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Politics

Snapshot - For The Future

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Snapshot - For The Future

Snapshots: Because a picture is worth a thousand words

Moderating a Q&A session alongside Stanley Azuakola with the then Lagos State Governorship Candidate (now Governor) Akinwunmi Ambode - Aug 2014

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The Weight of Hope and Expectations

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The Weight of Hope and Expectations

It's not a bad thing for one person to expect something from another. That's just the way life goes. But I've often felt the weight of what I think are unrealistic expectations; from friends, family, bosses/co-workers, and of course, society.

That's why I wonder how the crop of new governors, senators, representatives, and of course, the new President & VP, must be feeling. Just a few days into their administration, people, already deeply disappointed with some of their predecessors, are putting all their hopes on the new (well, new in some places, a continuation in others) guys in charge.

In Lagos, the people who loved former Governor Babatunde Fashola are hoping Governor Akinwunmi Ambode is up to the challenge. Promises of a N25bn intervention fund and new ministries to increase foreign investment into Lagos, among other duties have been made. People in areas they feel Fashola ignored are expecting Ambode to "pick up the slack." 

And in Rivers State, where there's been so much violence and controversy, some who say former Governor Rotimi Amaechi was charismatic but non-performing are undoubtedly hoping Governor Nyesom Wike will do a lot better, starting with sorting out the confusion/controversy with the state judiciary and civil service.

But the biggest hopes and highest expectations have been placed upon President Muhammadu Buhari. Those who believed in him and voted for him want an end to the crippling poverty in Nigeria, the extinction of Boko Haram, a solution to this awful fuel scarcity we've been living through, assistance for the internally displaced, constant electricity, better infrastructure, overhauling education, healthcare and several other sectors, ending corruption, reducing our reliance on oil, making sure our refineries are overhauled and local industries are supported, improving the environment for the private sector and of course, the SMEs....and he hasn't even been in power a week!

With all these issues and many more besides, the hopes and expectations of 180 million people rest upon this one man and his team; a team we expect will be made up of smart, young(er), fresher minds than what we had before; minds that aren't there to take up space and steal the country's riches while spewing platitudes. Minds that will look at how their decisions will affect you and I, as well as people living in abject poverty. Minds that are able to make the right choice for us all, not choices that will benefit the barons, cabals and other "big men/women."

If change is really here, then I hope the new school of change-makers (including us, as citizens, willing to speak up and insist on holding each other and our leaders, accountable) is ready to shoulder the weight. Good luck (no pun intended) and Godspeed to all the new reps, senators, governors, and above all, President Buhari. We expect you to do what you've said you will do. Many of us, including citizen-run platforms like @BudGitNG and @Buharimeter are tracking you. Please don't let us down.

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#NigeriaDecides - My day at the polls

And finally the day of Nigeria's Presidential and National Assembly elections came. As expected, there were a number of complications throughout the day. From malfunctioning card readers, electoral officials showing up hours late (in my area, they didn't show up until about 11am, but in other areas, some allegedly didn't get to their Polling Units till 2pm or later), to voting materials (ballot papers) not being released, it was definitely a confusing day for some. However, other areas recorded a smoother process, even though it was still slow.

Here are some of my tweets and a short clip from my #VotingDiaries as #NigeriaDecides

If nothing else, today was an exercise in resilience, perseverance and national pride. Despite the challenges and the frustration they caused, I saw and heard reports of people waiting all day to make sure their votes were cast, and for those (like me) whose voting has been postponed until tomorrow, many are going the extra mile to protect their votes and ensure the process goes smoothly tomorrow.

I'm hopeful that this is growth in the people's consciousness, and that there will be a positive movement out of all this, no matter the winners.

 

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Presidential Panel: Promos & Air-date!

As you guys know, we had a panel session with Nigeria's president a while ago.

We asked several questions on many issues, and the interview will air on Wednesday, 11 March, 2015 at 10pm WAT on EbonyLife TV, Channel 165  on DSTV.

Check out some snippets: I asked the President about the alleged Financial Mismanagement in his administration. 

And here he is talking about the business of Politics and how it can affect a good name.

And of course,  he had something to say about a further postponement of the Elections:

He definitely had a lot to say. Will you be listening?

 

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A Presidential Panel: Meeting GEJ

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A Presidential Panel: Meeting GEJ

I know I'm not the only one weary of almost everything Elections-related, especially as here in Nigeria, the big events were postponed another 6 weeks, bringing about another storm of mistrust, anger, and of course, frustration.

