Nigeria News

Fallout Of Vice Presidential Candidates’ Debate

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Nigeria News takes a look at the debate by the vice presidential candidates.

Too many Nigerians remain ill-informed about Africa. And it showed up once again in the vice-presidential debates on Friday night organized by the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON). 

Five candidates, including the All Progressives Congress, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the Peoples Democratic Party’s vice presidential candidate, Peter Obi who want to govern Nigeria, a nominal champion in a league of 55 countries in Africa.

When the world sees Africa, it sees it as one bloc. FIFA sees Africa as one bloc. The UN sees Africa as one bloc. The EU sees Africa as one bloc. China sees Africa as one bloc. India summons Africa as one bloc.

But on Friday, the debate revealed that the five vice-presidential candidates knew little about an African Continental Free Trade Agreement, AfCFTA that has been in the public arena for about half a decade now and which has already been signed by 49 of the 55 nations of your own continent!

Nelson Mandela put it most cryptically many years ago: Africa deserves better leadership in and from Nigeria but it is a pity that those who are struggling to lead us bank on World Bank and IMF data to measure the country’s economy.

At the Friday debate, Obi reeled out data to puncture Osinbajo’s argument that the Nigeria economy is not doing fine, despite the claim of an increasing number of infrastructure being put in place by the Federal Government.

Obi noted that the economy was healthy before Buhari took over? Obi’s claim sounds ludicrous in that most of the data churned out by him were found to be false. He had since deleted the tweets from his twitter handle after a lot of censure by informed Nigerians.

These data that are being thrown around now by PDP to discredit President Muhammadu Buhari’s APC government were on table for 16 years PDP government.

This is not to say that the data being peddled by the APC and Osinbajo are right, they have also doctored it to favour their campaign for second term. President Buhari frankly told the state governors on Saturday that the country’s economy is not looking up, calling on the governors to brace up for harder time.

No doubt, the country has fallen short of quality infrastructure, this should not have put other sectors of the economy on hold.

These shortfalls in infrastructure, on road, health, agriculture and education were never addressed by past governments and are being addressed now. But there is hunger in the land as it was in the past. The only difference is that more people are hungry now than before.

However, the massive approach of the current government to improve agriculture and make the nation self-sufficient is not in doubt just within three years. Under the PDP for 16 years, Nigeria was a dumping ground for every product without a single attempt on industrialization.

All the argument of Mr Adesina Akinwunmi, the former Agriculture minister did not produce one bag of home grown rice anywhere in Nigeria. The $16m invested by Obasanjo on power without any proof or impact is on marble. Almost everything was being imported even pencil. We kept importing rice from Taiwan and other Asian Tigers, Beans from Burkina Faso, grass from Brazil.

But Nigerians love foreign products and will prefer an open borders not only to import things but to do more of illegal businesses that the current government will not agree with.

The lazy reasoning that the foreign rice was cheap amounts to hypocrisy if something is not telling us that our population is an advantage. When are we going to grow this economy and deliver it from import? Not until Nigeria is export active, naira can never equal dollar.

Western region clearly built Apapa port, the largest oceanic trade in Africa, since the 1966 unreasonable unitary control was implemented by the military, where are we in the maritime now? What is the alternative to oil?

The Friday debate did not bring out the best of Osinbajo but also exposed questionable statistics from Obi who spoke more of theories and wrong figures.

If Buhari wins again, there is going to be more fight against corruption, increased infrastructural capacity and harder economy against illegal businesses.

However, if Atiku and by extension Obi wins the 2019 election, PDP will try to impress Nigerians by lessen the burden at the seaport and airport for importation to thrive. More foreign products will come in while economic diversification and home grown products will suffer.

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