GOVERNOR Ifeanyi Okowa has excelled with identifying the issues of the 2023 elections and making them public. He also addresses them unlike the retort to abuses that some have adopted for the elections.
Some candidates are being shielded from engaging the public. This could possibly set their template for the campaigns in the coming days. Why would candidates refuse to interact with voters? Do they have nothing to say to the electorate?
Okowa has kept setting new standards for communicating his ideas to the public. He does not just talk but discusses the challenges of implementing the ideas for Nigeria’s present and future in the critical areas of leadership, security, job creation, food, education, health, anti-corruption, federalism.
Maybe you have not noticed the momentous efforts some are putting into obstructing debates since they suspect their candidates are disadvantaged.
His interview with Vanguard had him lay bare his politics and policies beyond immediate gains. Insecurity by any name, should be confronted frontally. Okowa said no excuse was acceptable for not tackling insurgency, banditry, kidnapping, criminal herdsmen’s operations and all purveyors of insecurity. Impressions that criminals were permitted to operate should not be allowed.
People, processes, and platforms were central to good security, he added. Technology had become critical to ensuring successes in dealing with insecurity. A disciplined and professional police force with officers who had been through filters was important in ensuring professionalism, are parts of his thoughts on security.
Okowa’s detailed answers to security ranging from command to control, community policing and allocation of resources and power to the various sides of the society were clear. All these would come to naught without the political will from the top to enforce decisions to secure Nigeria, he admitted, another way of accepting that the responsibility was still the leader’s.
Read also: Okowa’s 3 Ps from Asaba to Abuja
Education has to be modernised for relevance to the knowledge economy. Funding he admitted was important. Delta’s three universities are in session – no problems with university teachers. Okowa suggested that the challenges with striking university lecturers should be resolved and forestalled.
Health, anti-corruption, trust deficit in government, were other issues Okowa tackled with aplomb.
Job-creation particularly for the youth also gained Okowa’s attention as he relayed his experiences of what he is doing in Delta State, creating skilled employment for youth, most of who have become employers of labour.
Let us approach the 2023 elections with orderliness so we can ask questions about the issues floating above us. Abuses will get us no where in the quests to make the 2023 elections the defining point they should be in our politics.
British university teacher Peter Bull long ago uncovered evasion techniques politicians use to dodge questions:
a. Ignoring the question
b. Acknowledging the question without answering it
c. Questioning the question by:
reflecting the question back to the questioner, for example saying “you tell me”
d. Attacking the question by saying:
“the question fails to address the important issue”
“the question is hypothetical or speculative”
“the question is based on a false premise”
“the question is factually inaccurate”
“the question includes a mis-quotation”
“the question includes a quotation taken out of context”
“the question is objectionable”
“the question is based on a false alternative”
e. Attacking the questioner
f. Declining to answer by:
refusing on grounds of inability
being unwilling to answer
saying “I can’t speak for someone else”
deferring answer, saying “it is not possible to answer the question for the time being”
placing the responsibility to answer on someone else
Other techniques some candidates are using for 2023 are ad hominem, and obfuscation. Nigerians have to insist on questions being answered by candidates themselves. We would understand them better than when they speak by proxy.
If Okowa can be clear, plain, and plenteous in his answers about himself and Nigeria’s situations, no reason, no excuse is good enough for anyone to avoid telling Nigerians who he is and where he has been before realising he should be President.
WAS President Obasanjo afraid of Atiku for the eight years they were in office? He writes of Atiku’s misdeeds as if Atiku was President and Obasanjo Vice President.
ASUU is not a pre-election matter so the indifference of the government is not a surprise. One of the presidential candidates still boasts that he will continue from wherever Buhari stops.
FEDERAL Ministry of Agriculture said it spent N18.9 billion on bush clearing, preparing the ground, and restoring soil plant laboratories during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown. Wole Oke, chairman of the House of Representatives committee on public accounts is very angry about this. What next?
*Coming soon: A toe-to-toe comparison of the days of the three major vice presidential candidates in the Senate.*
.Isiguzo is a major commentator on minor issues