For me, it was partly a blessing in disguise, because it meant I was able to interview the President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, and find out a bit more about what he plans to do in the now 3-4 weeks left, if this was just a ploy to somehow extend his current term, talk about his achievements as well as discussing previous promises many don't believe have been fulfilled.

So, last week, off I went to Abuja with a group of colleagues for a panel discussion with the President at his home. It was my second time there, but my first in the less official area. We got to see the gardens, complete with a mini-zoo, walked through the villa and ended up in a small banquet hall, which he uses to entertain fellow presidents/heads of states/leaders. It's definitely a very impressive place, as I'm sure most Presidential Residences are.

We asked him questions ranging from the perceived mismanagement of the economy, to the potential of an interim government, to his favorite dish and what he values most in his personal life. We got some very surprising answers (and another less serious invitation), which will air soon on EbonyLife TV. Of course, I'll keep you posted on air dates, and share any clips once they've been uploaded.

Now, personal politics aside, I'm proud of the fact that I've interviewed a sitting president, a presidential candidate, and a governorship candidate in my state, all in the space of a few months. Ticked off a few things on my "Hey, I'm a Journalist" bucket list!

What are your thoughts? Are you over the whole Election thing? Will you tune in, or is your mind already made up?

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Video: Panel with Presidential Candidate Buhari

And here we go If you didn't catch this on EbonyLife TV or aren't in one of our broadcast countries, here's the panel discussion with APC Presidential Candidate Muhammadu Buhari, which I moderated. 

Over 50,000 views on Facebook! Please let me know what you think!!


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Where the women are

I'm inspired daily by fabulous women doing interesting thing, from Lupita Nyongo, who has parlayed one role into a massive empire, with hopefully more to go, to  Ava Duvernay, whose work as a filmmaker leaves me in awe (can't wait to see "Selma"), to Uzo Aduba and Danai Gurira, both of whom are making their mark as working actresses in an industry far from "home". 

Speaking of home, young ladies like talented South African media personality and entrepreneur Bonang Matheba, to talented writer and smart Kenyan lady Mwende Ngao, to Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie are also making a great mark in their worlds, inspiring many of us, older and younger, to shoot for the stars.

In advocacy and policy-making, we're also trying to make sure we have a seat at the table. Rwanda is admirable, with it's determination to make sure AT LEAST 30% of all political roles are filled by women. At the moment, almost 60% of the parliament members are women. It's an example so many countries use to try and encourage a more inclusive political atmosphere.

Until that happens, I celebrate all the women who have pulled up their chairs, rolled up their sleeves and gotten to work, especially in Nigeria, where, by virtue of culture, so many of us are relegated before we even start. 

Abike Dabiri (House of Reps member), Omobola Johnson (Minister for ICT), Oby Ezekwesili (Former Minister of Education, former World Bank VP, Advocate for "Bring Back Our girls"), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Minister of Finance), Dorothy Akunyili (Former NAFDAC DG, Former Minister of Communication), Diezani Madueke (1st female OPEC President), and many more have a seat at the table.

We may not always agree on their methods, the manner in which we think they got there, or how they discharge they duties, but the fact is, they're in a position of considerable power, and being there is better than not showing up at all. 

Today I celebrate all of the people working hard to make sure ALL our voices are heard, not just the women, but also the men who work with us, for us, and support us.

Share which African women make you proud, in any realm, in any way. Celebrate women everyday. As the James Brown song says: this may be "A man's world, but it would be nothing without a woman or a girl"

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The trouble with voting...

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The trouble with voting...

I've got my Permanent Voters Card. So I can vote. I was the last in line at 4pm on a Monday afternoon, and I left behind people who were frustrated because their cards had not been found, as the INEC staff vented their frustrations about not having materials, not having time, and not being paid.

At the end of the day, I got my Voters Card. That doesn't sound so difficult, right? Unfortunately, millions of people are confused, uninformed, misinformed, or exasperated about/with the process. From workers not being equipped properly to electoral staff/ad-hoc workers not showing up at all, to delays in disbursing the voters cards, there are real, valid fears that millions will be disenfranchised, and come February 2015, a major chunk of eligible voters won't be able to vote.

In a system causing more frustration and confusion than anything else, many can't help but wonder what's going to happen when the time comes to vote in another set (or the same set) of people to lead a country rife with problems too complicated to delve into.

Read more here: http://businessdayonline.com/2014/11/inec-pvcs-the-missing-millions-in-lagos-kano-kaduna-rivers/

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