#2019Debate: How Nigerians Reacted to the Vice-Presidential Candidates’ Debate

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo disagreed with the Vice Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr Peter Obi on the issue of fuel subsidy, among others during the debates Friday night.

The 2018 vice presidential candidates election debate was organised by Nigeria Election Debate Group, NEDG and the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) for candidates of APC (Osinbajo), PDP (Obi), Young Progressive Party (Umar Getso), Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (Ganiyu Galadima) and Alliance for New Niigeria (Kadijah Abdullahi- Iya).

Obi criticised government’s retention of oil subsidy to the detriment of other sectors like health and education, while Osinbajo justified the necessity for retention of subsidy to cushion the adverse effect of soaring prices on Nigerians.

Obi also faulted the All Progressive Congress (APC)-led federal government approach to anti-graft war, saying while the government was busy fighting corruption, Nigerian Stock Market lost N2 trillion in one year.

According to him, “Fighting corruption is not an economic policy. It is not that you can’t fight corruption; you can fight it more aggressively while addressing economic issues.

“You can’t shut down your shop and be chasing criminals,” he said.

But Osinbajo countered the claim, saying: “If we allow criminals to steal the inventory in the shop, there would be no shop”.

Speaking further, the former Anambra State governor advised government to do away with subsidy saying fuel prices will come down if subsidy was done away with.

“What we are subsidising today is inefficiency and if you get it right the prices will come down”

On his part, Osinbajo explained why the administration suddenly embraced the subsidy policy it opposed vehemently during its 2015 election campaign, stating that it wasn’t a bad idea to operate subsidy since it will help reduce fuel price for the masses.

Osibanjo however took a swipe on the PDP, faulting the argument made by Obi in the area of economy and poor performance of the banking sector saying that while Nigeria fell 64 spaces in the World bank index during the PDP administration, we have climbed back 24 spaces in the last 18 months in ease of doing business.

“Certainly we intend to build on what we are doing that is why we are talking about the next level. At the moment we have moved 24 places up in the ease of doing business. It means that internationally we have been accepted as the top 10 reforming economies in the world according to World report. “One other issue is about the Foreign Direct Investment and of course we have been creating environment, we need to improve on power supply which is one of the critical issues we are addressing, improving transmission assets and distribution assets,” he said.

The debates trended all night and Nigerians are already giving their thoughts on those seeking their votes.

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