Posts Tagged ‘PDP’

Demola the politician. Demola the PDP guy. Those are probably the bits of Demola the world (read as young Nigerians within and outside the country) know. I know a Demola who loves history, who can quote Nigerian history from here till tomorrow and not make a mistake. From this post, you’ll meet a Demola who’s head over heels for his family, and his entry (very quiet but laden with wisdom) is a joy for me to share today.

This time last year, my son was just few weeks old and since then, I’ve watched him grow and learn. And I have learnt as well… seeing the world as he sees it, seeing him struggle to understand the nature of things as they are – that a ball rolls but a remote control won’t/can’t. That the flick of a switch can flood a room with light, that a bed doesn’t make a good place to walk but the floor isn’t good for rolling around either. That my phone cannot be chewed and that every morning he has to get his body washed, though he doesn’t like it. He’s learning the nature of things and the laws that govern them and I have also learnt.

I’ve learnt more about the nature of men – that people are often who they show themselves to be, not what you imagine them to be. That who they are is often obvious but emotions blind us to their reality. I’ve learnt to work more with my instincts about people and not question those instincts.

I’m grateful for relationships and the doors they opened this year. Grateful for life, for love, for friendships and for family. I find it hard to be grateful most times about life because there’s always so much more I want it to yield to me so I should be grateful for this chance to write about my gratitude.

Let me think for a minute please.

I am grateful for my son. He’s moved to being the centre of my world in the most amazing ways – no matter how things upset me on the outside, I only have to think of his unflappable spirit and I smile. The woman who takes care of him is the woman in my life – that’s my wife is also another reason to be grateful. She’s understanding and very tolerating of my excesses. I’m not the easiest person to live with but she has managed to cope with me.

All life for me is an experience and there is little I would undo if I could but I could have done some things better this year. I’m one of those who believe it is up to me if things will be or not – like if Arsenal loses a football match and I did not watch it, I think they lost because I did not watch. I had a small chance to play a small part in the last presidential elections and I saw my party make mistakes. I truly believed we had the better candidate, I truly believed our platform was the best for the country. I shouted, but I could have shouted harder. I fought but I could have fought more. I could have challenged those who assumed we would win as we always do – but perhaps I too was guilty of thinking that our candidate would do all it took to win, unlike he had promised to do.

In a way, that loss turned out to be a good thing – I’ve learnt now to fight harder to make my views known in any political setting and not succumb to prevalent wisdom. I’m more convinced about the things I suggested – a victory would have meant my methodology wasn’t necessary but now I know it was and better? My party knows too.

I would also have loved to have published a couple of books this year – one written already on my laptop so if you’re reading this and think you’re into publishing: holler.

2015 has been a great year as I reflect on it and I’m hopeful of a greater 2016.

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Awww, so cute how you talk about your son and your wife, family is precious and I’m all about that! I’m also excited about the new dispensation with a new party in power, big hopes and prayers for Nigeria because it either works or it doesn’t, for all of us. 

Thank you Demola for sharing today, most appreciated!

A little intro before you read this. First off, I didn’t write it, my friend @ElohoOmame did. And boy, was it refreshing to read something overflowing with common sense, devoid of the hate young people (on all sides of the divide) are peddling in the name of voter education, calls to participation, etc. This was refreshing, and is a bigger incentive to vote than the tiresome rhetoric I’m now consciously blocking out of my mind.

Eloho is brilliant with this, simple, convincing logic, sentence after sentence. And I join my voice with hers, asking that you go out on the 28th of March and the 11th of April to vote the candidate of your choice.

Still ‘Undecided’? Here’s What I’d Like You To Know

Undecided isn’t good enough. Millions of us are counting on you. Please spend the next few days deciding whom you will vote for and be bold enough to see it through. Your vote is important, your vote is strategic and it would be silly not to use it. If you’ll bear with me, I’ll tell you why.

First off, if you are one of the lucky 56 million people with PVCs, give yourself a pat on the back. You are a guardian of the welfare of two other Nigerians that will not have a say in how our country is run for at least another four years. Think of yourself as ‘standing in the gap’ for two of your children, employees, friends or neighbours. To stand in the gap is a good thing; it means you speak on our behalf.

Remember also that there 17 million or so, like me, who live abroad for different reasons, but have left their hearts in Nigeria. There is no provision for us to vote. We add the burden of another half a person to each load. Think of us often. Remember you speak for three and a half people, including yourself.

But, if the last two presidential elections are anything to go by, the disappointing reality is that not all of you that who are able to vote will come through for us on March 28. My guess is that around 38 million people – 55% of the 68 million registered by INEC – will actually cast a vote. That means about 20% of Nigerians will speak for the 100%, because 18 million of you with PVCs will do nothing. You will forget the hard slog of getting the card in the first place and ignore its power.

Some of you will mean to vote, but be put off by the simplest inconveniences, like predictably poor logistics or the inevitable heat of the sun. The rest will give us three reasons.

The first group will say their votes don’t matter, “one vote won’t decide the outcome in the end”. And they would be right. If there could ever be an argument for apathy that I respected, this would be it. It makes rational, economic sense. The voting process is individually costly but not individually beneficial since the chance that any one person will cast the single deciding vote is close to zero. It would be silly to respond to this group then with statements like “what if we all didn’t vote?” That’s a close to zero probability event. Thankfully, 38 million people will.

Others will say that the process is likely to be rigged anyway, “it doesn’t matter what I want, the result has been fixed.” These are the classic free riders, and it’s tough to respect that. They are not happy with the status quo and are probably voters for the opposition (or they wouldn’t care if the process were rigged in the first place), but they will abdicate their responsibility. I am not saying that I believe Nigeria is now at the point where elections are entirely free and fair, but I am saying this group should give the process a chance. They are potentially very powerful as a unit but would rather sit at home speculating and sulking.

