2019: ANN and the Coming of the ‘Technoticians’

With 2019 tantalisingly on the horizon for political jugglers, calls
have been made again for professionals to participate in the political
process. They seem ready to answer the call with different groups,
mainly of non-career politicians, jostling for registration as
political parties. One of them is Alliance for New Nigeria, ANN.
Samuel Ajayi looks at the group, its main promoter, Dr. Jay Osi
Samuels, and the concept of ‘technoticians’
As 2019 Permutations Pick Up
While the sickness of President Muhammadu Buhari has been dominating
public discourse lately, only a political neophyte would conclude that
2019 is still far away. On the contrary, jostling and scheming for
2019 have already begun. As career politicians seek re-alignments and
restrategising, Nigerians, especially those who are professionals in
the corporate world have often been accused of staying away from the
political process while they criticise from the comfort of their
sitting rooms and cozy offices.
However, that might be changing if feelers from across the country are
anything to go by. While Nigerians are very active on the social
media, especially Facebook and Twitter, they have been using these
platforms to organise themselves into groups that are ready to fully
and actively participate in the political process. While many of them
might not be interested in contesting elections in 2019, they
nevertheless waººnt to have a say on who governs them.
ANN and the ‘Technoticians’
One of such groups is Alliance for New Nigeria, ANN, which is seeking
to be registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission,
INEC, as a political party. While there are many of groups like this,
what stands out ANN is the fact that those behind it are thoroughbred
professionals who have made their marks in the chosen fields. Going by
personal comfort and earnings, many of them are even better than those
career politicians. Since many of them are very active on social
media, they seem to have realised that ventilating alone on those
platforms might not really change anything except being exploited by
same career politicians for their selfish gains. It was as a result of
this that promoters of the ANN felt they have to be a step further
than just making noise on the social media.
“We have left politics in the hands of career politicians for too long
while we make noise for nothing. Now is the time to be part of the
process as a career people who have made their marks in their chosen
fields,” Dr. Jay Osi Samuels, a medical entrepreneur of international
repute, Harvard scholar and a major force behind the ANN, told THISDAY
in a chat during the week.
Samuels said the ANN is made up of those he called ‘technoticians’ who
are hybrids of technocrats and politicians. But it is more than that.
He said they were more of technocrats than politicians; only that you
become a politician when you get involved in the political process. He
threw more light:
“We are not politicians neither are we new breed politicians. We are
‘technoticians’. We are a hybrid of technocrats and politicians where
the 80/20 rules apply here. In other words, in practice and modus
operandi, we are 80% technocrats and just 20% politicians. We are
allied to drain the swamp. We were not formed for the sole purpose of
winning an election. We are committed to building a party that is
bound by an ideology and would stand the test of time. We are allied
to engender the Nigeria of our dream where every voice counts and
every vote will matter. We are allied to position Nigeria in her
rightful place in the comity of nations.”
Career Politicians Have always Called the Shot
Samuels said since the advent of the current democratic system in
1999, Nigerians have sort of entrusted their destiny in the hands of
career professional politicians thinking that these crops of leaders
would do the right thing by enthroning good governance and economic
development that will positively affect the life of the ordinary
Nigerians. Unfortunately, however, the citizenry has been largely
disappointed over the years. This has become even more pronounced in
the last couple of years after the current government was massively
voted into power.
“Having studied the developments in the political space in Nigeria in
the last couple of years, it has become obvious that the current
players, be it APC, PDP, APGA seem to be hamstrung by inherent greed
of career politicians who usually win elections to rule over us. While
inherently, these parties might have good intentions in their
manifestoes; those who drive these manifestoes are bereft of ideas on
how to move the country forward. The Alliance for New Nigeria was
borne out of a genuine desire of a group of like-minded youthful
technocrats to rescue the country from the clad iron grasp of these
players by forming a credible platform where the love of country will
be the overriding principle. We believe in an egalitarian society
where excellence and integrity are the watchword,” Samuels explained.
ANN might not make any headway electorally in 2019 going by massive
resources needed to organise political activities in a country like
Nigeria. But the emergence of groups like this is a major paradigm
shift in the way Nigerians get involved in the political process.
Hardly do you see Nigerians moving away from their professional
careers to get involved in the political process. Even those who have
tried have been messed up because they still have to rely on career
politicians for ‘direction’ and organisation. May be ANN and other
groups like that can change that.
Going by the trajectory of the professional career of Osi-Samuels, one
might be tempted to say that Nigerians are blessed with a crop of
brilliant and well exposed professional who can take her to the next
The Man, Dr. Jay Osi Samuels
Born on January 3rd 1968 at Ibadan to both parents from Fugar, Etsako
Central Local Government area of Edo State, Jay, as he is fondly
called, had his primary school education at the St. Brigid’s Boys
Primary School, Mokola, Ibadan after which he proceeded to his home
town for his secondary education at the St. John’s College, Fugar. He
had his Advanced Level studies at the Oduduwa College, Ile-Ife, from
where he proceeded to the University of Ibadan where he received his
medical and surgical training, graduating with the MBBS degree in
Dr. Samuels started his professional medical career as an intern at
the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, ABUTH, in Kaduna. He
now moved to the General Hospital, Lagos Island, where he did the
mandatory NYSC. A couple of years later, he proceeded to the Harvard
School of Public Health, HSPH, for his post-doctoral fellowship in
Molecular Epidemiology under an award by the Bill and Melinda Gates
Foundation in 2001. In recognition of his exceptional abilities, he
was awarded a Fogarty International fellowship award of the National
Institutes of Health (NIH) for an MS in Epidemiology from HSPH in
2005. While recognising opportunities offered by the US President’s
Emergency Programme on AIDS Relief, PEPFAR, to mitigate the impact of
HIV/AIDS in Africa and in Nigeria in particular, he returned to his
native country in 2006 to join the Harvard PEPFAR programme.
Dr. Samuels is also an alumnus of the World Bank Training Institute
and the Lagos School of Business. He has over 15 years experience
managing and implementing HIV/AIDS program in Nigeria including over
10 years in management roles. He has extensive experience in managing
collaborative programs with bilateral donors, Ministries of Health and
International NGOS in healthcare delivery. Dr. Samuels focus is on
health systems strengthening with particular interest in the design,
development and management of clinical laboratories. He has been
involved in the upgrade/development of more than 100 clinical
laboratories in Nigeria. Dr. Samuels is also a medical entrepreneur
and currently manages the pioneer medical aesthetics and cosmetics
dermatological supply and distribution company in Nigeria.
Truly, a ‘technotician’ to the core.

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