As Nigerians prepare to elect a new President on Feb. 25, some ordinary supporters of five leading candidates on Tuesday flaunted the strengths of their choices.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the supporters advertised the strengths of their candidates during an online town hall debate organised by Mr Joseph Edgar, public affairs analyst and columnist.
During the debate, representatives of political parties explained reasons behind their passion for the candidates, answered questions from the audience and reacted to challenges thrown by co-debators.
Specifically, the debators tried to tell voters why they should vote for particular candidate over the others.
One of the debators, Babangida Dasu, a supporter of Kola Abiola of the People’s Redemption Party (PRP), said that Nigeria needed young breeds like the PRP man to redeem it from its current “deplorable state”.
Babangida, a member of the Presidential Campaign Council of the PRP, described the political party as the oldest in the country.
“The PRP is the oldest political party and has survived all republics because of its solid ideological leanings.
“I have heard people here saying that voters should focus on candidates and not parties. I think that is politically fraudulent.
“It is a party that has ideology. It is that ideology that should guide whoever emerges.
“It is not right to have politicians moving from one political party to the other all the time. We cannot be led by people that have no particular idea. That will be groping in the dark,” he said.
He recalled that the PRP controlled Kaduna and Kano that have now become four states – Kaduna, Katsina, Kano and Jigawa – during the second republic.
The PRP supporter said that the party was built around a passion to improve the lot of the downtrodden and save them from exploitation by the ruling class.
“That passion drives Kola Abiola’s ambition. If he is elected, the poor will be liberated from the shackles of exploitation,” he said.
On his part, Mohammed Murtala, representative of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), said that Nigeria was at the cross roads and needed Dr Rabiu Kwankwaso’s economic brilliance and political sagacity to bring it out of the woods.
“Kwankwaso has the solid experience to bring Nigeria out of its current predicament. He can bring the country back to its feet.
“I have always listened to his speeches and have always felt his passion for a better Nigeria.
“Residents of Kano State can testify to his administrative skills and capacity to utilise scarce resources to great effect. Nigeria needs a man like that.”
Murtala recalled that Kano voters voted Gov. Kwankwaso out in 2003 but “rushed” him back few years later after realising their mistake.
Mr Osa Unweni, an entrepreneur and strong believer in the PDP’s flag bearer, Atiku Abubakar, also flaunted the former Vice President’s strengths.
“Atiku as former Vice President has the experience required to restore Nigeria’s glorious part,” he declared.
He said that the PDP had done Nigeria proud in the past and should do even more if given the mandate in 2023.
“The PDP settled Nigeria’s debts, build infrastructure and involved the private sector in the running of the economy.
“The PDP man has also shown that he can manage our diversity. He is out to rescue Nigeria.
“He has always complained about the high cost of governance and wants to reduce it. No one can argue with him on that stance.
“He also says he intends to open the borders so that local and international trade can flourish. I believe that such a step can check rising inflation,” he said.
Umweni also reacted to the opinion that nothing had changed even after the sale of NEPA.
“I think we are looking at just one area. PDP handed NITEL to private hands, hasn’t that revolutionised the communication sector?”, he asked.
Dr Tope Fasua, who stood in for the All Progressive Congress (APC), emphasised the need for Nigerians to vote Bola Ahmed Tinubu as he had the experience to hit the ground running.
“It is not a time for experiment. Nigeria needs someone who understands power of human capital.
“I feel Tinubu has a mission to achieve. He has done so much for Lagos. Let him do it for Nigeria.
“Tinubu has studied Nigeria’s situation and has answers to our concerns.
“There is money in Nigeria. We want a leader that can utilise these vast resources toward a better Nigeria,” he said.
On current security challenges confronting the country, Fasua said President Muhamadu Buhari had done his best.
“Buhari has done his best. Tinubu will continue from there. There is enough room for improvement. No one can solve all problems of a nation,” he said.
On his part, Mr John Phillips, a writer and philanthropist, who is vouching for Labour Party (LP)’s Peter Obi,
believes that the former Anambra governor is the best material for the job.
“Obi is the closest to representing nationalism. LP has no answer to every problem, but the way Nigeria is, it is the best today.
“It is not about political party. We only need to walk away from the old order.
“Let’s discard tribal, political or religious attachments. Let’s do what is right by voting for the right person. That is all,” he said.
Phillips expressed confidence that Obi will rebuild the pillars of the economy.
“There is a lot to be repaired. Fixing Nigeria will not be easy, but Nigerians will be taking a giant step in the right direction if Obi is given a chance,” he said. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Rabiu Sani-Ali