By Aisha Waziri Umar
Professor Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum, said: “Of the many diverse and fascinating challenges we face today, the most intense and important is how to understand and shape the new technology revolution, which entails nothing less than a transformation of humankind.”
Major advances in the use of technology are disrupting economic, political and social norms, and politicians nowadays are either rushing to address to major challenges, or, at worst, not able to act at all. To ensure that these technological advances translate to progress for nations, a new generation of talented and technologically savvy people will have to rise to the challenge.
Politics has been defined as “the means of utilizing power to make decisions to address societies problems” Today, politics requires having to resolve complex issues and take decisions about matters such as the equitable allocation of resources poverty alleviation, climate change and insecurity.
The political landscape now faces more disruptive elements than in past decades and this can alter the political climate of many countries including Nigeria. Political leaders and their parties are shifting into new policy spaces previously held in relative check by competing interest groups; who have compromised on policy and ideology; to ensure a cohesive and sustainable governing platform. Political leaders now bring promises of change for their constituents, and much of their campaign in recent times involve the application of entrepreneurial skills similar to those employed by politicians like Macron when he set up a new political party to win the French Presidential elections in 2017.
Values and ethics also play a role in politics. The younger generation, particularly in Europe, have begun to flirt with cause-based politics promoting environmental or humanitarian agendas. Recently, New Zealand elected Jacinda Ardern, a young lady, as their Prime Minister, and Austria elected the youngest world-leader, 31 year old, Sebastian Kurz as their Chancellor.
Political entrepreneurs are professionals who create ideas and innovations, and who move into the political arena and act as new leaders in the field of politics. They are individuals and groups who seek to improve the science and art of politics through disruption. The founders of movements such as the Capitalists, Marxist and Futurists movements were all political entrepreneurs of their time. These were people who came up with ways to solve political problems in terms of political philosophy, political technology, political campaigns, and governance.
Today we are already seeing new movements and communities rising in response to the challenges of the technological revolution. For example, Uber drivers have organized through Whatsapp to take on their employers in response to their pay and employment status. In Nigeria Budgit, which is a civic start up, presents public data in a user-friendly format so citizens can understand national and state budgets and use the information to demand for good governance. There is also Tracka which is a community tracking system which helps citizens follow and track capital projects in Nigerian communities.
Nigeria, is no different when it comes to the societal changes occurring due to the technological revolution. Therefore there is a need for a new generation of political entrepreneurs to tackle the unique problems that come with the revolution. We must find ways to deal with fake news which distort democratic debate; threats to cyber security; misuse of citizens’ data, and use of technology to infringe of citizens privacy
To build this new generation of political entrepreneurs, we must encourage wider participation of new talent in politics. In Nigeria, membership of political parties is less than 5%` of the voting population. The trust in political institutions has decreased, and many people are dissatisfied with the status quo. Instead of maintaining status quo and doing things out of habit, we should encourage creativity and innovation.
To make progress as a nation we require the emergence of political entrepreneurs who will develop the new ideas, technologies, policies, visions, and civic actions to ensure that the advances in science and technology translate into prosperity for our nation. This will entail a process of expanding political party membership, creating awareness of future political entrepreneurs, persuading current political leaders to embrace the changes that are happening in science and technology. We should evolve a new political creed to guide leaders of all political shades in this new era.
The Revive Nigeria Group
It is against this backdrop that, a group of like-minded and reform-minded individuals have come together to brainstorm on practical solutions to guide Nigeria at a time of turmoil and uncertainty.
The RNG is a movement for true, purposeful and participatory change in Nigeria. At its liberal core is the need to disrupt the political process in order to find sustainable solutions to the diverse challenges preventing inclusive growth and development in the country. The RNG will create a structure for political entrepreneurs -with the leadership credentials and know-how- to participate in politics. RNG believes that having people who share its values and ideology actively involved in political governance is critical to reclaiming Nigeria’s lost glory.
Vision: The Vision of the group is “to create a united Nigeria with shared values where social justice and fairness supersede individual interests”.
Mission: The Mission is “to promote good governance, support economic empowerment and advocate for social justice, equity and national unity”
This vision and mission are cantered on the belief that a fair and just society is central to creating shared values and a sense of belonging for all Nigerians irrespective of ethnicity, tribe or religion. This vision can only be achieved by making sure that people with intellectual capacity and tested leadership credentials and a sense of service are involved in political governance.
Main objectives: The main objectives are to create sense of shared values amongst Nigerians and to champion and sustain a common national identity
Ultimately, the RNG will face the same issues as any other movement or political party, which is how to develop sound and rational policies likely to hold as broad a coalition as possible together. We face very specific challenges in attempting to balance our desire for real disruption with the vested interests of members of the group. Finally, we must sustain momentum in order to avoid inertia, which is common in Nigeria.
To close, I wish to remind all of us in this room especially the enterprenuers and businessmen that at a time like this the nation needs you so it behooves on you to be actively involved in the political process.
At this juncture, I would like to propose a toast to a revived Chamber of Commerce under leadership Prince Adetokumbo Kayode SAN. I wish you success as you take on this role.
Aisha, BOT member, The Revive Nigeria Group, delivered the speech inauguration ceremony of Prince Adetokunbo Kayode (CON, SAN., FCIArb., FCTI) as 10th President of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry on 23rd January 2018.