ROUND ONE

 

OMOLEKE BOLAKALE

Good day panel of judges, accurate time keeper and my co-debaters. My name is OMOLEKE BOLAKALE IBRAHIM, I’m here to argue in favor of the motion “the military is more suitable to bring the country out of the economic crisis she has gotten herself to”.

Before delving to the nitty-gritty of the matter at hand, it is pertinent and germane to give a brief definition of certain terms in the subject of discuss. A military government can subtly be defined as a government led by the soldiers, a government characterized by the use of force, on the other hand, a civilian government is any type of government handled or controlled by the civilians.

Since Nigeria returned to the civilian rule in may 1999, the Nigerian political atmosphere has been engulfed in one scandal or the other: from the Halliburton scandal to the immigration recruitment scam. Corruption and nepotism seems to have become the norm. Nigeria’s economy now survives on life saving Machine. Indeed, Nigeria’s economy is in a state of quagmire and as recently said by the honorable minister of finance confirming what IMF recently posited, “Nigeria’s economy is in recession, Inflation rate keeps soaring high, likewise unemployment rate, our financial institutions are getting weaker, workers are being laid off, and states are unable to pay her worker’s salary”.

In the dark cloud we have found ourselves as a nation I’m happy to say there is a silver lining. The civilian governments that have been at the helms of affair since 1999 have shown themselves to be grossly incompetent, isn’t it time for Nigerians to embrace a paradigm shift? Isn’t it time for the men in khaki to swing into action and revive the country’s economy before it dies a sudden death?

According to Samuel Huntington, a civil-military relation expert, the military acts as the guardian to check the activities of corrupt civilian administrators and to ensure political stability. The Nigeria of today is swimming in the ocean of corruption which is manifested in the economic woes that the country has found herself in. It is important for the military as the guardian and a custodian of discipline to wade in and rescue the situation on ground, we should be reminded that in 1983 the military regime of Buhari and idiagbon succeeded in instilling discipline on Nigerians through its various program like the popular “war against indiscipline – WAI” which encouraged orderliness, moral probity, and a sense of direction. Corrupt officials were jailed, corruption was greatly reduced.

No other government is suitable to bring the economic renaissance that Nigerians crave for other than the military. In a military regime the executive is joined together with the legislature which affords for swift implementation of policies, military government generally do not have time for shenanigans like their civilian counterpart where a government policy has to be debated several times before it sees the light, giving little time for implementation.

Revenue from crude oil accounts for over 90% of the country’s earning, but recently due to the activities of militant groups like the Niger delta avengers that engage in economic sabotage by bombing oil installations and facilities, Nigeria’s crude oil output has dropped drastically making Angola the number one exporter of crude oil, a position Nigeria occupied before. It is the duty of the Nigerian Army to protect the country’s territorial integrity, when this integrity is being tampered with, the military is duty-bound to wade in and apply force against the economic saboteurs. The civilians since the inception of the fourth republic have watched the Niger delta issue grow out of hand, and alas, they are like the proverbial dog that bark but can’t bite. In times of crises, the military are morally justified if they swing into action and occupy power. The military had to wade in during the Nigerian civil war, the same thing during western region crises, so what is stopping them from wading in now?

From the creeks of Niger delta to the bowel of Lake Chad there have been arm confrontations against the government. No country can witness economic renaissance when she’s at war and worse still when she’s at war with herself. It is funny to hear the civilian government talk about moving the mainstay of the economy from oil to agriculture. How is that possible having it in mind that a huge chunk of agricultural products in the country are from the northern region which is largely unsafe due to the activities of boko haram terrorists

No economic plan can be successful in a country devoid of unity and no other government can unite Nigerians like the military. It is a historical fact that the military are the harbinger of Nigeria’s unity through its various programs like the NYSC scheme introduced under the Yakubu Gowon led administration; the quota system which affords equal representation of Nigerians from all states of the federation is the brain child of the military. The military have brilliantly united Nigerians and promoted her economy especially with the NYSC scheme where corp members can earn while serving the country.

