I was invited to this event –

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and can I start by saying a big kudos to Play Network for putting this together? To my mind Play is a club/lounge and so the social consciousness and thought that went into staging this event is commendable. More than commendable.

So the IV said 6pm; by 6.30pm I saw a tweet saying the hall was empty so I sat back at home and continued working on the documents I had to ready for this week.

Apparently there was a rendition of the national anthem by Eve Urrah and Magnificent, a welcome address by PLAY Network CEO Charles Okpaleke, and then Adebola Williams presented a speech. Gleaned this sentence off tweets, did I miss anything?

Got there about 7.30pm to meet about 15 minutes of Oby Ezekwesili’s keynote – fiery, hardcore, and igniting. Not like anyone who knows her would expect anything else. Some of the things I took away?

  • “Weak governments produce weak outcomes. Strong intelligent governments produce strong, sustainable outcomes”
  • “You must join public service. Apathy cannot give you the answers/results you’re looking for/expecting

And then there was this!

Screenshot 2015-02-02 14.15.59

Ok, after her keynote which ended with a question on what our (us young people) parameters for measuring competence, character, and capacity were, there was the electrifying performance by JaiyeGuitar. Really lovely! And that rendition of Michael Jackson’s Earth Song? Loved it! Even though that bit with kneeling down was a bit too much for me, I loved it! And yes, my honest, purest thoughts Sir? Don’t sing, just play!

Next up was Frank Nweke who started with a riveting question: what’s wrong with being partisan? He asked because apparently the organizers of the event had come to him as a ‘non-partisan’ organization et al, and he said except this was an event strictly about voter education etc., humans were naturally partisan and he wouldn’t give up that part of him. I agree. Sometimes we act like being political is a bad thing.

His was quite interesting to be honest, hard truths about continuity and how he’s been in the same political party for the past 15 or 16 years (take your sub). He re-echoed some of Madam Oby’s thoughts about change being impossible without active political participation, leadership now being a responsibility rather than an option, and my only grouse with the entire presentation was I was checking the time and looking at the other things we had to get through.

Timi Dakolo was up next, and he performed ‘Nigeria’. Soon as he climbed the podium, half the audience was on their feet; the other half joined less than a minute into his performance. Can I just say that if/when I become president, Nigeria is getting a new anthem? An anthem truly representative of everything we’ve seen, are, and hope to be. Timi Dakolo is an incredible performer. End of.

There were cakes and NON-ALCOHOLIC drinks in the foyer, and it was nice to get a bite and a sip – if I’d organized the event maybe there’d have been an interlude for this to happen without people leaving the hall during speeches but hey, learning curve for Play.

Then it was time for the debate. Whoop! I was excited, watching people go at it mentally is one of my favorite past times. Tolu Ogunlesi was invited up to moderate, and he introduced the panelists. Four for each team (APC and PDP); they sat on the stage while Tolu and Chigurl gave the modalities for the debate. Opening statements from both sides, and then there would be questions from the audience both parties would respond to, taking a minute or so per answer if I remember correctly.

Time check? About 10pm or a couple minutes before.

APC started the opening statements (that way because ‘A’ comes before ‘P’ – in Tolu’s voice). First I noticed grammar (one of the speakers used ‘avuncular’ and ‘nexus’ in one sentence and I almost thought ‘Higi Haga’ was in the building).

And the questions went on from there.

Of course there had to be that Nigerian who would raise his hands to ask a question and then say, “actually I don’t have a question, but a comment”. Sigh.

As the question and answer session went on (and I won’t comment on the strength of their answers because I only remember three names of all the panelists and I zoned out as soon as the panelists started yelling), it was obvious people were becoming just a bit more disorderly, voices were just a little higher than normal, and it gradually descended/degenerated into a shouting bout.

Even among the lady debaters.

Calling everyone to order time and time again. I wondered why we bothered dressing up (code was black tie) if we were going to coming within inches of fisticuffs.

Calling everyone to order time and time again. I wondered why we bothered dressing up (code was black tie) if we were going to coming within inches of fisticuffs.

Somehow we got to the end of the event (with half the hall standing and holding mini debates at their seats), and then Doyin Okupe who was on the PDP team but had not said a word the entire time, was going to speak for his team. And then folks who support APC started shouting. From ‘Sai Buhari’ to ‘APC’, to several other unintelligible things, the event hit rock bottom. They rushed to the front of the stage, chanting, hands in the air, and it occurred to me why young people are very far from being taken seriously, why we are far from the future we seek. It was a riot, and I became afraid. Truly afraid.

There was nothing left. Nothing. Only suits and fancy makeup distinguished the yelping animals I was watching from the thugs we see/have seen on TV.

To be honest, I don’t know what Doyin Okupe spoke for, closing argument or something but you must know this: from listening to him last night, he tweets for himself. One and the same. I will not repeat the things he said here either because this is more about us young people than it is about the elders we keep saying have failed.

I think I saw someone push Tolu Ogunlesi in the midst of this ruckus, and Chigurl was super upset because people were calling her names. All because she insisted on following the announced modalities for the mic going round (three questions from each row).

I stayed till the end – left Congress Hall a few minutes to  midnight. These three tweets sum up my thoughts on this event.

