As politicians continue to fail the nation, the National Coordinator, Alliance for a New Nigeria, Dr. Jay Osi Samuels believes it is time for technocrats and professionals to step in and rescue the nation. Do they stand a chance? Segun James went in search for an answer
Nigerians are actually tired of politicians who make promises but always fail to deliver. May be it is time to cede the political space to professionals and technocrats. But in the words of Dr Chidi Odinkalu, the political space will never be conceded, you have to fight for it. This is the reality that is dawn on Dr Jay Osi Samuels, the brain behind Alliance for a New Nigeria (ANN).
Political reality really began for Jay Osi Samuels, a medical doctor and international health development expert and technocrat when a young man in his neighbourhood who had never bothered to further his education beyond the school certificate level was voted the chairman of his local government council area.
Until then, Samuels, like most professionals or technocrats from across the national spectrum had never cared about politics, a situation which gave rise to the likes of his new local government chairman and other never-do-well to become political leaders and persons who determine the political future of the educated and obviously more experienced technocrats.
What irked him most was that the new chairman, who had never own a business in his life soon enacted a bye-law that was clearly anti-business and downrightly unrealistic. A team of business owners who complained to the chairman were not only rebuffed but ordered to comply or have their premises sealed off and the men charged to court for refusing to obey the bylaw. It was at this point that reality dawned on Samuels. He came to the conclusion that to make a difference, you must be actively involved in the process of governance.
It was this scenario that has prompted the University of Ibadan and Harvard University trained medical practitioner to venture into politics. His belief is that unless professionals and technocrats venture into politics, participate fully in order to be the change they profess, they will forever remain at the mercy of thugs, the never-do-well dregs of the society who are today controlling the political space.
Today, Samuels is the national coordinator of ANN, a political association seeking to get registered as a political party. The association aimed at attracting technocrats and professionals to participate in politics.
The ANN ideology is simple: Nigeria First! But it has the primary mission of getting professionals to leverage on their antecedent, their experience and knowledge through education to move the nation to the next level.
According to him, ANN planned to storm the political stage within the next few months while also trying to raise its membership strength to at least one million before the next general election.
He contended that the change ANN sought was crucial and critical at this stage of the national polity. He is not deterred that the next general election is less than two years away; to him, it is much more essential to bring in the apolitical professionals aboard the moving train now than wait for another six years while leaving the political future of the country in the hands of politicians who can’t deliver on their promises.
To some technocrats, the move being championed by Samuels, is a rude awakening, but to the discerning minds, it is the start of a revolution to take over the soul of the nation and put its destiny in the hands of those who have the competence, capacity, capability and the love of the nation for the benefit of all.
Dr. Jay Osi Samuels was born on January 3rd, 1968 at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan to parents from Fugar in Etsako Central Local Government Area of Edo state. He attended St. Brigid’s Boys Primary School, Mokola, Ibadan before proceeding to St. John’s College, Fugar for his secondary school education.
After his A Level studies at Oduduwa College, Ile-Ife, he proceeded to the University of Ibadan where he received his medical and surgical training and graduated with the MBBS degree in 1994.
Samuels began his professional medical career as an intern at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH), Kaduna. His next stint was at the General Hospital, Lagos Island where he did his mandatory NYSC. He worked for a couple of years at the General Hospital as a medical officer before proceeding to the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) for his post-doctoral training fellowship in Molecular Epidemiology under an award by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2001.
In recognition of his exceptional abilities, he was conferred with the Fogarty International Award of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for an MS in Epidemiology from HSPH in 2005. While recognising opportunities offered by the United State’ President Emergency Programme on AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS in Africa and in Nigeria in particular, Samuels returned to the country in 2006 to join the PEPFAR programme.
Samuels has over 15 years experience managing and implementing HIV/AIDS programmes in Nigeria, including over 10 years in management roles. He focuses on health systems strengthening with particular interest in the design, development and management of clinical laboratories.
He has been involved in the upgrade and development of more than 100 clinical laboratories in Nigeria. Today, he is a medical entrepreneur and currently manages the pioneer medical aesthetics and cosmetics dermatological supply and distribution in Nigeria with his wife.
As Samuels proceeds in actualising his dream of making the ANN as the credible alternative in the national polity, he however is guided by the fact that not all Nigerians are technocrats, according to him, the idea is to bring them out of their docile and apolitical state and make them join hands with other to make the nation great.
Good as the idea of technocrats taking over governance may sound, the task ahead isn’t going to be very simple. The political elite running Nigeria will not let go so easily.
He is not deterred that the next general election is less than two years away; to him, it is much more essential to bring in the apolitical professionals aboard the moving train now than wait for another six years while leaving the political future of the country in the hands of politicians who can’t deliver on their promises.
Samuels….mobilising professionals for politics