Saturday 24 November 2018


'This is a Summit that overthrows that sense that we are stuck in a place of permanence of bad behaviour, failure, mediocrity, incompetence and the lack of capacity to work for the common good. A new Nigeria is possible' - Dr. Oby Ezekwesili

The Summit Of The Alternatives (SOTA), was held in Abuja, November 2018. It was chaired by Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, former Minister of Education, Co-Convener Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) Movement & Convener Red Card Movement (RCM) NG. The Summit called for an alternative to Nigeria's current political class. I was there live! SOTA was co-sponsored by Centre for Democracy & Development (CDD), Nigeria First, Enough Is Enough, BudgIT, YIAGA Africa and the Red Card Movement (RCM).

Some of the speakers are:

*Prof. Patrick Lumumba - Advocate of the Supreme Court of Kenya/Keynote Speaker
*Prof. Bayo Olukoshi - Regional Director, Institute for Democracy & Electoral Assistance/Special Guest Speaker
*Emeka Okoye - Software Engineer
*Don Pedro Okogie - Artiste & Music Producer
*Segun Onigbinde - Co-founder/CEO BudgIT
*Fela Durotoye - Presidential Candidate
*Dr. Kingsley Moghalu - Presidential Candidate
*Omoyele Sowore - Presidential Candidate
*Dr. Sarah Jibril - Former Presidential Candidate

                      Photo above: Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa @the venue of the Summit

In her opening remarks, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili said 'This is a Summit that challenges the apparent norm that for us as a society, good has become evil while evil has become good. This Summit challenges the conventional wisdom that leadership is not for service but for self '. Oby continued 'It is a Summit that says no longer shall we allow ourselves to be led by the worst among us while the rest of us seat on the margins, murmuring and complaining'.

In his keynote address, Prof. Patrick Lumumba reiterated that 'The only thing that continues to hold Nigeria down are the political elite who have to liberate themselves from the politics of ethnicity and recognise that political leadership is a position of trusteeship. They ought to recognise that when they lead Nigeria, they are also leading Africa. Nigeria's leadership is the missing link in Africa's greatness. Nigeria should fix her healthcare, education, housing, etc. systems...'

Prof. Adebayo Olukoshi was enthralled by Aisha Yesufu's rendition of her spontaneous spoken word/poem tagged 'Once Upon A Time'. She envisages a new Nigeria where if she tells her grand-children that once upon a time in Nigeria, terrorists killed/kidnapped schoolgirls with careless abandon, stolen money by politically exposed persons was laundered across our borders, there was vote rigging/buying/selling, no good roads/hospitals/schools/markets, graduates had no jobs, etc her grand-kids would simply say: 'Grandma, you are lying'. This is because a new and better Nigeria would have been birthed in line with the vision of SOTA and her grand-kids would have no idea what she's talking about!

Olukoshi continued thus: 'No one in the world owes us a living, we have to wake up ourselves. When the citizens are deprived of basic necessities like security, food, shelter, decent jobs, electricity, adequate infrastructure, etc. then they are robbed of their dignity. Such dignity must be restored through effective and efficient leadership!

Each discussant during the panel discussion painted a picture of the Nigeria of their dream. We all look forward to a nation-state/country the average Nigerian would be proud of. SOTA is in the process of planning 'Next Steps' as a follow up to the first Summit, where various themes touched on would be analysed in greater detail with concrete action as back up...         

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Everyone should paint the picture of the NIGERIA OF THEIR DREAMS .... and then, the trick will be to live your life is such a way that you contribute to realising the dream you have painted. More difficult than it seems.
Robin Edward Poulton aka Macky TALL