Professor Pat Utomi, a political economist, urged on Saturday for the disqualification of any candidate who does not show up for the election debate ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Additionally, he urged Nigerian voters to exercise their right to vote against candidates who refuse to show up for the debate.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja, Utomi explained that debates provide voters a chance to evaluate the intentions and abilities of candidates before the elections.
“The fortunes of South Korea were turned around because the electoral commission was so despondent about the quality of their politics that they decided that the thing that should matter the most for elections are debates between candidates,” he said.
“So it became entrenched in the conventions of South Korean politics. Before anybody goes to an election, they would have had a series of debates on the streets, in town halls, on television to define South Korean elections.
“Once debates came to define elections, moneybags and all kinds of criminals and charlatans ran away and their electoral process became one of a sustained, enormously developed country.”
“So any politician that refuses to make this fundamental contribution to the democratic process should be considered unfit, unable and unwilling to participate in the democratic process.”
Utomi says that the electorates ought to dismiss such a candidate on election day if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) lacks the guts to do so.
The presidential and national parliament elections would take place on February 25, according to INEC. On March 11, 2023, elections for the state’s governor and state assembly are anticipated.
The official start date of the presidential campaigns was already set by the electoral board as September 28.
Previous predictions by analysts put Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Peter Obi of the Labour Party in a close battle for the presidency in 2023. (PDP).