A Summit of The Alternatives (SOTA), a collaborative idea of different non-governmental organisations such as Red Card Movement, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (Yiaga Africa), Nigeria First Project, BudgIT, Enough is Enough (EiE) and passionate citizens, framing the New Nigeria of our dream, and advocating for coalition of alternative political parties and aspirants, held at the Musa Shehu Yar’Adua Centre, recently in Abuja.
The summit was a roundtable discussion to develop a national vision and strategy to ensure effective democracy and structuring of guidelines in building a New Nigeria of our dream, whereby, citizens are taking the lead in such a venture.
SOTA, a two-day event, which witnessed the presence of global speakers and regional representatives who joined participants to call for young, gender sensitive, competent, capable and credible leadership through the 2019 elections in Nigeria, was focused on shaping narratives to redefine Nigeria’s political landscape through a coalition of credible alternatives.
While giving the welcome address, the convener of the Red Card Movement, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, extensively introduced the idea behind the Summit of The Alternatives. She emphasised on the need for a new Nigeria of our dream and the economic implication of having visionary leadership, with character, competence and capacity.
“SOTA is a summit of a difference, of the avanguard, of the unconventional. A summit that challenges the conditional wisdom in our society that leadership is for self and not for service.
“It is a summit of a new Nigeria. One that disrupts the mindset that Nigerian youths can do nothing. The time has come to produce new visionary leadership with character, competence and capacity.”
The summit comprised of influencers and thought leaders that have demonstrated model character, competence and capacity in their various fields, with a strong desire to build and remodel through active engagement in Nigeria’s political space.
On the first day of the summit, the keynote speaker, Professor Patrick Lumumba, commended the efforts of the organisers for coming together to rescue Nigeria from political nightmare and by extension, creating hope for Africa and Africans.
According to him, “Nigeria is blessed with everything you can think of but leadership; Nigeria has showed its leadership position in the African region through various peace keeping operations in Liberia, Sierra Leone and mention it, Nigeria is the only link to Africa’s success”
Several panel discussions were also organized to further emphasise the purpose of the summit, which is to drive the new agenda for a new Nigeria. Some of the discussions centred round, Campaign/Party Finance; Cultivating Grassroots Movements; Media Approaches to Elections; Nuances and Metrics of Youth and Women Inclusion in today’s Democracy; INEC: An Overview of Electoral Preparations in the areas of hardware, software and process; Youth Inclusion and Building a Political Brand.
Also present at the summit on the second day were several political parties and presidential aspirants such as Sowore Omoyele, Fela Durotoye, Dr Elishama Ideh, Professor Kingsley Moghalu, Emmanuel Etim, Dr Thomas- Wilson Ikubese, Engineer Martins Onovo, and Tope Fasua who addressed citizens on topical issues centred on the new Nigerian of our dream. These aspirants and political parties, considered the need for a coalition of the 89 alternative political parties that wouldfurther strengthen the objectives of the summit.