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Ex-VP wants a presidential debate...sort of

Former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, has backed the call by Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, for debates among candidates running for political offices in the 2019 general elections.

While delivering a speech titled, "The role of media in the Nigerian electoral process" at the 69th General Assembly of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria in Lagos on Wednesday, May 2, 2018, the INEC boss said debates provide a necessary platform for candidates to articulate their positions.

He said, "Such debates are necessary for deepening democracy by promoting civil discourse and providing a platform for candidates to articulate their positions on public policy issues. They also allow the public to judge aspiring candidates for political office under pressure and evaluate their arguments in competition with other candidates.

"Debates also serve an important role of demonstrating to the aspiring candidates that democracy is about standing before the public and answering their questions."

While reacting to the remarks by the INEC boss on Thursday, May 3, Atiku said debates will enrich Nigeria's democracy and governance.

Taking to his official Twitter account (@atiku), he posted, "Kudos to @inecnigeria for recognising debates are a vital part of the democratic process. Our democracy and governance will be better enriched when voters have the opportunity to make the needed distinction in the offerings of those who apply to govern them."

Atiku is expected to be President Muhammadu Buhari's biggest challenger in the 2019 presidential election after he left the All Progressives' Congress (APC) and moved back to the People's Democratic Party (PDP) in 2017.

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