The last group will tell us that they are truly undecided, and so have no choice but to abstain. They are afraid to take a chance on an outcome that they cannot foresee; they don’t want to vote for a losing candidate, and are probably most in favour of those challengers with an outside chance. These people should spend more time with the most rational of the non-voters. If they did, they would take comfort in the fact that their individual votes will not by themselves change the outcome, and they might have the courage to back their convictions. With any luck, they’d come to understand that voting is not a lottery – it is not about guessing the winner – and that by staying away, they weaken the quality of our democratic discourse.

To the 18 million I say this: you have grown weary too easily. You forget that our democracy is barely 16 years old; the journey has not begun. You want to be inspired, to be rewarded with good leadership and good governance, but until then, you will not join us in the drab modalities of a democracy. Sadly, the promise we all want will continue to be delayed for as long as too few people are involved in deciding how nearly 200 million people are governed. We need many more to be invested in this process. We need you to do your part. We want to be inspired too.

So please vote, and vote wisely. The issues before us are clear and the choice is not easy. Ironically, the campaign slogans of both the PDP and the APC agree that the status quo is unsatisfactory. We debate the semantics of ‘transformation’ vs. ‘change’ and I am reliably informed that one is a point in time occurrence and the other is an impressive process. Politics aside, I understand enough to know that in either scenario the promise is the same – today does not look like yesterday and tomorrow will not look like today.

But, in reality today does not look different enough to where we were four years ago, so given half a chance, I’d give my vote to General Buhari’s government. For no reason other than it is time to go back to the drawing board. The Chinese say ‘if you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading’.

But, ultimately, I won’t have a say in what happens on Saturday. If you have a PVC, you can. Whichever way you lean, remember that your vote sends a message, you are luckier than millions of us with no voice and you stand in the gap for 2 and a half people.

You could use your voice to make a show of confidence in President Jonathan, to deliver a message of support for General Buhari or to give a word of encouragement to the phenomenal Remi Sonaiya. That’s your prerogative. Just go out and vote.

One of my favorite past times is ‘putting forward my strong reasons’ why a thing should go one way or the other, big thanks to my father who encouraged us to ‘defend’ (used very loosely) requests, e.g. a increase in our weekly allowances. Thinking about that particular episode makes me chuckle – the intensity with which I argued you would think I was trying to get myself off death row! Those were the days…

Some would say Nigeria is on death row – the economy is as distressed as the very definition of the word, Boko Haram is FINALLY losing ground but still wreaking havoc via suicide bombers, and in the words of a friend of mine, corruption has become a ‘come one, come all’ venture. Regardless of the giant strides this government might have made across board, everything pales when lined up against insecurity.

Now, there are currently 14 people put forward by the existing political parties in Nigeria, who say they have the answers to our problems; who say we should vote them in as President and Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. From ending the Boko Haram insurgency in one month, to running an inclusive government, to banning the importation of rice, the politicians are waxing lyrical, touring states and only stopping short of promising to raise the dead in exchange for our votes.

Beyond the ruckus and rhetoric our road tours are, beyond the hoarse voices and prostituting musicians hoping from one campaign trail to the other (h/t Etcetera), what do the presidential candidates have in store for us? Beyond the cleverly crafted documents and sexy presentations, where exactly are their minds? Stripped bare, without the music, what are these candidates about?

Now, we hear the Presidential candidate for the All Progressive congress General Muhammadu Buhari has said he would not participate in the Nigeria Election Debate Group NEDG-organized debate because the component organizations have been compromised. Exact words from Garba Shehu, of the directorate of media and publicity for the APC Presidential Campaign Organization said, “The boycott was due to the “unhidden bias and campaign of calumny by some key organisers of the programme, against the corporate political interest of the party (APC) and its candidates.”

Here’s a few reasons I gleaned off Twitter at the time and why I think none of them hold any water.

  1. AIT and co are government funded, partisan, pro GEJ, etc.” What is a debate though? Isn’t it men standing behind podiums and talking? How much influence can the partisanship of the medium airing the debate have? Will any of the parties not be allowed to speak? Their microphones will be turned off mid-sentence? What exactly, in a debate that will be aired lived and probably live streamed at the same time? Do we not know that Nigerians, who are suckers for the ‘underdog/victim’ narrative, will naturally gravitate towards whoever seems to be getting a hard time during the debate?
  2. “President Goodluck Jonathan refused to debate in 2011.” This particular excuse amuses me to no end. APC runs on one word, ‘change’, implanting it in the hearts and minds of supporters and opposition alike. Yet, the plan is to walk a path only because someone else walked it four years ago. Really?

And now, three questions of my own.

  1. What is the plan for the Sambo/Osibanjo (vice-presidential candidates for the incumbent and APC respectively) debate, which seems to be the more favorable idea? Will all purportedly partisan media be banned from attending?
  2. Should current and future presidents relinquish control over the Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria so they will truly be independent? That’s an obvious yes, ditto for our electoral commission; real question is would all the presidential candidates honestly be open to doing that?
  3. Why not just pass up on the elections as well, seeing as the Independent National Electoral Commission is government-funded and therefore purportedly/potentially compromised?

Final word. Nigerians have never been this interested in the elections and the one person to whom we will entrust our lives and living for the next four years. Every party deserving of our votes should be raring to go, seeking out every opportunity to reel out their plans to take Nigeria to where we need to be.

Dear handlers, let your candidates debate.

PS – this piece was written in November 2014, but never made it to my blog. The live debate on #RubbinMinds (available here) on the 8th of March was brilliant (both the idea and the event itself), and reminded me about it.

 

PPS – Originally published on Future Challenges.

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!

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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.