The topic of this text was imposed on me by TASCK Artistic Firm Restricted, who had been the organisers of the Ignite Convention 2021 which happened in Lagos on 17 November, 2021. Led by MI Abaga, the musician/rapper/entertainer, TASCK has, over the previous few years, actively tried to mobilise influential voices within the Artistic Sector to drive actions to advertise civic engagement, together with campaigns and music excursions to encourage the youth to vote and actively use their voices and platforms for change. In response to TASCK, they took the learnings from earlier conferences, different interactions and the EndSars Protests in October, 2020 and deployed all these to create the IGNITE platform.
I have no idea what knowledgeable TASCK to ask me to be the Keynote Speaker at their 2021 IGNITE Convention. Nonetheless, I accepted the invitation as a result of I admired what they had been making an attempt to do, which was to be a “pressure for good”. In any case, it dovetailed properly with the work of Anap Basis, which I based in 2003, and which has just one declared goal/mission as proven on our web site (www.anapfoundation.com); TO PROMOTE GOOD GOVERNANCE.
I’m an economist and an funding banker by coaching and an entrepreneur by alternative and so I perceive that it’s unimaginable to separate economics from politics. Certainly, in most nations the place the economic system is under-performing considerably (together with Nigeria), nothing may change considerably for so long as politics continues to be allowed to trump economics. To maneuver the needle considerably in Nigeria, you want extra educated leaders in addition to a extra discerning voters. An ignorant and hungry voters can provide politicians a licence to do no matter they need with the economic system, offered they pay every voter a bit amount of cash to safe their votes as soon as in 4 years. Such an association can go on in perpetuity, if the extra educated voters get disillusioned and choose out of the electoral course of.
Demography is essential and in Nigeria’s case, 53.9% of our inhabitants are aged 19 and under, while 95.2% of the inhabitants are aged 59 and under. A corollary of this proposition is that 4.8% of the inhabitants are aged 60 and above. When youths complain that outdated politicians proceed to dominate high political appointments, I remind them that it’s for the 95.2% to stand up, organise themselves and kick out the oppressive 4.8%. The excellent news is that there are even some converts inside the 4.8%, who will gladly work with the 95.2% to kick out the outdated “failed” politicians.
No one goes to come back from Mars, Jupiter, Australia, the UK, USA or France to enhance Nigeria. That mentioned, I sympathise with our residents who’re looking for greener pastures in Canada and some different wealthy nations that can soak up a smattering of Nigerians on selective standards; often to speed up the mind drain from Nigeria. The actual fact nevertheless is that, with a inhabitants of 200 million (of which at the very least 100 million are under the poverty line), Nigerians are far too many to be absorbed by the remainder of the world. Whether or not we prefer it or not, it would stay the accountability of educated, expert and patriotic Nigerians (at residence and overseas) to enhance the nation and the plight of our impoverished citizenry. Shirking that accountability doesn’t come so simply to a few of us who’ve had Nigeria embedded in our DNA from childhood. I’ve personally not discovered that nation that I want to to migrate to – and I’ve travelled by means of the entire 5 main continents in addition to Australia.
A really worrying development in Nigeria is the falling voter turnout, which invariably is a measure of voter apathy. Voter turnout as a proportion of complete registered voters, climbed from 52.26% in 1999 to 69.08% in 2003, however then it has been dropping ever since; 57.49% in 2007, 53.68% in 2011, 43.65% in 2015 and 34.75% in 2019. Even when we settle for that a number of the earlier percentages had been closely inflated, the downward development is actual. Anap Basis has commissioned opinion polls a number of occasions throughout the nation since 2010 and people polls additionally verify elevated voter apathy. We hit ROCK BOTTOM (up to now) within the Anambra Governorship elections of November 2021, the place complete variety of legitimate votes solid was marginally under 10% of registered voters. Certainly, Professor Charles Soludo received that election by securing solely 112,229 votes out of two,466,638 registered voters i.e. 4.5% of the registered voters solely. Don’t misread this to imply that I’m sad for him. I heartily congratulate him on his essential victory, however I’m merely stating the details as regards the very low voter turnout.
All around the nation, it has virtually change into trendy for the educated younger voter (18+ and above) to brag that she or he has no intention of registering to vote or voting or each. This was my definition of ROCK BOTTOM on the Ignite Convention.
The most well-liked causes, which educated youths give for opting out, are: 1) the votes is not going to depend anyway; and a pair of) the candidates are uninspiring. I want to remind these youths that, over 2,000 years in the past, Socrates famously mentioned: “One of many penalties for refusing to take part in politics is that you find yourself being ruled by your inferiors.”
