By Efio-Ita Nyok| 18 March 2015| 9:00 am
The presidential candidate of Nigeria's foremost political opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), Major General Mohammadu Buhari (Rtd), while briefing the press in Abuja, the federal capital yesterday 17 March, declared that he would not engage President Goodluck Jonathan in a political debate in view of the forthcoming general elections on the premise that the activities of both himself and Jonathan are in public domain.
When I got wind of this development I was not as surprised that Buhari was avoiding a debate with his arch opponent for the umpteenth time as the reasons he advanced for that elusive inclination. I don't understand what Buhari means by that realities about himself and GEJ are in public domain. What does/could he mean?
Is this not the same Buhari that addressed the international foreign policy community in Chatham House and fielded questions from the audience? Is the International Institute of Foreign Policy not aware of his dictatorial genius of the past? Why did he have to go and assure them of his alleged conversion from autocracy to democracy? The mere fact that he had subjected himself to the democratic tradition for the fourth time on end was enough to assure his international audience that he was now a 'converted democrat'. They, as we, were not blind, so why the debate?
Why is Buhari changing the reason for his elusive mien from the accusation that the press is biased to purported immanence of his and GEJ's 'political data' in public domain? Is this the type of change we shall be experiencing should he win? Jumping from pillar to post all in the unwholesome bid to avoid responsibility? This may not be the change Nigerians are looking forward to.
To my mind, Buhari and his APC cohorts have better but covert reasons for not wanting to address the Nigerian electorates by virtue of a debate. These reasons could be these:
* Buhari is afraid of Jonathan's democratic credentials in respect to his.
* Buhari is not a democrat as alleged.
* Buhari may not be able to rationalise his dictatorship of yester years to the Nigerian public as he did in Chatham House.
* Buhari is not honest as purported.
* Buhari does not have a sound policy framework of his anticipated presidency.
My disappointment with the electioneering campaigns in this year's general elections has been that, this campaign has not been founded on ideology/issues. The PDP and APC including their candidates at all levels -gubernatorial, senatorial, representative, and presidential, have not been able to expressly tell us what they want to use public office for and how they intend to actualise their visions!? The most the APC has said is that they wish to deal with corruption, security and arrest a dwindling economy. The corollary is HOW!? HOW!? And HOW!? You have not told us how!
The business of governance is complex but scientific. Buhari should be able to tell us how he intends to pay social benefits when the bench mark for crude oil is becoming as dynamic as possible.
The mere fact that Buhari cannot engage President Goodluck Jonathan in a debate where he would marshal out a scientific roadmap for addressing corruption, security and a comatose economy suggest that he is not a democrat, for democracy is government by, for and of the Nigerian electorates electing you based on sound Democratic credentials of politicians vying for public office.