Political debate: Between Kadaria Ahmed and Mark Eddo


Apart from listening to candidates pushing their visions and plans, approaches adopted by moderators of the 2019 election debates have become an issue. If they – the styles – did not receive much emphasis initially, Kadaria Ahmed’s, on Wednesday night, when she hosted ‘The Candidates’, which featured the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar; and his running  mate, Peter Obi, attracted focus to it.

Compared to what obtained when Mark Eddo  directed the Saturday, January 19’s presidential debate that had Kingsley Moghalu, Fela Durotoye and Oby Ezekwesili on the hot seat, Kadaria, as she is popularly called, was not only critical of what the politicians said, she is also being perceived by many as having been domineering – if not dictatorial – in the way she conducted the show. Again, since politics often colours the judgemnent of a lot of people in a circumstance like this, many fans of the All Progressives Congress are giving her kudos for so drilling Abubakar and his partner, while the APC people are saying she was partial.

From what can be sad to be a professional perspective, however, some believe she nearly threw restraint into the wind at some point. A broadcaster, Abiodun Akanmu, took the matter to Facebook as he could not hide his feelings regarding some of her comments.

“Kadaria, you are getting carried away,’ he started as the programme progressed. “Kadaria, stop saying, ‘Let’s be serious’. Are your guests joking?”  He yet added,,  quoting Kadaria, “I’m still going to ask question  no matter how you shout.’ The moderator was, at the time,  addressing some members of the audience, protesting against her style.

While Akanmu’s opinion is attracting divergent views, another of Kadaria’s statement causing commotion is the one in which she threatened to  switch off the microphone if Atiku and Obi failed to be brief enough to give as many members of the audience opportunity to ask questions. The controversy stirred up by the Kadarian style is, indeed, likely to linger for long and may become part of broadcasting training references.

Perhaps the lesson from the whole drama is that Kadaria – whom those who are applauding her has described as our own Amanpour – could still have been very firm without  using some of the expressions that her critics found odious. For instance, Eddo is believed to have been less domineering, but he did justice to the debate. Well, some may say that could be because the two big candidates, who might have provoked a possible demon in him – Muhammadu Buhari an Atiku – were absent at the earlier show.

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