360Submission: The Umblerra Party

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Call it clairvoyance, I just knew that the distinguished Mallams that showed up at the NN24 Televised Presidential Debate would come up with an even more lame excuse than the one Jonathan gave, ostensibly to duck the March 29, BON National Debate.

Gauging by the general mood of the nation, especially the media-savvy Lagos and Abuja electorates, a comeuppance for Jonathan’s no-show was simply a must. Therefore, there was no way our 3 Musketeers would pass up an opportunity to thumb their noses at the president, and rub his own nose in the mud for literally leaving them high and dry at the podium.

On paper, their knee-jack, tit-for-tat rejection of the BON Debate, looks like a brilliant political move. Sadly, in reality, it is an unfortunate bone-headed move from politicians who ought to know better. But am I surprised? The answer is unequivocally, No!

Somehow, I knew they were going to behave like the petulant children that they truly are. By throwing their toys out of the pram because they did not get what they initially asked for, they have unwisely played into the President’s hands, and denied themselves a once in a life time opportunity to speak to over 30million Nigerians, which the BON platform provides.

But speaking seriously, apart from the odious noise the president’s non-appearance generated, what exactly did we learn from our distinguished Mallams? Apparently, the bar was set so low, for Shekarau, the Executive Governor of Kano State (one of the filthiest states in Nigeria) to be declared winner of the debate.

I have had the privilege of watching the tape over and over again and this is how I rate them. Generally, they all performed woefully, their answers to questions were not any different from those given by the President at his whistle-stop rallies across the country.

Mallam Ribadu, despite all the hype, was a big let-down, maybe it was a case of youthful exuberance. The young man seemed overawed by the occasion and his answers seemed rushed and not well thought out. Too anxious and therefore looked un-presidential.

Shekarau was all glib, so I would not even bother with him. Let him clear the filth off the streets of Kano before asking for my vote.

Now, do not get me started on the General. For a military parade, Buhari certainly looked the part, ram-rod straight, no frills. Sadly, all I could take out from his speech impaired delivery (shi pee shi) was that he is going to spend the next four years in a Don Quixotic fight against corruption. In other words, he is least bothered about wealth creation, diversification of the economy, employment and power generation. All he plans to do in the next four years is; identify crooks, lock them up and throw away the key. Sounds brilliant and very populist! But a cursory look at his antecedents shows a clear-cut bias in favour of a particular ethnic group.

If I were Jonathan I would be licking my lips and rubbing my hands at this stroke of good luck; my major opponents ducking out of an opportunity to redeem themselves in front of a larger audience. Even the best political strategist could not have written a better script. Instead of sharing the spotlight and providing my opponents a second bite at the Cherry, I would have the floor all to myself, an opportunity to tell Nigerians my plans for the next four years, without any interruptions.

And for good measure, a chance to bring along my Umblerra Lady to reach out to the grassroots people, who unlike the blackberry and twitter elites, do actually come out to vote. It would be a political masterstroke, that is unless the other candidates, Rev. Chris, Pat Utomi and Bob Dee condescend to grace the debate/monologue with their esteemed presence.

-itzmedook; Duke Ogunbor from Lagos

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  1. Although I disagree with the writer’s dismissal of the debate,I can’t say that this article is stupid, we need dialogue amongst ourselves…it’s how you strengthen civil society.
    Buhari was not ramrod-stiff or populist-inflected, I’d argue that Ribadu was the populist here. Although he had figures to back his points up, it appeared that he was promising everything without regard for time and planning; Shekarau made good points too but his support for Shari’a law and the lack of significant progress in his state are scary for me.

    In all, I’d say this debate was a good look for us and improves our image on the international scene. Yes, many of the candidates didn’t show up; yes, we could have had better thought out answers. But this is the first go-round; the moderator did a good job with probing, and we got lines we can hold the future president to. We’ve got much further to go, but we can’t dismiss this as a complete failure.

  2. @Pastor are u serious??? Dude if u didn’t watch the debate, you should may be you’ll take your comment back.

  3. Exactly wat I was thinking abt the debate u said it all.Ribadu was to agile and always shouting his answers seemed practiced sef.

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