Adesina Tosin Nathaniel is an emerging analyst who probes into many of the socio-political contradictions that daily plague Nigeria and indeed the Blackman. He agitates for the younger generation to be trusted with greater responsibilities in nation building. In this interview with AKILANI ABDULAHI, he speaks on those issues that daily confront Nigerians and the way out for a better Nigeria; Excerpst:
Citing Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi, who is the youngest among Nigerian league of governors, would you say he has really lived up to expectations as a reference point for the advancement of the Not Too Young to Run Bill?
Let me start by saying I’m not a fan of the Not Too Young to Run Bill. Not because the bill is not good but because leadership actually has little or nothing to do with age. It’s about the ability of the occupant of the position to deliver which is simple and straightforward. Back to your question Governor Bello should have been a shining light and focal point among Nigerian Governors because of his age. Luck smiled on him at a time he has been forgotten but he has not lived up to expectations. The most important role of government is security of lives and properties however the level of Insecurity in Kogi is an endorsement of the poor delivery of the Governor, the recently concluded general elections witnessed a free for all in Kogi. Lots of people were detained, properties were destroyed the Senatorial candidate of the SDP for Kogi Central, Natasha Akpoti was majorly at the receiving end of these electoral violence which Bello should take responsibility for as the chief security officer of the state. Payment of salaries? Kogi is one of the worst state in the country in that aspect. The November 2018 Salary was just paid few days after we entered the month of April. Taking this major social services that have direct impact on the life of the citizens into consideration, he has not done well to make the Not Too Young to Run Bill attractive.
With the prevalence of get rich quick attitude of youths in this century, do you think they are really ready to take the mantle of leadership?
I’m worried same way you are. The prevalent poverty in the country which successive administration have failed to adequately address has affected the crop of individuals we have as leaders and further fueled the get rich quick syndrome. Let me give you a relatable example. When the likes of Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Late MKO Abiola joined politics, they did it as means of giving back to the society because they have established themselves in their respective field but today you see an individual whose only “occupation” is politics because he believes that is the best way to stay out of poverty and for those who can’t make it into politics they resort to cybercrime, rituals among others. How do you expect these individuals to take over the mantle of leadership? Even if they do what will they offer? Taking over the mantle of leadership will happen because the existing occupants can’t play the game forever but I’m worried about their ability to deliver. What we will have are huge numbers of square pegs in round holes whereby a former drug lord will emerge as the state Governor and a retired yahoo boy as Senator because they have the resources to prosecute an election while the capable hands won’t even have the resources to start the process. If our value system of Hardwork and building a career is not entrenched, the present crop of youths might not deliver.
In your estimation, how well will you say social media engagements impacted the 2019 general elections?
Social media played two huge roles in the 2019 election. Information dissemination and perception management. The high internet rate penetration in the country has also led to the increase in the huge number of Nigerians with internet enabled phones as a result it was very easy for Nigerians to get information about the electoral process, the electoral promises of different parties and also helped in creating a good perception for some of the candidates. It is noteworthy that majority of electoral violence perpetrated during the election could not be hidden as pictures and videos were posted online in real time even INEC encouraged Nigerians to take pictures and videos and tag them on Facebook and Twitter so It played a huge role even till the point of election collation as results from polling units were readily available online with the signed results sheets thereby making rigging impossible in some places. Social media played a good role in the election.
What’s your view on the impact of ICT on Political campaigns?
This is the tech age and it is expected that a lot of things we do will be technology infused. The advent of ICT had a lot of impact on the political campaigns as candidates were able to sell themselves to the electorates online, send their manifestoes through the social media, emails and other technological communication system so ICT actually opened up the political space more than it used to be. It also helped in revealing the dark side of some unscrupulous politicians who were later rejected at the polls as expected. It will continue to expand further with further internet penetration.
You were recently selected as one of the 3,050 entrepreneurs drawn from 54 African countries to join the 5thcycle of the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s $100Million entrepreneurship Programme, what should Nigerian expect.
My TEF selection actually came as a surprise. Even though I loved competition I was skeptical when I discovered 216,000 individuals applied across Africa but on the other hand I knew I will make it due to the innovation I’m bringing to the security sector of the economy and I am glad TEF actually found it worthy to fund my startup company Secured Parking Nigeria which is Nigeria’s First Tech Car Park Security Company. Now registered with the CAC, Secured Parking aims to provide security for car parks in Nigeria thereby eliminating vandalism and theft of vehicles. Infusing modern technology safety measures into our operations, we eliminate this risk to 99.9% efficiency, have accurate data of vehicles at car parks, unique ownership identification system and a tracking system to curb theft.Taking into consideration that security is human intensive, we will do a lot as a company to play our part in reducing unemployment in the country so Nigerians should watch out for Secured Parking as they will no longer park their vehicles at owner’s risk.
As conflict is inevitable in human existence, can we eradicate poverty in Nigeria?
Poverty eradication is actually a tall dream. What we can do is to reduce it to the barest minimum. A country like Nigeria with high growth rate in population will always have poverty to deal with. It is advisable that we slow down on our birth rate. We can start by adopting one child per family plan like what happened in China. We should also do a lot of low technology manufacturing for poorer African nations this will help in generating employment for people. Also, the government can adopt the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship system. We have a lot of Entrepreneurs that are stucked today but with better funding they are ready to fly. TEF will be giving its entrepreneurs $5000 that’s 1.5 Million Naira when converted with the CBN 305 rate and they picked just 416 Nigerians government can support TEF with funding to increase the number of beneficiaries from Nigeria because government cannot employ everyone. With this among other system, we can beat poverty to its barest minimum.
Do you see the ruling All Progressives Congress succeeding with its choice of leadership in the ninth National Assembly as against what was obtainable in the Senator Bukola Saraki-led 8thAssembly?
I don’t see it happening. Just as it happens in the 8th Senate, the APC have the number but they lack the required unity to achieve their aims. The party have endorsed Senator Lawan and Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila for Senate President and Speaker respectively yet several elected legislators from both chambers are contending with the party decision by launching their respective ambition. What this means is that the necessary unity in the party is missing so I see a repeat of the Saraki and Dogara debacle if the party did not step in quickly.