Fellow Nigerians: Here is how to win a #NewNigeria or lose this opportunity

In my years of practice as a design thinking consultant, as well as working on campaigns in two elections, I have learned through involvement and interaction with Nigerians across board and background about what is considered ‘pragmatic’, which I’ll share carefully, and I hope you share (and tweet) with candidates vying for positions whether in 2019 or 2023, as well as with parties and party members we know.

In asking the question whether a new Nigeria is possible, this article seeks to frankly state what really defines a #NewNigeria and whether we can get close to this definition in practice. Therefore, let’s proceed.

As a legal mind concerned with lexicons and its effectiveness, a mathematical formula for a New Nigeria is that which combines New Spirits ‘with’ New Brains (i.e. “New Spirits” + “New Brains” = #NewNigeria). New spirits and brains, does not necessarily depict age, it emphasizes a newness of ideas, ideals, and policy vision that is selfless and entirely different from what we have now or had since the almost 20 years of the fourth republic.

Over these years, I have observed that the internal politics of most of the “old order parties”, isn’t largely democratic and the candidates they produce, does not often reflect the needs of the citizens whether for executive or parliamentary office – and here is a gap we new spirits and brains can fill. We need to apply design driven, data guided selections in scouting for candidates with new spirits and brains – persons such as Professor Kingsley Moghalu, Mr. Fela Durotoye, Mr. Adamu Garba, Mr. Donald Duke, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili, Mr. Omoyele Sowore, need to collaborate as one visible force and voice to #TakeBackNigeria, with the mobilization of pressure (some of which are non-partisan) groups such as Nigeria Intervention Movement (The Third Force), Red Card Movement, and perhaps, a more selfless Coalition for New Nigeria. The first stage of this decision needs be reached before May 31, 2018 or else it will be a jamboree of interests ahead of 2019. My suggestion is that the new force and voice field Professor Kingsley Moghalu (for his understanding of the economy and for his relevance at this time as an insider via his work with the Central Bank of Nigeria, after working with the United Nations) or Mr. Donald Duke (a ‘neck-deep’ insider with a record of building a prosperous state), backed up with a Vice Presidential candidate as Mr. Adamu Garba II (the sound 35 year old aspiring for President) or any competent Nigerian from the North. This will disrupt the ‘status quo’ of fielding a Presidential candidate from the North, which is what the APC and PDP would plausibly do and struggle. Yes, Mr. Fela Durotoye is a key mobilizing force ( a true Nigerian spirit with a sense of selfless service), and would be useful as co-Director General (DG) of the campaign (especially for the South West), and as a Minister of Youths or Information in the new Nigeria, whilst running to win the Presidency in future years to come, thus giving him leverage and policy pragmatism. If you look at Macron, he was not just young, he was an insider via his work as Minister of Economy and Finance. In addition to this, it is important to state that credentials are great but a pragmatic message that solves the mess in Nigeria is what is required; to deviate from the old order, Nigeria would appreciate the new brains and new spirits telling them how they’ll tackle Nigeria’s problems today, in a language they understand. That should be the focus after the suggested May alignment.

As regards party platforms, this is a little dicey but here is the observed recommendation. Instead of starting something new, let’s find a way to merge and work with existing platforms such as , Young Progressive Party (one of the new parties with a healthy grassroots and on ground presence and coincidentally the last party on the ballot), Alliance for Democracy (AD), Social Democratic Party (SDP), (both AD and SDP are not strategic for a Western candidate, only strategic for an Eastern or Northern Candidate since they have a regional outlook), Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), Labour Party, Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP), All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) (but not strategic for an Eastern candidate, only for a Western or Northern Candidate since it is regional in outlook), Kowa Party, to mention a few. However, if a holy matrimony wouldn’t work, then a new Party might be inevitable. Most persons doubt whether the regular PDP or APC can deliver new brains and spirits – if this would happen, it would take the Party leadership or a strong man to ensure competent, ethical, and selfless candidates (not necessarily powerful) emerge (but may be rendered ineffective by those who surround her or him). This would have happened with Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo’s weighing in on the late President Yar’Adua becoming President. For APC, asides the failings of PMB, the extension of Chief Oyegun’s tenure (a blunder to secure PMB’s ticket) rules it out, but waiting for PDP to deliver a New Nigeria could be another illusion.

