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How Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi sold their candidacy to Nigerians

The People Democratic party Presidential Candidate and his running mate Peter Obi with award-winning Journalist Kadaria Ahmed at the townhall on Wednesday

The chorus to Lupe Fiasco’s 2007 song “Superstar” goes as follows:
If you are what you say you are
A superstar
Then have no fear, the camera’s here, and the microphone, and they wanna know
Oh oh oh oh
If you are what you say you are
A superstar
Then have no fear, the crowd is here, and the lights are on and they want a show

It perfectly describes the occasion that the PDP’s Presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar and his running mate Peter Obi competently rose to.

The occasion couldn’t have been bigger. Atiku and Obi were the last of a set of candidates,running for the highest office in the land,that had sat down for a town hall meeting every Wednesday in January from the 9th to the 30th.

On January 9th, Kingsley Moghalu and Umma Getso of the YPP were in the hot seats.

On January 16th, it was President Buhari and VP Professor Osinbajo of the ruling APC party.

On January 23rd, Omoyele Sowore and Dr. Ahmed Rufai of the AAC.

Finally,on January 30th, Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi of the PDP.

The host of this series of town halls was journalist,TV host,and media entrepreneur Kadaria Ahmed.Her Daria Media company collaborated with NTA in order to bring the town hall to television and mobile phone screens to Nigerians across the country.

In what was a combative affair between the candidates and the host that focused mostly on corruption and saw Mrs. Ahmed repeatedly interrupt them, Mr. Atiku and Mr. Obi presented themselves as private sector advocates who blamed the socialist tendencies of the Buhari administration for the hardship millions of Nigerians have been suffering for the past 3 years.

For many Nigerians that were disappointed that Atiku didn’t get to debate Buhari on January 19th, this was an opportunity for them to hear him answer questions on how he would fix the economy, provide jobs to millions of unemployed Nigerians, improve healthcare and infrastructure.

In comparison to the President’s performance on January 16th, where his seemed to have a hearing problem and little to no idea about policy initiatives to tackle things like disabilities while requiring Osinbajo to bail him out with answers, Atiku not only required no assistance from running mate Peter Obi (He spoke longer than Obi compared to Osinbajo who had to be told by the host to stand down and let the President speak for himself), he met fire with fire by vigorously defending his record as vice president in the Obasanjo administration.

PDP Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar

Atiku addressed allegations of corruption lobbed at him by factually stating he had been investigated but never found guilty. He addressed Boko Haram, the herdsmen crisis, job creation, foreign direct investment, lowering corporate taxes to spur investment, expanding healthcare to more Nigerians, and improving education to account for the 13 million children currently out of school.

Peter Obi was the perfect wingman. He chipped in with witty analogies to support the case Atiku was presenting to Nigerians and also highlighted his record as Governor of Anambra and how investments he made on behalf of the state yielded dividends.

PDP Vice President Candidate,Mr Peter Obi

Atiku and Obi came off as competent and, forgive the pun, articulate. This was not an easy townhall. At times, it seemed as if the host was on a mission to undermine them by playing a game of “gotcha” with her questions, but both men used the opportunity to clear the minds of any Nigerians that had any lingering doubts about their collective integrity.

Above all else, what was most clear was the stark contrast between Atiku and Buhari. Based on this town hall, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that if both men faced off in a debate, Atiku would maul Buhari. No wonder his challenge for another debate with the incumbent has been ignored.

If you are what you say you are

A superstar

Then have no fear, the camera’s here, and the microphone, and they wanna know Atiku and Obi had no fear. The cameras were there, with the microphone.

Nigerians wanted to know if both men had the capacity to steer the country in the direction of recovery. What they got was two seasoned businessmen eager to take Nigeria from loss to profit.

February 16th awaits

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