A chance to connect with the electorate over the issues being promoted and to help them understand how they will be addressed by each party and candidate representing that party.
This is not a time for personal agenda and ambition. Candidates must make it clear what they stand for otherwise there is no motivation to vote – and for those who are motivated there is no way of determining the better candidate.
A manifesto that is clearly and consistently communicated by the party and its candidate should not be a nice thing to have – it is an imperative.
“While few parties directly addressed issues of concern to ordinary Nigerians, some parties produced manifestos, and a few candidates, mainly from smaller parties, engaged in debates on issues such as the challenges of development, education policy and public infrastructure priorities. The argument that such candidates represented smaller parties and lacked any solid political base was used by candidates of more established parties to ignore issue-based campaigning during the campaign.”
“The Nigerian Election Debates Group (NEDG), a coalition of more than 20 media outlets, human rights and pro-democracy groups, lawyers, and women’s and youth associations, organised presidential debates in early April 2007. Twenty-six candidates were invited to participate in twelve 90-minute debates held in Abuja and broadcast live on television and radio across the country. The NEDG established clear rules and guidelines for participating candidates and solicited questions from voters via e-mail.”
“Several key contenders, including PDP candidate Umaru Yar’Adua and PPA candidate Orji Kalu failed to honour commitments to participate, while AC candidate Vice President Atiku Abubakar was unable to participate due to his disqualifi cation by INEC. However, Nigerians were able to watch other presidential candidates debate, including Muhammadu Buhari and Pat Utomi.”