Madness is doing the same things as the old parties and expecting a new Nigeria. If you notice, in the old order parties, at the Presidential level (or any other levels), no debates hold for choosing candidates. Any political party that organizes the media together and holds debates to choose candidates at the party level and broadcast same, will be viewed as transparent and allow for publicity of their party and eventual candidate(s) even before the elections proper. For example, for some of us new brains and spirits running for Parliament (in my case, Federal House of Representatives, Ibadan North), we could largely partner and align efforts with the Presidential aspirants at the grassroots to win together, because what really matters is a common front at the Presidential level. And this is because in Nigeria, Voters’ Intelligence (VI) is low, and voting is largely based on who is running for the executive office at Federal and State, than who becomes parliamentarian. Until we increase our VI, we might as well win or lose together in 2019.

We might never have a new Nigeria, with a President, Vice, or cabinet with new brains, without the input of a Parliament with new brains and spirits. In fact, a parliament at the Federal or State level, with new brains and spirits, can trump the ineffectiveness of an old order Presidency or Governorship. With these strategies as outlined, we will either win or come close to the Presidency, but if not, we can gain half the State and Federal Parliament, and consequently win the Presidency in the future, with support from an in-house team. APC started with winning States, and later Presidency. We can win Parliamentary seats, and later Presidency.

For the electorate, those who sit at home thinking ‘elections will be rigged’, are themselves accomplice to the rigging. In fact, the over 40 million Nigerians who had their PVC in 2015 and decided to sit at home on election day (as against the only approximately 29 million who voted), allowed their PVC to become potential picks and peaks for rigging and bad governance.

For the media, it can play its typical role of informing, entertaining, but can also inspire as well as set a New Nigeria agenda. Many blame the Nigerian media for abandoning its constitutional responsibilities of holding government accountable to the people in favor of seeking patronage from the corridors of power. That is really a problem of ownership and profit as stated by Mr. Edmund Obillo – media practitioners are tied to the apron string of media owners who are loyal to the old order and who want to make profit by all means. Like Channels TV, the owners of traditional media must step up the play at least ahead of elections, whilst they also make profit. Also, we (citizens and media practitioners with great online following) must harness new media to drive the new Nigeria reality. From facts, the importance of traditional media seems declining by half due to proliferation of such channels as well as other alternatives for engagement of citizens, whereas the new media has doubled its influence today than it had in the 2011 elections.

Lastly, on money matters, fund is fundamental to fund any mental thing, but if we get the above right, the rest will fall in line, including funding and donations. There are other salient points I am open to sharing but for confidentiality.

We can learn from George Weah – the journey of a new Nigeria starts with strategic decisions over time. The calling to #TakeBackNigeria must be SSS (sacrificial, strategic, and sound).

Timi Olagunju is a design thinking consultant and a foremost technology lawyer in Nigeria. He can be reached on timithelaw@gmail.com

WINNING BUDGET FOR FEDERAL HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, IBADAN NORTH

A. About the constituency and the vision

Ibadan North is a Federal constituency within the third largest city in Africa, Ibadan. The constituency has a population of over 400, 000 persons, with major intellectual and commercial centres, for example, it houses the first University in Nigeria (University of Ibadan) and the University College Hospital Ibadan. The Ibadan North constituency has 294 polling booths for participants to cast their votes on election day.

For over a decade, the constituency has been under-represented in Parliament. From discussions with residents and observation, there has been no single constituency Town hall and many believe that the current parliamentarians have not properly communicated or empathized with their needs. This particular issue opens up a vista of opportunity for better representation – which is exactly the first reason why I am running for this office. In addition, there is a demand for fresh and young but competent leadership in Nigeria, and my emergence in the political space fits into this narrative. The funds are needed from February, 2018, as campaigning has commenced.

READ: http://presidentialprecinct.org/timi-olagunju-precinct-yali-fellow-enters-house-representatives-race-nigeria/

http://www.democracyspeaks.org/blog/timid-no-more-how-young-nigerian-leading-change-running-office

 

B. Funding Breakdown COST (N)

We require a total sum of N67, 122, 000 in batches to win this election

Pre-election

1. Manpower

a. First Batch (March – April, 2018) – 500 persons for 8 weekends.

At the rate of 2, 000 per outing per day, 8 weeks equals N16, 000. This is multiplied by 500 volunteers which equals a total N8, 000, 000

b. Second Batch (October 27, 2018 – February 16, 2019) – 250 persons for 16 weekends.