Here are some of the achievements of the military particularly economic wise: During the General Muhammad Babangida led administration, several economic feats were recorded, like the establishment of the people’s bank, community bank to help the poor in both urban and rural areas. So also were the directorate of food, roads and rural infrastructure and the national directorate of employment established. During this period there was also the commercialization and privatization of many parastatals in order to enhance their efficiency and productivity.

The Buhari administration allocated greater funds for the development of agriculture. It also increased the number of river basin and rural development authorities

Muritala/obasanjo regime initiated the operation feed the nation, whereby both states and federal governments established farms and encouraged mechanized farming, making high yield seeds and fertilizer.

No other government have disunited Nigerians like the civilians, through their careless statements during campaigns for example a certain first lady was said to have called people from certain part of the country beggars, a president was also quoted to have said elders from certain part of the country behave like garage touts, recently president Muhammad Buhari said he wouldn’t treat everyone equally that people that gave him 95% of vote can’t be treated equally with those that gave him 9%. Nepotism can even be seen in his lopsided appointment favoring the north when the constitution provides for equal representation.

With these few points of mine I hope you’d agree with me that it’s the military that can drive out to our economic promised land.

 

ADEROUNMU AYOTUNDE

From time immemorial, the crux of any society is without any doubt its administration or in other words people who are in control of its affairs. Due to the fact that the success or failure of any state depends on its leadership, man has from time to time been in a state of disequilibrium, searching for the right system of government which would meet and satisfy his needs and bring him to the state of development he craves. Nigeria as a nation is no exception to this, right from her independence in 1960, she has and is still trying to find the right government to drive her visions and aspirations to safe havens and bring her to a desirable and enviable state among nations in Africa and by extension to the world. History has it that two major systems of government have been practiced in Nigeria – the military and the civilian, both systems have recorded their own successes and failures and without doubt the citizens of the country know which one is more suitable for its economic de­­­­­­velopment and overall welfare.

Distinguished judges, the moderator and co-debaters, I, Aderonmu Ayotunde write today with a very positive hope and strong conviction that to lead this nation of 170 million citizens out of the great mess  it has found itself economically, civilian government is the only suitable way out.

To start with, a definition of terms is highly essential: civilian government also known as democracy is a system of government in which citizens have voice in power, through their elected representatives. It is the government made for the people by the people themselves to govern their very own administration while military government on the other hand is a system of government in which armed forces of a nation are in full control of the political power of the country.  Hence, people have no right whatsoever in its institution, but the men of the force who have the power to do and to undo as regards the administration of the country.  Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, join me, as I expound with facts, the various reasons why civilian administration is the only light in the blazing darkness in the Nigerian economy.

To start with, perhaps it is pertinent to bring in a very important figure who had served in the political arena of this country in both its civilian and military capacities; Olusegun Obasanjo who said and I quote “Restraint and repression associated with authoritarian (military) regimes breed resentment and resentment breeds violence. Democracy releases the total energy of all its citizens for development.” Rightly as this elder statesman had said, it is usually a common phenomenon during military regimes for citizens to always lament over the inhumane policies and laws usually set forward by the fierce hands who hold the power, this brings about resentment and lack of encouragement for the citizens who serve as the major source of manpower who should work to improve the economy. The popular maxim goes “you can lead a horse to the stream but can never force it to drink”, when people are under coercion, as the military is known for its “decrees” they don’t and will never give their all and sustainable development in the economy can never be achievable. Civilian government on the other hand will always make consultations and seek opinions before taking a decision. There are always roundtable meetings and discussions which are in the best interest of the ones who elected them into office. This is evident with the National Confab which the immediate past administration of Goodluck Jonathan embarked on to know what each region of the nation truly wants and recommendations were made all to the resuscitation and development of the economy.

