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June 12: We need to ‘disrupt’ Nigeria’s political system – Kola Abiola

Scion of the famed MKO Abiola dynasty, Mr Kola Abiola, has expressed dissatisfaction with the current political system in Nigeria and has advocated the need to “disrupt” it using technology and the strength of the large youthful population in the country.


Abiola spoke at a symposium to commemorate June 12 as Democracy Day and national holidays in Nigeria.


The event also featured the launch of a wholly Nigeria owned social media app called Tribe Naija, which is targeted at young Nigerians. The proposed disruption, he said, would enable young Nigerians to create a new and more transparent political system where there would be no repeat of the June 12, 1993 saga.


He lamented that the brand of democracy currently in operation in Nigeria was not what his father, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, Gen Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and other martyrs of democracy fought and died for in the 1990s. He argued that the current system cannot be sustained because the leadership recruitment process embedded in it is fraught with fraud and can neither deliver credible leadership nor good governance to the people.


“I am saying that we need to think out of the box. We are still thinking along the same political process that we inherited since independence. What we inherited and still 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 mobilise a good number of us to disrupt the process. It’s all about disrupting the process. “Now, what do I mean?


You’re at the age of disruption. Can you imagine having 51 per cent of the voting public on a platform? Right? You do everything online and you’re already online anyway. You don’t have to pay for forms; all you need is to use that same platform to begin to organically grow leadership from among you.


“The biggest fraud in this system is delegates’ election. It’s the biggest fraud because if four of us are running for office, the delegates collect from all four of us and my brother here will go and tell them where to vote eventually. In many cases, even the defeated candidates are called in for a discussion to step down and be settled somehow and that system continues.


“But when you have your own troops, you’re not elected by his own troops because your own troops have nominated you off the platform. Can you see the difference it would make?


We can’t continue to rely on that old system. We need to create a system that will give you a direct say in what is happening and you will know exactly what your numbers are at every point. I am committed to making sure that we turn this political system on its head,” he said.


Abiola also debunked the widespread speculations that he was preparing himself for politics ahead of the 2023 general elections and insisted that his sole motivation was to change the system and evolve a new one in which no one can be robbed of one’s electoral victory.


According to him, the primary objective of launching Tribe Naija was to bring together Nigerian youths irrespective of their ethnic, religious and cultural


backgrounds and to unite them to a point where they see themselves first as Nigerians. “You see, the problem we have in Nigeria is that everything has to be a means to an end. There cannot be a means to an end if you don’t have a country. So first and foremost, I want to unite us; that’s my purpose here. General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua started the PF (People’s Front); did he end up being the President of this country? Shehu Yar’Adua started PF, my father came in on the same platform; of course he ended up not ruling the country. So it is not about whether you’re running for something or you want a political office. “I’m not even a card carrying member of any political party.


I’ve never been involved politically with any party since my father’s election because I wanted to make sure that first and foremost, he was recognised for what he achieved.


It took me 22 years to get that done with the announcement by President Muhammadu Buhari and I’m always going to be thankful for it.


“Now that he has been recognised, I want to finish the job that they did by making sure that nobody is ever robbed of his electoral victory again and let us keep Nigeria together as one,” he said.


He pleaded to complete the symbolic bridge that Shehu Musa Yar’Adua started before he died, stressing that he would be fulfilled only when that legacy bridge was completed and unity achieved in Nigeria




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