Senate Seek To Make Election Debates Compulsory


The Senate has commenced moves to make it compulsory for anyone seeking elective positions to take part in pre-election debates.

This move by the Senate followed the presentation of a bill by Sen. Abdulfatai Buhari (APC – Oyo North) which was read for the second time.

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The upper legislative chamber referred the bill to the Committee on Establishment and Public Service as well its Committee on INEC.

The bill with title: “Nigerian Political Debates Commission Bill, 2015,” if passed, would mandate those seeking election as president, governor, lawmakers and other elective positions, including their running mates, would have to go through a debate which would be organised by a proposed commission.

Presenting the lead debate, Senator Buhari said that the bill would give legislative backing to the establishment of a commission that would be charged with organising the debate.

election debates

He said:

“The bill, if considered and passed by this hallowed chamber, will strengthen our democracy and bring it in conformity with the practice in other renowned democracies of the world.”

He added that the United States was a good example where debates were properly used to reach out to the electorate and urged his colleagues to support the bill for passage.

“The debate is the de facto election process in the United States as results of elections are predicated on the candidates’ performance at the debates.

“An analogous experience of this crucial indispensability of electoral debate is the current presidential debate between Hillary Clinton of the Democratic Party and Donald Trump of the Republican Party.”

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The Senator said that political parties and aspirants were already accustomed to election debates which had now become mandatory since it began in 1960 between then Democratic nominee John Kennedy and his Republican rival, Richard Nixon.