Three essential and vital issues occurred this month: 1) The Federal Govt Council permitted the Nationwide Improvement Plan 2021-25, in respect of which I used to be the Non-public Sector Co-Chair of the Nationwide Steering Committee for the Plan (alongside the Finance Minister who was the Public Sector Co-Chair); 2) Anambra Governorship Election outcomes confirmed a brand new low by way of voter apathy (precise turnout of registered voters was solely 10% approx); and three) The Judicial Panel for the EndSARS Protests/Lekki Tollgate Capturing accomplished its report and a few of its key findings turned public data.
On the face of it, 1), 2) and three) above are completely unconnected, however in actuality they’re interwoven.
Atedo N A Peterside CON is the president & founding father of Anap Basis and the founding father of Stanbic IBTC Financial institution Plc.
I identified throughout an Come up TV interview final week that the findings of the Judicial Panel and the following WHITE PAPER are essential as a result of they inform the world whether or not we’re constructing a society on JUSTICE and the TRUTH or whether or not we’ve got chosen a path of INJUSTICE and LIES. I additionally identified on an NTA TV Panel final week that the Nationwide Improvement Plan 2021-25 will solely succeed if there’s a dose of political activism that can maintain the “toes of politicians to the hearth” and “pressure” them to implement the correct insurance policies plus uphold reality and justice. If we don’t do that, the projected N348 trillion personal sector financing (86% of the projected financing want for the Plan) could not materialise. Non-public capital will search a house the place it feels extra snug or the place the danger/reward equation is extra attention-grabbing.
The three tiers of Authorities between them are anticipated to contribute lower than 15% of the projected financing for the Plan – reaching which may sound like a stretch as a result of complete Nigerian Authorities income as a share of GDP is at present solely 7% approx (among the many lowest on the earth). In reality that 7% determine can rise to fifteen%, however provided that we considerably eradicate wastage and income leakages in addition to pressure many Authorities businesses to restrict their prices/overheads to not more than 50% of the income that they obtain or elevate, as really useful by the Plan. The political will to do all this may solely be discovered, partly, by means of the injection of a proper dose of political activism. In the meantime, the Anambra election end result tells us that, as an alternative of elevated political activism, we’ve got entered a brand new period of heightened voter apathy and mass disillusionment amongst educated youths.
To discover a manner again up, after hitting all-time low, we should reinvigorate our educated youths. We should convey again a big quantity of discerning younger educated voters into the political equation as a result of it’s their energetic presence and participation that can inject the required dose of political activism that can pressure politicians to get critical and in addition convey out a brand new sort of politician that may win an election on the again of harnessing the votes of educated youths.
The construction of the Nigerian economic system is altering. By far the quickest rising sector of our economic system in 2020 was the ICT sector, which grew at 12.6%. Nigeria can be quick turning into a worldwide “delicate energy” on account of the successes of our Creatives who excel in Music, Movie, Artwork, and Style and so forth. These are all newer actions that grew immensely within the twenty first Century and they’re sectors that aren’t nicely understood by outdated fuddy duddies. For these new sectors to thrive (and they’re pushed largely by the youth) it is going to be a giant mistake for the youths to depart the financial administration and political area to historical mariners who nonetheless suppose that the economic system is barely about agriculture, manufacturing and fossil fuels.
For many who proceed to argue that the 2023 elections will not be the precedence, since you favour a brand new Structure and/or restructuring or certainly you favour a separatist agenda, my recommendation is that, while agitating for these issues, you must also go forward and elect, in 2023, individuals who share your agenda to signify you in your Native Authorities, State Home of Meeting, Home of Representatives, Senate and so forth. I nonetheless don’t perceive how surrendering all of these positions, plus Governor and President, to your opponents constitutes your only option. How does empowering your “enemy” to signify you enhance your place? Is that mindset not akin to intentionally scoring an personal objective in opposition to your self in a soccer match, while nonetheless hoping to beat your opponent?
Anap Basis is now working onerous with chosen influencers from throughout the nation and the diaspora to try to convey again or herald many extra younger voters. That is the raison d’etre for our choice to launch the #GoNigeria Initiative final week which goals to encourage youths aged 18+ to register en-masse now and accumulate their voters playing cards nicely BEFORE the 30 June, 2022 deadline for registration in order that even the indignant youths can correctly channel their anger in direction of the 2023 elections. Our problem to the youths who’ve already registered is that they need to undertake to persuade a minimal of 4 different youths to do the identical as a result of 1 + 4 = 5. If our youths reply positively and have interaction politically as an alternative of withdrawing, we will in a short time flip this ship round and create the Nigeria that they want and deserve.
Atedo N A Peterside CON is the President & Founding father of Anap Basis and the Founding father of Stanbic IBTC Financial institution PLC