Nigeria held its first televised live Presidential debate at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja on Saturday 19 January, 2019.
Moderated by prominent journalist Mark Segun Eddo, the debate had 3 out of 5 invited candidates in attendance after President Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling All Progressives Congress and Atiku Abubakar, Peoples Democratic Party failed to attend the debate. Interestingly, Mr. Abubakar, flagbearer of the main opposition party had graced the venue only to decline invitation after learning that the President and Commander in Chief would not be attending.
The discussions were nonetheless an interesting watch with Kingsley Moghalu of the Young People’s Party (YPP), Fela Dorutoye of Alliance of New Nigeria (ANN) and Oby Ezekwesili of Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) answering questions in relation to the economy, job creation, security and health care among others. It also provided candidates with a platform to tell Nigerians why they should be elected for office on February 16, 2019.
The debate was made possible through the Nigeria Elections Debate Group (NEDG) and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) who had convened a Vice Presidential debate of a similar nature on 14th December 2018. Both Presidential and Vice Presidential debates have been supported by the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (through its Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room Project) and other prominent Non-Governmental Organisations to promote good governance and citizen access to democratic institutions.