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Bill to make election debate compulsory scales second reading in Senate

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Nigeria Senate

A bill that empowers the Independent National Electoral Commission to organise mandatory election debate for candidates contesting elections scaled second reading in the Senate on Thursday.  

The bill which was sponsored by Senator Abdulfatai Buhari representing Oyo North Senatorial district specifically said “candidates contesting elections as President,  Vice President,  Governors and their deputies”,  should be subjected to electoral debate. 

The sponsor of the bill reasoned that the process would strengthen the nation’s democracy like in larger democracies across the world.

 He explained that the debate would bring the candidates and electorate to a meeting point where they would better understand each other.  

Senator Ibrahim Gobir in his contribution said the bill will sieve bad from good and qualitative elements in the political space  as the country now strives to get the best of political activities.

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 “The bill will do away with truants,  bad people and all manner of elements who should have nothing to do with political leadership. 
“From the debate,  electorate would be able to deduce the kind of persons they are, form their opinion about contestants.”

Senator Ibrahim Oloreigbe said,  electoral debate serves as job interview and they should be subjected to all forms of debate that covers the entire segment of the country. 

‘Election debate will strengthen democracy,  improved the quality of persons seeking to lead. “

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Solomon Adeola Olamilekan on his part pointed out that the bill would afford electorate “to know their candidates”,  because the debate will expose the quality and capacity of the candidates. 

“Even the two biggest parties in US, the Republican and the Democrats  knows their ideology and their agenda,  so in Nigeria, it should be the same.”

Senator Jibrin Barau,  however,  dissented explaining that the bill should not be made mandatory,  but optional. 

Senator Matthew Urhoghide representing Edo South Senatorial district on his part  said makes candidates to strengthen their social contract with the people.

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 “We must begin to question the integrity of the people on issues that are not clear with regards with social contract. 

“It must be compulsory so that some people would not take electorate for granted. 
Senator Smart Adeyemi suggested that the debate of this nature depends on information and should be allowed for journalist and the Nigeria Labour Congress instead of INEC.

 In his remarks,  Senate President, Dr Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan insisted that bodies that would supervised debate of this nature should be bipartisan. 

After it scaled through, it was referred to Senate Committee on INEC to be reverted back in four weeks time. 

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