At the rate of 2, 000 per outing, 16 weeks equals N16, 000. This is multiplied by 250 volunteers which equals a total N8, 000, 000

2. Townhall for constituents and rallies across 12 wards at 400, 000 per wards N6, 000, 000

3. Campaign Office and Staff (3 staff members):

N100, 000 per staff totaling 300, 000 (3 staff) for 10 months equals N3, 000, 000

N350, 000 for campaign office in Samonda

Totaling N3, 350, 000

4. Party Ticket: N3, 500, 000

5. 10 Campaign Banners, 50, 000 Posters/Fliers, and 5 Billboards in three phases (April, November, and January): N5, 900, 000

6. Media and advertorials close to elections: N3, 500, 000

7. Transportation: 2 campaign vehicles: N3, 600, 000

8. Deploying AI algorithm and Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram campaign every month through March ’18 to February 2019  N2, 900,000

9. Running cost for 11 months: N7, 300, 000

10. Miscellaneous (10% of total): N5, 220, 000

Election

1. Polling booth agents:

294 polling booths – N10, 000 per agent equals N2, 940, 000

2. 4 canvassers per polling booth –  N5, 880, 000

3. Miscellaneous (10% of total) N882, 000

TOTAL N67, 122, 000

Donations can be made to 0029028761 (GTBank) or https://goo.gl/rDiJZE

 

C. Aspirants Expected Income in Office

1. Basic salary: N 1,985,212

2. Annual Allowance: N23, 822, 000

3. Constituency Allowance: N7, 940, 848

Extra Income:

4. Non-regular allowances: Once in Four years = Unsure and undisclosed in public documents but paid in million

 

D. Office

Federal House of Representatives, Ibadan North, Nigeria.

LETTER TO A NIGERIAN VOTER – GIVE THAT RED CARD WITH YOUR STORY

Over the past years, I have had the rare privilege of observing two sides of the leadership pendulum; military leadership and democratic leadership. I remember June 12, 1993, when below our house, I saw people standing on a lengthy queue in front of SDP (Social Democratic Party) to exercise their fundamental human rights to vote. I grew up listening to my grandfather talking about his political life during Awolowo, when he served as Constituency Party Secretary. But like many of my peers, I never really had the opportunities my grandfather had, and never really saw democracy practiced fully for until 1999.

Unlike most kids, I was raised by my mother later in life, and we didn’t have all, but we had love. I remember at age 10, when things were rough and I had to sell ice-cream on the streets of Akoka. I remembered those times when I had to serve as the Ag. Editor of St. Finbarrs’ College editorial board, and as Ag. Library Prefect for a while.

 

Timi Speaking at the Rise Conference Youth Forum in 2010
Timi Speaking on Youth and Governance as an active student leader in 2010

Fast track through the University, I remembered when I ran for Chairman, Nnamdi Azikiwe hall, University of Ibadan, and the first news that came out from the Press was that I was too young to lead the largest undergraduate hostel and consequently provide leadership for the University. In fact, the exact title was “Timi is Timid”. Stereotyping me because of my so called “chronic youth” compared to those who led before me. Despite all that, I emerged in that election winning with a landslide victory, through a campaign of love, and eventually nominated for the UI ‘JCI’ award for outstanding leadership of Halls and Faculties, awarded the Hon. Chris Asoluka Award for Most Politically Productive Student in the University of Ibadan and as well as, the Professor H.O. Nottidge Award for Selfless Leadership, after my tenure.

 

Timi receiving an advocacy award in 2009
An award received from President Barack Obama in 2015

Little did I know that my childhood circumstances, academic training, and leadership engagements, built in me a consciousness and hunger for empathetic leadership. It built in me a passion for advocating institutional opportunities (and security) for the young, the elderly, and vulnerable. This has influenced my work as a lawyer, development practitioner, and leader for 9 years. For me, by gathering the fire of my story within me and boldly working to run for “Federal House of Representatives” (in a money-bag driven polity) in the coming elections (and shaping the conversation), is how I intend to give my bold “RED CARD” to all that isn’t deserving for Nigeria and Nigerians.

But this is not about me, it is also about you. This is your story too – a story though the unknown, the disappointments, and the successes. That story is what the new Nigeria needs – that story is what you need to not only get your PVC, but also join political parties from the ward and local government levels. You might say, well, “politics not me”, but if you are tired about the options political parties throw at us to choose from, especially the major ones, then Join and get more people joining. By the time we all get resourceful people into the leadership at the party levels, then we are one step closer to getting a new leadership for a new Nigeria. The sort of leadership that will do away with colonialist thinking and embrace an African-centric strategic thinking and policies. Interestingly, such leadership will have to come from a critical mass of emerging young leaders starting with you and me. Although, I believe the emerging leaders must come from a blend of the young and the old; mostly from the young, energetic, and innovative. I do not believe in generational shift alone, rather, I believe in generational co-mingling, where the young and old support a new Nigeria through innovation and experience respectively.

