Dr Jay Osi Samuels is the national coordinator of Alliance For New Nigeria (ANN), a political association seeking to be registered as a political party. In this interview with LEADERSHIP Sunday, he bares his mind on what is driving the association.
You are championing the Alliance for New Nigeria(ANN), which is bent on changing the nation’s political narrative. Do you think there is need for such association at a time like this?
First of all, let me say in an unambigous term that my decision to champion the ANN is borne out of love for my country because I believe Nigeria is a blessed country and we have the necessary resources to prosper as a nation. But we are still crawling, and doing simple little things that any government can do, is becoming rocket science for us. Successive leaderships have failed to engineer the needed developments. The people that have been throwing themselves up for elective positions or that are running this country seem not to care anymore for the common good. So ANN is formed based on the believe that the time is ripe for us to have radical departure from what obtains in the past and currently obtains now with the current crop of leadership.Our goal essentially is to try and replace current leaders with new people who have vibrant ideas to move this country forward.
If they are not going to leave quietly, we will mobilise voters to vote them out. So to answer your question in simple terms, to my mind, there has never been the need for an association like ours which is bent on being registered as a political party, than now.
We undertook a critical assement of the nation’s politics and realised that only a minimal per cent, which is largely made up of some old stuck, is controlling this country. We realised that a significant percentage, which comprises of the youths, students and a host of others, are rarely carried along so since politics is a game of numbers, we will use the ANN with the help of technology, to change the political narratives of this country for the better. We want to make a statement. But then, we are not too ambitious as to imagine that if eventually registered as a political party, we will win election in the 2019 polls.
We are not coming together because we say we want to win a particular election rather, we are coming together as an ideology based organization that is well grounded and we are looking beyond 2019. We also have a long term goal and we have been craving awareness of our mission, of our group but the encouragement and support we have been having is actually pushing us to have 2019 in our view. We will be different by our action and our actions will speak for us. We have positioned ourselves as a credible platform and a vehicle that will address all the ills that is currently plaguing Nigeria.
You said the ANN wants to make a statement. What statement is it seeking to make?
We want to retire and replace the old politicians who have been on the scene without improving the lots of Nigeria and Nigerians.
We understand the association is adopting what you call ‘technotician’…
Yes, technoticians is a coinage of two words; technocrat and politician. But to explain further, we all know that Nigerian is being governed by professional politicians with a sprinkle of technocrats here and there. But we find out that most of these technocrats that have been involved in politics have been consumed by the political environment. However, our idea of technotician is to form an association and eventually have a government that will be controlled by more technocrats and less of politicians.
Over time, the technocrats allow some people who feel their only business is politics to determine our political fate as a people. Of course this is the reason for all this mess we currently are in today. So we are coming up with this idea of rallying sizeable number of technocrats and blend with handful of politicians so as to effectively provide solution to myriads of challenges confronting us as a people. So with technotician we hope to have 80 pee cent technocrats and 20 pee cent politicians. With that we will be able to function better with more experience as a technocracy and bit of politics here and there.
You seem to have a tall ambition. What made you think the ANN will make any impact knowing that Nigerians are used to associations like the ANN coming to make series of promises but once it gets power, the whole story changes?
You are very right but you see, we are an amalgam of different professionals, young and energetic, who are fade up with the way things are and hence, want to see things done in the best way ever. That is why we keep on saying we will retire and replace the old generation with the new one. Retiring in the sense that we will remove the current leaders, but replacing them with a new set of leaders that have not been tempted with all the bad influences. The ANN will not give money to anybody to vote us, I can assure you of that. We are not coming to play by the old book, but we are coming with a plain book. So, if we preach to you about our plan and if you think the only way you can get convinced to vote us is to give you money , that will not happen.
Realising dreams such as the one being nursed by the ANN requires resources and here you are saying you want to retire and replace the old guards who currently control the resources…
We are not under any illusion that its going to be easy. We know its going to be a tough battle but we are working towards that by mobilising Nigerians to key into our dream, buy-into the plan and register with the association. We hope to raise money through membership registration and use little resources to achieve what the old guard politicians could not achieve with billions of Naira. Yes, campaign or election is a major money matter and we are very mindful of that. But therebis a way ww will go about this. We know we can raise the money we need to do what we need to do. And let me tell you something, the way Nigerian politics is currently being played is that there is a massive waste of resources. For example, you devote N100 billion or N200 billion or even more, for election purposes and if you do a deep down research, you find out that out of the N200 billion for the election purpose maybe only N20 billion is actually being spent in the whole campaign, the rest disappears into private pockets .
Nigerians may be wondering whether there is a mask behind the ANN…
There is nobody that is behind the ANN group and there is no mask. Let me put it that way. The main reason is that the ANN is owned by people like me and you. And what we are doing is that we pull our little resources together to prosecute this because of the genuine love we have for the country. We have received overtures from people whose principles ran contrary to ours and of course we turned down such overtures. There is no masquerade behind the ANN.