Minister of works and housing, Babatunde Fashola has outlined the need for politicians to use debates to connect with Nigerians and sell their ideas.
In his speech at the 12th-anniversary symposium of Enough is Enough (EiE) Nigeria, a civil society organisation, Fashola stated that he was not known in 2007 until he used the election debate to sell himself as the best candidate for the governorship election in Lagos state that year.
The Minister also encouraged groups and stakeholders to compel politicians to participate in them.
“In 2007, people didn’t know who I was politically. People who knew me were the judges and the lawyers in the court, and they said where did you bring this candidate from. And it was clear to me that the only way I was going to connect to the people was during that debate.
“Debates should take place in places like university campuses where some of the debates take place in the US. I think labour groups, manufacturers groups, interest groups, can organise debates.
“If there are candidates who seriously want to get the votes of those people, these are the platforms to speak to them.
“If a candidate persuades me at a debate, I’d likely go out to vote for him.
“On election day, what you’re probably likely to see is a ballot paper with the signs, symbols, possibly the names of the candidates, but doesn’t tell you what they do about your life, what they care about, how you feed them, doesn’t tell you whether they are God-fearing, whether they have empathy.
“So it is platforms like this that help you test ahead of making a choice, what kind of persons you are entrusting the most serious jobs either in your local government, your state or in your country. And that became very defining for me as a much younger person.”