ANN/‘Technoticianism’: A Movement Whose Time Has Come

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The Alliance for New Nigeria, ANN, a new political group which has adopted the doctrine of ‘technoticianism’ as its guiding principle is making waves among young Nigerian professionals and technocrats. Labake Fashogbon reports

During a recent interactive session with top media practitioners, Dr. Jay Osi Samuels, the national coordinator of Alliance for New Nigeria, ANN, a new political group, declared that the ideology of the new group was very simple: to retire and replace the old order. To him, the nation has been held back by years of recycled leadership to the extent that one could even predict who the regular front runners would be during every election.

Samuels and those who are promoting the new group might have their ideas but the way things are going for the group, it might even grow out of their ‘hands’ going by the way young Nigerians are signing in to join the group.

Findings by THISDAY revealed that perhaps, there are many disgruntled Nigerians who are in their 30s and 40s who seemed to have been waiting for someone to lead the way and they were ready to join the movement. And going by the idea behind the formation of the ANN, the aim has always been to get professionals and technocrats involved in the political process.

While this might be debatable, the percentage of those who are actively involved in politics, both as contestants and voters are less than 35% of the total population of Nigerians who are above the age of 18. The remaining 65% are made up mainly of young professionals, both male and female, who hardly get involved in the political process; either as contestants or voters.

“If you notice, only thirty percent of the populace gets involved in the political process in the country; either through active participation or via voting. Those who hold public offices are less than 20,000, including those at the state level. What we are doing is to talk to the remaining seventy percent and get them to be part of the process. This is what ANN is all about,” Samuels explained.

He did not end it there: “We have complained enough. We cannot continue to go on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp groups and be lamenting about how the country is drifting. Enough of that. It is time to get involved and try to change things in the country by being part of the political process. And there is no better platform to do this than through the Alliance for New Nigeria, ANN. We are out to serve as the rallying point for technocrats and professionals to come out of the shells and become part of the political process.”

And professionals and technocrats seem to have been listening to the message of ANN. And that message is that time has come for them to become a hybrid of technocrats and politicians which, according to the promoters of the group, will make them become ‘technoticians’.

“The response has been overwhelming,” Samuels announced during the interactive session. “Many Nigerians have been signing on to be part of the group. They seem genuinely disenchanted with the status quo. They have realised that neither APC nor PDP can take this country to the proverbial promised land. I can tell you ANN has become a movement. It has assumed a life of its own.”

Samuels believes one does not have to be a prominent politician before he or she can make an impact. According to him, since politics is a game of numbers, the fact that more and more Nigerians are joining the ANN is enough to show that names alone may not be enough to win elections in the future.

Leonard Ebute, a former students’ union leader, is one of the forces behind the group. Ebute is an entrepreneur who has founded three startup businesses in ICT, supply chain and more recently, agriculture. His outfit, Crest-Agro Products Limited, is a multi-billion naira investment in the cassava value chain. He holds an MBA from the prestigious Lagos Business School. He also has a Diploma in Procurement and Supply Chain Management from the UK, a full member of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply from the United Kingdom and a B.Sc in Economics. He has over 10years of work experience delivering operational efficiency in various multinational companies like Nestle where he served in various functions and projects within supply chain, Sanofi-Aventis where he was head of Procurement for North East Africa and Kimberley Clark where he was head of supply chain for West, East and Central Africa. So passionate about youth development and a frequent speaker in various campuses and youth programmes, Ebute has a personal ambition to be directly responsible for 100,000 jobs in Nigeria.

Ebute said the problem with politics in Nigeria is that aspirants and candidates don’t rely on demographic figures to plan for elections. According to him, since politicians believe they will always bribe the electorate on election day, they hardly care about figures.“This is what ANN wants to change,” Ebute told editors during the interactive session. “There is a critical group of Nigerians that politicians don’t reckon with. They are students and young Nigerians. We want to engage these Nigerians and make them embrace the difference which ANN stands for. Nigerians can play politics in a scientific way. And ANN will surely do that. This is all about the real change and not the one of 2015.”

Samuels, an Edo State-born medical doctor, added that in the group, the 80-20 rule applies as they are more of technocrats than politicians.

“For us to be involved in politics, we have to be known as politicians. But we are first and foremost technocrats only getting involved in the political process.”

 Samuels lamented that for long, the nation has left its political destiny in the hands of few career politicians who only think of the next election and nothing more. The medical practitioner said these professional politicians are the ones that decide what go on in the country and who and who gets what. He said it was time Nigerians take their destiny into their own hands by legitimately interrogating these forces.