 

Barr. Timi on NBC in the United States representing young African leaders in 2015
Barr.Timi with Tom Periello (Governorship Aspirant, Virginia USA) in 2015
Barr.Timi with Aliko Dangote endorsing his third book “YES AFRICA CAN” at the Obama Summit Chicago 2017

The leadership we had after independence did not engage our colonialist programming and process of development; whether in politics, education, or even as little as it sounds ‘our formal clothings’. For example, imagine the economic and creative benefit to the fashion industry in Nigeria, if after independence, Nigeria had abolished the mundane wearing of suits and tie (in a sunny weather) inherited from the colonialist, and embraced traditional Nigerian attires, as part of the official and corporate clothing? Further imagine the economic benefits of re-designing our education, our style of government, and our laws.

Therefore, if you desire a new Nigeria, give a “RED CARD” by getting involved and supporting those getting involved. Let the story of suffering, pain, discrimination push you! For Nigerians in the diaspora, why not find ways to support us against the money bags. Our collective resources can trump and triumph over their ill-gotten resources in the coming elections. You can support and make donations to my electoral campaign on votetimi.com/donate and let’s make it happen together.

Thank you, your Excellencies; the office of the Citizen, for reading and sharing.

The actual cost of Free Basics in Nigeria

Recently, I was reading a book Predictably Irrational by one of my favorite Professors of behavioral psychology in Stanford University, Professor Dan Ariely, where he discussed extensively on the irresistible power and the latent cost of “free”. As I was reading through the pages of his book, then came the announcement that Mr. Zuckerberg was launching “Free Basics” in Nigeria. My first instinct was “great, but how free is this free?”. I further asked “could this be a Greek gift, or a free gift for Nigeria?” (more…)

Executive Orders will affect tech-enabled businesses

Exercising presidential authority, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, signed three executive orders last Thursday. Quickly, executive orders are issued by the Nigerian President and directed towards officers and agencies of the federal government. The three executive orders signed by the Acting President are:

  1. The promotion of transparency and efficiency in the business environment, set to facilitate ease of doing business in Nigeria;
  2. Support for local content in public procurement by the government;
  3. Timely submission of annual budgetary estimates by all statutory and non-statutory agencies”.

However, of the three, the one I will be considering in this context is that which concerns the promotion of transparency and efficiency in the business environment, aimed at facilitating ease of doing business in Nigeria.

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Legal agreement to protect Startups and Founders

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Launching a Startup? Here’s how to attract and retain your first users

I have had startups across Nigeria, Kenya, and Ghana, and clients who consult with SME Growth Hub, especially technology startups, ask the same ageless question;  “how do we get our first line of users for our platform?” This had me gathering some research, which I’ll freely share with you.

I am writing to help startups in Nigeria, and anywhere else, with developing the frame of mind and strategic thinking for finding the first users and consolidating on them. This write-up is centred around five successful startups — Konga, Jumia, Uber (which recently moved into Nigeria and Ghana), Airbnb (also doing business in Nigeria), and Jobberman. It’s possible you are familiar with Konga, Uber, Jobberman, and Jumia, how about Airbnb? Quickly, Airbnb is an online community marketplace that connects people looking to rent their homes with people who are looking for accommodation. Airbnb users include hosts and travellers: hosts list and rent out their unused spaces within their homes, and travellers search for and book affordable accommodation, rather than hotels.

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Prioritise data protection over building a biometric vehicle database

Yesterday evening, sitting at my office (cross-legged), and relaxing from finishing a client’s job, I stumbled on a brilliant article by Victor Ewealor on Techpoint.ng titled “The Nigerian Government is building a database of vehicle owners; it is not looking promising”, and this got me thinking and then writing. I found myself asking a few questions (plain random thoughts!), which I would share with you.

Misplaced priorities and lip service

Firstly, why would the Nigerian Government consider it an urgent need for the Nigerian police to have the “biometric” data of vehicle owners? The same Nigerian Police whose major problems include (but are not limited to) bribery and corruption (wish there was a technology deployed to make police officers honest)? Well, maybe this is another means to increase government revenue through tracking down vehicle owners I thought. But again, how does this meet the local security need based on facts and figures peculiar to Nigeria? Why contract this task of getting the ‘biometric’ data of vehicle owners in Nigeria to a foreign company, leaving out indigenous companies with same capacities and a deeper understanding of the local context of use – where is the lip service towards local content development?

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