*To re-engineer leadership selection process in Nigeria
It’s 28 years since the annulment of June 12,1993 presidential election won by business mogul, Moshood Kashimawo Olawale, MKO, Abiola but the spirit of the struggle is alive, as Kola Abiola, son of the democracy martyr, yesterday in Abuja launched an app to re-engineer leadership selection process in the country.
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, Kola is bent on walking the whole distance to ensure that the evils of 1993 do not rear their ugly heads in the nation’s polity again.
This was Kola’s submission at the Shehu Musa Yar’ Adua Centre, Abuja, as youths, activists and civil society organizations gathered to pay homage to a man whose supreme sacrifice succeeded in chasing the military back to their barracks.
Welcoming guests to the event put together by the Advocacy for One Nigeria Initiative, Kola decried what he called the sorry state of affairs in Nigeria, fuelled by its faulty recruitment process, which in his words, has lingered on for years.
Speaking on the theme: ‘’This thing called democracy,” Kola saluted the memories of Abiola, his business and political associate, General Musa Yar’ Adua, lamenting that their dream for one indivisible Nigeria was still being pursued decades after their demise.
He said: “Today is an emotional day for me. I want to give honour to my late dad, Chief M.K.O. Abiola, GCFR, Gen. Yar’Adua, GCON and many more that have passed on in the name of democracy.
“I have travelled all over Nigeria since 1978. I have been to every corner of Nigeria, either by road or by air, and I see everywhere as home. I walk everywhere and I am safe. So why do we want to see this end?”
Kola on the occasion, launched an awareness application, Tribe Naija, a mobilization tool aimed at rallying young Nigerians on the imperative of getting their choice of the President and other elective office holders right in 2023 and beyond.
Available on Google play store and IOS windows, the well designed app may as well redefine the outcome of the next election, given its interactive attributes and content mileage.
On the rationale for the development of the app, eldest son of Abiola, Kola said: “I think what I am trying to do has started. We are a group that need to think outside the box.
“When I say we have to think out of the box, we are still thinking along with the same political structure we inherited since independence. This has to change.
“What we have is a system that throws up two candidates, not of our choice. Then we get to pick the best of the worst.
“What I am hoping we will do with this platform is to mobilize a lot of us to disrupt the process. It is all about disrupting this (old) process.
“What do I mean to disrupt something? We are in the age of disruption; we have to put that to use for the betterment of this country.
“Can we imagine what bringing 51 per cent (youth voting population) together on this platform can do? Can you imagine having 51 per cent of the voting population on a platform? All you need to do is to use that platform to begin to get organically grown leadership on that platform.
“We have the thumbs up and thumbs down. We have an algorithm that allows you to identify participation and quality of content. These are the crop of people that we need to raise now.
“Let us not make a mistake about the system. There is no system. We have inherited a system and is time we turn that system on its head. The system just throws up what they want us to have and we have to pick from what they throw up for us to vote for.
“We will change that on this platform because our numbers will count and we will have a say. You will know exactly the numbers we have at ward, local and state basis through this platform. I am committed to making that happen,” he submitted.
Kola also picked holes in the current delegate model of election, saying: “The biggest fraud in the system is what is called delegates election. It is a system that gives us candidate that is not of our choice.
”But when you have your troops who nominated you on the platform, can you see the difference it will make? So don’t continue to rely on that system, we need to create a system that gives you a direct say and makes a difference. With this system, you will know exactly where your numbers are.”
He recalled his relationship with the late Tafida Katsina this way: “Late General Yar’ Adua always says, Kola you must know what you have. And one thing he always tells me is that the only authority you have to challenge the government is a party.
‘’Any other thing you do on the street is illegal. So the party is the only authority and the party comes from numbers. Let us speak to one another, irrespective of our religions. Let us speak to one another irrespective of our backgrounds,” he stressed.
He dismissed speculations that he was being prepared to take a shot at partisan politics in 2023, noting that he was only interested in one united Nigeria where differences in tongues and faith would count for strength rather than weakness..
“Shehu Yar’adua started People’s Front, PF. Did he end up being the President of this country? My father came in on the same platform, did he end up ruling this country? It’s not about whether you are running for something or you want an office, no. I come from a family that is a pioneer in what we do. We raise the unknown, and make them known. We are trying to raise leaders on this platform.
”The names you hear in your profession today, there is hardly anybody who hasn’t gone through Concord (Newspapers). When they were at Concord, did anybody know them? No.
“And that is what we are all about, is not about me. It is about making sure we make a difference in this country and we keep this country united.
“You see, the problem we have in Nigeria is that everything has to be a means to an end. But there cannot be a means to an end if we don’t have a country first and foremost. So, I want to unite us. That is my purpose.
“My father didn’t run for Presidency of a divided Nigeria. Yar’ Adua didn’t start this thing for a divided Nigeria. I don’t want to see a divided Nigeria because I don’t know any other place than Nigeria,” he insisted.
He further thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for recognizing MKO Abiola and confirming on him the prestigious Grand Commander of the Federal Republic, GCFR, saying the feat took him 22 years to attain.
Kola, however, left enough room for more speculations when he vowed to finish the job his father started before death came calling.