Debate platforms are usually considered an indubitable instrument for electoral victory in advanced climes. So far so good, it has never been a major factor for electoral breakthrough in Nigeria. But it has become a borrowed political culture in our political firmament, gaining currency. Who knows, one day, it may become a condition precedent for electoral victory.

I have watched different debates full of finesse, proper organization, and decorum across the globe where bias has no place of existence. Political debate is not meant to witch-hunt, debase and insult political parties and candidates. It is meant to understand the content of the manifestos of all the political parties in the contest so as to provide a political pathway for the electorates on how to vote their leaders.

Regrettably, the moment any idea migrates to Nigeria, it becomes bastardized, rendered impotent and of no practical value. How do you explain it, Reuben Abati, the anchor of the debate organized by Arise TV on the 6th of November, 2022, was the spokesman to president Goodluck Jonathan who later emerged as the deputy governorship candidate of the PDP in Ogun State in 2019 to Senator Buruji Kasamu. One could easily see the radiation of sentiment and partisanship in the debate. How do you expect Tinubu to attend such debate? This will never happen in the advanced world where this idea emanated.

Tinubu, as a seasoned and shrewd politician, will never jump at any debate as a result of desperation for electoral success. He will study the chemistry and morphological fact of any debate arena before showing appearances. The inherent danger in a debate organized by your arch enemies is that you may fall prey of their political antics, which may remain an indelible burden throughout the electioneering campaign. Asiwaju is always mindful of the fact that political missiles are always planted on the way by your adversaries as you progress in the journey to cross the rubicon, especially when you are a prime target.

Tinubu, a savvy politician, was the brain behind the amalgamation of ACN, CPC, aggrieved PDP and other interest groups that formed the APC on 6 February, 2013 which led to the electoral woes of the PDP in 2015. You don’t expect an average PDP member in the robe of journalism to wish him well in his political endeavour at this time. You should not also expect Tinubu to loose guard and trust the PDP while playing this game with them. As Tinubu is monitoring them, they are also watching him closely ( Iku n de dede, dede n de iku).

As a serious candidate, it is not expected of you to attend every debate platform. It has inherent danger of your ideas becoming monotonous to the people. More importantly, you need to protect your ideas against plagiarism and copycat. Peter Obi is the most affected by this development. His speeches are almost the same. He repeats the same thing over and over again. People are beginning to lose interest in him. His encounter with Dino Melaye was orchestrated by the PDP to trigger his anger and expose his emotional instability. This was successfully implemented and he is already caring the tally of emotional fragility.

In the tradition of masquerade dance, the biggest masquerade dances last. Those who danced earlier will surely become spectators. The biggest masquerade will come out to do the needful at the appropriate time.

Otito Atikase.

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