Monday, January 22, 2019 07.30PM / Nifemi Taiyese for Proshare WebTV
On Saturday January 19th, 2018 Nigerians across the globe had a unique opportunity to watch and listen to five (5) Presidential candidates, canvass their plans and ideas through a Presidential debate.
Organized by the Nigerian Education Debate Group in partnership with Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria, the event was anchored by Mr Mark Eddo an International Journalist and CEO of Mark Eddo Media Limited at Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja.
The candidates that were invited for the debate include; President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR (All Progressives Congress Party), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar (Peoples Democratic Party), Professor Kingsley Moghalu (Youth Progressives Pary), Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili (Allied Congress for Progressive Nigeria Party) and Mr Fela Durotoye (Alliance for New Nigeria Party).
We bring you 7 Key takeaways from the debate.
Absence of PDP and APC Candidates
The first key takeaway from the Presidential Debate was the absence of two of the front-running candidates, President Muhammadu Buhari(All Progressives Congress Party) and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar (Peoples Democratic Party) .
President Buhari was allegedly absent because of his busy campaign schedule, while Abubakar who showed up at the venue, declined to debate because of the absence of the President.
Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili said she was not surprised at the decision of the PDP and APC political candidates not to be present at the debate.
Mr Fela Durotoye said the two candidates represented the old class of politicians in the country.
Speaking on this Professor Moghalu was of the view that both candidates were absent due to their arrogance and because they believed the people of Nigeria had no voice and choice.
Moghalu said his government would focus on reforming the educational system, establish education and literacy programmes for all citizens and set up skill centres for young people in the 774 local governments of the country while giving them access to business credit, which would empower them to be competitive in a 21st century technology-driven global economy.
The education budget today is 7% of total national outlay but Moghalu’s insists he would commit nothing less than 20%. The government will invest in the following; teacher training, public school system, curriculum reform, and educational infrastructure.
Dr Ezekwesili on her part said Education is the pathway to human progress. The curriculum in tertiary institutions would be made dynamic and targeted towards employability. Primary, secondary and tertiary education would undergo technical and innovative reforms.
Durotoye speaking on education said there would be integration with the private sector as they would be a part of the curriculum development. He said values and work ethics will also be integrated into this curriculum, as teachers need to be committed to the success of students in life.
Moghalu said he would address the challenge of healthcare by increasing the universal healthcare coverage by building hospitals and investing in primary healthcare.
The YPP Presidential Candidate argued that he would increase the quality of healthcare in the country and ensure that in each of the six geopolitical zones there was a world-class hospital.
Ezekwesili of the ACPN’s vision of healthcare is to expand access to the National Health Insurance Scheme, as health care professionals would be encouraged to stay in the country rather than travel abroad.
Durotoye promised to work with state and local governments, to strengthen primary health care in partnership with the Local governments.
For Moghalu his government would conduct a robust program of recruitment, training and skills in the security sector. His government intends to recruit 1.5 m new policemen and women over four years.
To eradicate and reduce violent extremism in Nigeria, Moghalu explained that he would embark upon cross border intelligence sharing with neighbouring countries. He also said economic opportunities would be created especially in the North-East to stop insurgents.
Moghalu said his government would tackle corruption in the Nigerian military and put a stop to it.
Durotoye said that his government would strengthen security agencies, by ensuring that leadership in this sectors would be made based on performance and not nepotism. The forces will be motivated by providing best equipment and also proper training. Ensure that security and intelligence are integrated with the community.
Durotoye says there are three things to do in securing the Nigerian borders, firstly is invest in Technology and making use of drones to allow aerial view of theatres of combat. Secondly, is to strengthen the country’s border forces by providing customs with equipment and thirdly ensuring that people who cross the borders are scrutinised by appropriate immigration officials.
Ezekwesili on her part said that her government would ensure that consequences of actions are outlined in the judicial system. Also, there would be the inclusion of a SWAT team. Major security sector reforms would be started and intelligent people would be selected as military service chiefs.
Girl child education
Moghalu promised to improve access to education by the girl child. He would also ensure that women would be treated as equal partners.
He would invest in the girl child by providing free education that will empower her. Young women will be granted access to finance and will be given protection against early marriages in every part of the country.
Durotoye said his government would fund the education of the girl child, that girls in school would be provided maximum security and would be properly catered for.
For Ezekwesili getting girls into school should be a priority for every country. There should be an incentive at family levels to mobilise girl child education. Female teachers under her administration, would be positioned to serve as role-models for the girl child. She finally noted that girl child education would benefit not only the girl child but the community, family and nation.
Ensuring National Integration
Moghalu said he believed in setting a national vision that unites Nigerians, and will ensure that in his government every part of Nigeria is well represented.
Durotoye said his government would make Nigeria an all-inclusive nation.
In discussing the Nigerian economy and how to improve it Moghalu said he would drive a dynamic economic philosophy for Nigeria.
Moghalu said that his government would invest in new businesses that would create millions of jobs over the next four years.
Moghalu was of the opinion that skills, capital and literacy will fix Nigeria’s economy and take it into the new technology-based industrialization stage, the fourth industrialization. The plan according to Moghalu should provide about 30million jobs in Nigeria. He said that within 2 years his government would bring cost of recurrent expenditure down to 50%.
Source: Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS)
Source: National Bureau of Statistics (NBS)
Durotoye said the three most important sectors that would be part of his priority to help boost economic productivity are: Agriculture, Housing/Road construction and Power.
Ezekwesili explained that her economic plan is to lift about 80 million Nigerians out of poverty. The focus would be to drive a productive economy and increase women empowerment, which is a critical component of economic growth.