- A bill seeking to make election debate mandatory for presidential and the governorship candidates has scaled through second reading at the Senate
- The upper legislative chamber voted in favour of the electoral act amendment bill on Thursday, March 19
- INEC would be empowered to organise mandatory debates for the candidates to help boost and strengthen the electoral process
It would now be a great sin for the presidential and governorship candidates in the future elections in Nigeria to boycott election debate ahead of polls if the bill before the Senate finally becomes law.
The Sun reports that a bill seeking to make election debates compulsory for presidential and governorship candidates has scaled second reading.
Legit.ng gathered that the Senate voted in favour of the electoral act amendment bill on Thursday, March 19, during its plenary.
The bill which was sponsored by Abdulfatai Buhari who represents Oyo North also seeks to mandate vice-presidential and deputy governorship candidates to participate in such debates.
Candidates in elections in Nigeria are currently not mandated to participate in any debate, adding that the two leading candidates in the last presidential election shunned the exercise.
The bill empowers the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to organise mandatory debates for the candidates to “help boost and strengthen the electoral process.”
Most of the lawmakers agreed that making the debates mandatory for candidates would help in their assessment and improve Nigeria’s electoral process.
Buhari, the sponsor, said it would also be used to sample the candidates’ readiness on a wide range of burning issues as is being done in other developed countries.
He said: “Voters learn from the debate and are more accurately able to judge candidates and get additional information about them. It also helps the candidates to speak on a wide range of issues as the national assembly is doing with ministerial nominees.
“If the ministers can be assessed, it is logically imperative for the president and others to be adequately assessed also.”
Ibrahim Oloriegbe representing Kwara Central likened candidates in elections to prospective employees, and said the electorate “as their employers, should be able to test them through a series of debates to cover key areas of the economy.”
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that the federal government shut down three international airports as part of its strategic measures to curb the spread of coronavirus across the country.
It was reported that the airports include Mallam Aminu Kano Airport, Kano; Akanu Ibiam Airport, Enugu; and the Port Harcourt Airport, Rivers.
On Wednesday, March 18, the Nigerian Senate urged the government to shut down all international airports except the Lagos and Abuja airports for easier monitoring of the viral disease.
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