One thing also which serves as a strong indication that democracy is the answer to the economic situation of Nigeria is the fact the democracy uses technocracy as a means of making things happen in the country. By that, expert opinion are sought for and are applied to solve economic problems, this has worked so many times and provided the grazing field for the thriving and hunger for democracy by the populace. It was frequently observed during the military regimes that nepotism was the order of the day. To get the economy sprouting again, the best men must do the right jobs and this is one of the numerous advantages the civilian government has over the military. Heads are drawn together to make the best choices towards economic growth and development. This is a feat which the military regime did not and can never achieve.

In the ears of an average Nigerian, the word “Military” is synonymous to “hardship”, the reason is not far-fetched, the malpractices and maladministration of the military is highly evident. It wasn’t strange in the days of military that there were many illegal detentions, many were killed mysteriously, assassinations were widely reported and many notable citizens “disappeared”, the era witnessed civil war which drowned national wealth, wasted lives and properties. Ken- Saro Wiwa and several Ogoni tribesmen were killed, M.K.O Abiola was detained and later died in custody, his death was mysterious! Inflation spiraled during these times, many policies were somersaulted, coupled with the looting of National Foreign Reserves. All these contributed to the current economic crises; do we need a replay to all of these? Definitely no! The panacea to these ills of national slavery and underdevelopment is civilian government. Accountability and good governance which remain the forewords of democracy erases all these ills. Within few years of its inception in Nigeria, we’ve seen the institution of bodies which fight corruption and check corrupt practices of office holders such as EFCC and ICPC. The civilian government is able to put in to public pressure and this bends it to the tune of the people in promoting economic stability.

In conclusion, to save this nation from its current economic crisis, it is of no doubt that the civilian government is the right choice. Even among nations of the world, democracy is conditionality for financial and technical assistance to nations in need. While the military focuses on authoritarianism, the civilian government respects people’s rights and this allows them to go about in economic boosting exercises allowing National growth and development. We’ve seen many bilateral agreements between Nigeria and other countries which were made possible due to the democratic system of governance, all to the lifting of our economy. Therefore, I still stand firmly on my stance that the civilian government is the suitable system for the Nigeria’s current economic crisis. Thank you.

 

ROUND TWO (REBUTTALS)

 

OMOLEKE BOLAKALE

The argument that the military always rule with iron hand holds no ground, it is not true in all cases for instance general Muritala was said to be so nice and friendly that he uses public transport, the state was literally mourning when he died.

On the other hand politicians prefer using political friends than in using experts. For instance during Yaradua’s tenure, Olushola Okada who was a lawyer was the minister of defense, a post which ought to be held by someone having the expertise.

 

ADEROUMU AYOTUNDE

My fellow debater opined that military government recorded lots of achievements in areas of discipline, orderliness and moral probity, I wish to ask if these feats were actually for real because successive civilian governments have been trying ever since inception to battle these same ills. Are we not celebrating victory only on pages of paper?

Unity? I hope we can still remember the Civil War which wrecked great havoc on the lives of people and destroyed many infrastructures which civilian governments are now trying to rebuild bring us back to round one.  I’m sure if we asked citizens of the Eastern part of the country, they can still recount their woes from the hands of the military.

If we talk of instability, we can talk about military government; they are always overthrowing seats and toppling powers which retard the economy.

 

OMOLEKE BOLAKALE

The feats were real, everyone knows about WAI, and it’s one of the points APC banked on while selling Buhari to Nigerians.

The more reason we don’t see these things is because the civilian government fails to continue to tow the line of the military.

With due respect to the people of the east, there is no war without its casualties, it’s sad that they suffered more. Yes they bring stability because they provide the civilians with the constitution they make use of.

 

ADEROUMU AYOTUNDE

Critically looking at the statement my fellow debater made about Buhari in his civilian reign, there are now traces of negation in the statement. Because He earlier mentioned in his argument was that Buhari did well, so if Buhari made such statement, it isn’t the civilian government’s fault but the old military chiefs who dropped khaki to serve soups with Agbada.  Democracy still holds at its frontier accountability and good governance.