Screenshot 2015-02-02 14.32.19 Screenshot 2015-02-02 14.32.48 Screenshot 2015-02-02 14.32.58We are not ready.

 

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Comments
  1. The end of the event just gave me bad vibes.
    It’s so sad…
    Youths want to be given a chance at governance but will this ever be? I know that some of the older generation act unruly too but must we follow their lead.
    Place a suit and tie on us but attitude is the most important thing to be changed..
    Character..attitude..attitude..character.
    *sigh*

    Like

  2. Temitayo says:

    I said it before, youths keep blaming the older generation for everything, on the flip side- the same youths are not ready to be responsible in several modifications. We are indeed NOT READY.

    Liked by 1 person

    • How do I frame your comment Temitayo? It captures everything my heart expressed that night! Everything!
      Welcome to my blog by the way!

      Like

      • Temitayo says:

        Welcome to your blog? I’ve been following your blog religiously for months, or maybe years sef, from when you talked about your driver that takes you and your bros from PCS Ilorin, to when your dad came through like a boss with materials for your blog, to when you sampled our ideas on twitter about retirement age or something, I had a long laugh when you blogged about your visit to that mall in Ghana, I can go on and on about every episode and every progression you’ve shared with us , but if you insist on welcoming me to your blog, I’ll say you are more than 20 “full moons” late, …..Anyway thanks for the welcome…P.S don’t jump out planes again biko.

        Like

      • Ahhh!! E ma bi nu!!! I remember you! And it is so cute that you remember all these stories! How didn’t I see this comment before now?

        Like

  3. Lamidi says:

    I enjoyed your write up, was able to get a picture of the event. Kudos

    Like

  4. tessadoghor says:

    They are a mirror image of the elders they hate so much. Were they afraid Doyin Okupe would speak intelligently and sway the youths? Unruly behaviour is a no no, which is why I will not be at any political events.

    I will just campaign till the 14th of february and on the 14th of February I will go vote at the polling booth, take some pictures and then go home and wait for the results on Sunday
    It is well. We can only get better.

    Like

    • Lol!!! About Doyin Okupe speaking intelligently and swaying the youths, errrr, what he ended up saying was far from what I would have expected anyone in his position to say. Very far. Very, very far.

      Amen to your plans on the 28th of March now (seeing as the elections were moved). God will not allow the machinations of evildoers to be fruitful!

      Like

  5. Wow! My God! This Nigeria… *sigh*

    Like

  6. Akpevwe says:

    Totally agree young Nigerians are not ready to lead. Yes, the older generation has failed us but I cringe when I see how majority of the youths of this generation act.

    Like

  7. King says:

    I was one of the pannelists at the event. It was a privilege to be part of what must surely be taken as a learning curve. In many ways your article represents my feeling. I just refuse to let such a nasty end to the programme spoil what was a very fantastic evening.

    Re pannelists shouting: I think it was down to two things. 1. Most of our responses kept getting drowned out in the noise from the audience. We were never really given the opportunity to answer questions as most answers were interrupted by responses/counter arguments/shouting/etc from the audience. At times I could barely hear myself speak.

    2. As much as we would like to disagree, we somehow were influenced by what has been less than stellar campaigns. Lemme just leave that there.

    All in all, it was a great evening. Hope we can do this again. And do it better.

    Like

    • Hello King!! Thank you for visiting! Yes the voices kept getting drowned in the noise but imagine if all the speakers had kept their voices conversational. People would have been forced to stop talking (in my humble, maybe naive opinion).
      I totally agree on being influenced by campaigns we’ve been exposed to. Totally agree. We must do/be different sha. We must.

      Thank you again for coming through!

      Like

  8. Kevwe Ogbor says:

    Whilst I do not want to disagree with your position on the outcome of the session, I want to believe that what you saw in reaction from the crowd to Doyin Okupe is a bottled-up frustration and his dislike-personality acquired for various roles he has played in the present political dispensation.
    The reaction might have taken away some of the benefits for which the evening was meant to serve, but its also a warning to the so-called “leaders” to serve straight, honest and conscientiously going forward.
    We really cannot deny that the bane of our gross underdevelopment in this County is simply CORRUPTION. It is the reason for so many things that we never got right, and it is not about certificates! Even that we all know that PGEJ could not have been said to have honoured the qualification of a PhD holder in any academic considerations, he has also failed in the acquired role of a leader in whatever sense you want to look at it – the BH insurgency, the abducted school children, humongous and unprecedented thievery of national purse, and without a concomitant or seeming willingness to reverse these trends, etcetera…. Education, health-care, and general infrastructure have not improved in the last 6 years, and can only be said to be worsening… With all of these, huge amounts of money were being claimed to be used to plug these deliverables…
    And the only thing Okupe was able to relay in his message to the audience was that because GMB has no SC, he is not fit to run the country?
    I think if it was not for the class of gathering under reference, he would have been mobbed..

    Like

    • Hello Kevwe, thank you for coming through! My post was a chronicle of the day’s events, not a judgement of the way the country is, or the way we want it to be. I’ve done that in SEVERAL other pieces, on several other platforms (including this blog).

      If mobbing people is still an option, then we’re not as different from this older generation as we think. That was one of the strong points off this piece.

      Liked by 1 person

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