Ahead of the 2023 general polls, a political economist, Professor Pat Utomi on Saturday called for the disqualification of any candidate who fails to attend debates.
He also asked the Nigerian electorate to use their power to vote against candidates who fail to make themselves available for debates.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, Utomi explained that debates provide the electorate with an opportunity to assess the plans and capacity 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.”
According to Utomi, if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) does not have the courage to disqualify such a candidate, the electorate should do so on election day.
INEC had fixed February 25, 2023 as the date for the presidential and National Assembly elections. The governorship and state assembly elections are expected to hold two weeks later on March 11, 2023.
The electoral body scheduled the presidential campaigns to commence on September 28, 2022.
Analysts had earlier projected the 2023 presidential election to be a tight race between Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Peter Obi of Labour Party (PDP).
As to who wins the 2023 presidential elections, it is left to the Nigerian electorate to decide.