If you did not watch the Lagos debates, you should. The sub-par and truly disgraceful performance of one of the "contenders", Bashorun JK Randle of the Social Democratic Mega Party, was both comedic and cowardly. The only thing more cowardly in this election cycle than the handling of JK Randle in that debate is that the incumbent President of Nigeria and his deputy won't even respect the people enough to participate in an open debate with their opponents!
At least JK Randle attended the Lagos Gubernatorial Debates organized by Channels Television. Clearly, Jonathan and his team aside from contemplating their non-participation in a national debate are still mulling over whether to sign a code of good conduct released by INEC! What a President! I guess PDP can still not disavow rigging at the eleventh hour! Nigerian politics might have been reduced under PDP's twelve years of governance to a citadel of political debate wimps; men who can hardly put two sentences together, or a semblance of robust delivery in public presentation. Put GEJ in lead.
The entire Lagos debate was somewhat a tragedy if one uses the barometer of the aggregate performance of the participants as the quality of Nigerian leadership; and this is Lagos! Save for Governor Fashola whose intellectual mettle, preparedness and sagacity shined through the darkness of mediocrity and ineptitude that was on display on that stage, it truly was a parade of simpletons.
It was many times laughable to see the lame attempt by PDP's candidate to decry high taxes as the cause of unemployment in Lagos, while the party he represents starves the nation of electricity after sinking billions of naira into the grid and having nothing to show for it! One almost jumped from watching the debate to smack the television when the same Dr. Dosunmu routinely cited the National "Executhief" Council as paragon of transparency with its contract awarding perfidy every Wednesday! Was this the same council that has been awarding the Benin-Ore road with nothing to show for it in 12 years? This public affairs specialist, as he claimed, needs to leave the public sphere for good!
The debate started whimsically on the inappropriate commentaries of one Bashorun JK Randle that sought to turn a serious forum of state discourse to beer parlor affinity for street level barbarisms. In JK Randle's retort on Manchester United losing to Chelsea, and ill mannered renditions of unrelated history when asked serious questions, the debate offered an insight into a whack and perhaps ageing mind in bad need for rehabilitation. At some critical juncture during the debate, it became clear that the audience was not laughing with Baba Randle, but laughing at him!
Things came to head when the candidates were offered an opportunity to ask one another questions. Quite predictably, the bunch of ingrates on the stage dutifully and predictably piled on the out-performing incumbent and made a mess of it. Bashorun Randle was the first rat to try to bell the cat; he barely survived! JKR's sense of entitlement by his lame attempt to upbraid the Governor for elite inaccessibility soon quickly backfired.
Clearly, BRF o gba gbere (rough translated: BRF does not take nonsense!). One could have mistaken the Governor's coolness and calmness when Baba Randle first started throwing petty pins at the poor man; but alas, the response tore through the room like a massive two hundred ton bomb! Fashola rightly put the man in his place by highlighting the inherent nepotism and corruption of the accessibility (in this case carefully couched as elite entitlement by the Bashorun); he went further to reveal to all that Randle was requesting not just access but an illegal favor (intervention in a pending criminal case). Above all, that Randle was himself a law breaker (having built on public drainage) that deserves no such access!
Ignominy! One could see very quickly how the temperature of the room changed after those assertions. Bashorun Randle was rattled; he never expected BRF to counter- attack; he couldn't handle what he dished. Clearly, his elite entitlement did not save him from this public upbraiding and dress down that he invited upon himself. He must have thought he had a shot at embarrassing the governor, but clearly he was the one who left embarrassed.
While he could not stop sulking throughout the rest of the debate, his ultimate undoing came when the coward of the politician in him would not embrace the governor at the end in the spirit of sportsmanship which every politician worth his/her mettle must display at such occasions! He could not even stop himself from experiencing an oral diarrhea of the worst order when he accused the governor rather rambunctiously, after refusing his handshakes and hugs, of being a child with no home training!
That classless end act epitomizes the problem with old guard Yoruba politicians (and sometimes people in general) and their gerocratic tendencies. Is this political coward unaware that this was a political debate where everything was fair in war and love? If he wanted respectful talk, he should stay away from the contact sports of politics. It is always usually the tendency that when the so called "elders" of South Western politics are put in their old place where they belong, they always seek to blackmail the young and upcoming with their age! Shame!
And now we hear Bashorun Randle wants to sue; I hope he loses like he lost his compass during the debate. Let him sue. As the governor rightly said in his closing statement, "The real problem is not their age. It is the age of their ideas." The court will conclude in the same manner; one hopes!
In any case, when will Goodluck Jonathan finally man up and sign up for the presidential debate? At least he should prove his detractors like yours sincerely who cannot vouch for his ability to put two sentences together (well better than his wife, Patience of "fellow widow fame") wrong by just signing up. Over to you Mr. PHD President!