The Nigerian senate has endorsed a bill to make election debates compulsory for presidential and governorship candidates.
The bill sponsored by Abdulfatai Buhari who represents Oyo north scaled its second reading at Thursday’s plenary session after senators voted in its favour.
If passed into the law, the bill mandates the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to organise mandatory debates for the candidates to “help boost and strengthen the electoral process.”
It is also expected that the bill will help in the assessment of candidates and improve Nigeria’s electoral process.
Sponsor of the bill, Buhari said;
“Voters learn from the debate and are more accurately able to judge candidates and get additional information about them.
“It also helps the candidates to speak on a wide range of issues as the national assembly is doing with ministerial nominees.
“If the ministers can be assessed, it is logically imperative for the president and others to be adequately assessed also.”
It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari shied away from the debates in 2019, prompting his main challenger, Atiku Abubakar to also opt out.