Pat Utomi, a professor of political economy, has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to eject candidates who decline to take part in gubernatorial and presidential debates.
Speaking at the World Press Conference held in Lagos on Tuesday, Mr. Utomi emphasized the importance of having open discussions as a method to better the social contract between the people and the government.
“We would like to make INEC insist that anyone who cannot participate in a debate should be disqualified from that election; especially at the presidential, gubernatorial and National Assembly levels.
“We should have open debates, and not one, not two, but multiple debates,” he said.
Election regulations in the nation do not specifically include political debates, but significant candidates frequently participate in debates that are organized by media outlets and non-partisan organizations to express their positions.
Additionally, some politicians have stayed away from debates on numerous times to escape public scrutiny.
The All Progressives Congress (APC), whose candidate Bola Tinubu avoids media interviews despite making public appearances, may be challenged by Mr. Utomi’s proposal for a debate.
It is unknown if the APC intends to discuss their manifesto live on television, but the track record of the previous Buhari administration is not encouraging.
Due to the president’s incapacity to coherently respond to concerns of vital policy and economic importance in 2019, critics deemed the Buhari-led APC outing on a town hall meeting “The Candidates” to be appalling. The president and his entourage avoided the presidential debate that took place days later in an effort to prevent another instance of awkwardness.
Upon learning of Mr. Buhari’s absence, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) also opted not to attend the debate.
Peter Obi, the presidential candidate for the Labour Party, has been making the rounds in the media since his debut in May and is regarded as the most eloquent of the top contenders.