 

OMOLEKE BOLAKALE

In the civilian capacity Buhari needed to play the game like the players.

 

CROSS EXAMINATION (judges asked questions)

 

  1. RICHARD CROSS

In the midst of the dark, when all ray of hopes had dimmed and died… There was the cold of death and life’s force faded quickly… There and then there was a *Spark* to ignite our dark world and give warmth to the life in us that we may perceive with our sights and feel within our hearts, the radiant joy of hope that never dies…

I am Richard, The judge for tonight, I salute our sagacity and oratory prowess at the debate. I say a big well-done to our debaters, you are celebrated!

I greet our ever attentive audience, Beatitude you are duly recognized Thanks for participating in this epoch making event, Now briefly to the Cross Examination. I will be asking our debaters few questions and they are to reply with succinct points… Remember it also add to the overall points that can be gotten in this debate

My first question goes to Mr Omoleke.

 

The military regime of government is often associated markedly with violation of Human Rights, do you see this as a price to pay for Economic deliverance?

 

OMOLEKE BOLAKALE

I think the problem is the individual military ruler in question, there’s no law in the military that says they must violate human right.

 

  1. RICHARD CROSS

Ok… Can you elaborate more on these laws?

 

OMOLEKE BOLAKALE

What I meant was that there’s no martial law that says soldiers must violate human rights. When they get into power they just get power drunk and start violating human rights, this is akin to the civilians too when they abuse human rights.

 

  1. RICHARD CROSS

Thank you so much for your intelligent contribution.

 

  1. RICHARD CROSS

Over to you now to Mr Aderounmu. Mr Omoleke is convinced with his strong arguments for a military government as an alternative to the civilian government in Nigeria at this time of Economic Crisis. You on the other hand beg to differ in opinion and rightly so with your equally solid points. Civilian government is at best inefficient and ineptly indecisive given the sluggish passing of the 2016 budget which was delayed for 6 months and the unending feud between the Executive arm and legislative arm of government in Nigeria.

What do you have to say about this Sir?

 

ADEROUMU AYOTUNDE

As you rightly said, the civilian process usually appears sluggish, but I still just quickly want to remind us of the long known proverb “slow and steady wins the race”. The slow pace is usually to prevent errors and to ensure that the right processes are taken all to promote national interest.

 

  1. RICHARD CROSS

Hmm…. Is it in the National Interest that the economy is in a recession and workers around the country are dying due to unpaid salaries and lack to care for themselves and family?

 

ADEROUMU AYOTUNDE

When crucial issues are rushed, the outcomes are very disastrous. The civilian government is ever ready to listen to the plight of the people evidenced by the recent bailout funds.

 

  1. RICHARD CROSS

It has been a splendid time with our very wonderful debaters. They are powerful authorities on the very subject they debated upon; I must say you both made a huge impression. One that would make a mark in the Sands of time and scribed in the history books.

 

A round of applause for Mr Omoleke and Mr Aderounmu

 

Dr. Richard Cross

After careful analysis of your points. We have arrived at the following.

 

OMOLEKE BOLAKALE IBRAHIM

Round 1:

Content: 4.5

Logic: 4.0

 

Round 2:

Creativity: 2.5

Entertainment: 2.0

 

Cross Examination: 2.0

 

TOTAL: 15.0

 

 

ADERONMU AYOTUNDE

Round 1:

Content: 4.5

Logic: 4.5

 

Round 2:

Creativity: 3.0

Entertainment: 3.0

 

Cross Examination: 1.5

 

TOTAL: 16.5

 

 

Dr. Richard Cross

Congratulations Mr Omoleke. You were astounding. Kudos Sir; I also congratulate Mr Aderonmu. It was a victory well deserved.

 

 

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