Jonathan at least the prof was willing to spare with the PhD. I am sure must be one of the reasons Pat decided to withdraw from the race entirely. A waste of talent you may want to say.
Sadly whatever we think, like I earlier stated, and confirmed by Eno Hanson, "Having heard both the NN24 and NEDG Presidential debate / Interview, based on the content / quality of answers given, Prof. Patrick Utomi won the debates, followed by Ibrahim Shekarau. Unfortunately, in my opinion, neither candidates (including the third best) will be the next President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria".
The fact remains, no matter how sad, or happy we are at the conduct of these debates plus that of DBanj, the people who will really decide who will win the election don´t care while those who care do not really matter.
I love Nigeria, we are such nice people, no matter the circumstances, we seem to flow with a light heart. In a show of solidarity, the audience clapped for Jonathan as he won the debate against who...I really do not know.
For even the staunchest supporters of Jonathan and others, Nigerians are tired of what is written on party manifestoes, we know the problems, we may not know what we want so well. However a group that has no concrete plan, has no understanding of the working of government is not one that we need.
We cannot keep a government that cannot pass budgets in a sane, straight-forward manner, we do not want a government that takes a year to get an environmental assessment done before contract is awarded on a road lives would have been lost aplenty.
The impact this debate will have on the electorate is only an exercise in futility, Nigerians can be strong-headed, even in the face of superior argument when their mind is made up, they do not bulge. For Mr. Jonathan, who says he has been everywhere in Nigeria save for my local government area, I wish him best of luck.
For the man who has a plan to tackle Nigeria's energy problem, build mini-refineries and give Dangote the responsibility of finding jobs for a teeming unemployed and unemployable population, best of luck. In practice, we often will say in a completion, let the best man win. If you compete against yourself, what do we wish you...good luck and in the entire thread, we all know in Nigeria, the best never wins, and that often is ill-luck.
Written by Prince Charles Jackson.