Editor’s Note: EiENigeria and other stakeholders came together to organize the New Media and Governance Conference. It was a pleasure having Oluwatobi Soyombo, do a recap of the event. Before going to read Day 2 Recap, you can read Day 1 Recap, as well as check out photos from the conference. You can follow him on twitter – @SOluwatobi and Musing of an Incurable Technopreneur – his blog.
The Conference couldn’t have ended in a more exceptional way. Today, the Minister of Youth Development, Honourable Bolaji Abdullahi graced the occasion. During his speech, the Minister made several negative points (for personal reasons) about the use of Social Media among youths. Duringhis speech, he made it clear to the audience that the tweet meets were stopped due to the numerous abuses they got from the previously organized ones.
The minister took few questions from the audience and took his leave. He requested that Mr. Ohimai Amaize, his special adviser on advocacy represent him while he leaves. The first plenary session continued with Banky W, Darey Art Alade, Efe Paul (a poet) and Ohimai Amaize as the discussants. According to feedback from the audience, this session was the best and most interactive of all. Chude Jideonwo was the moderator for this session.
Chude gave a summary of the session which dwelled much on the use of Social Media tools in driving mass engagement in Nigeria. Talking about Social Media, he said “…it is also important to know that it is not the “almighty formula” capable of solving any and all problems, and in so far as it is limited to the ability to possess or have access to these tools, its impact remains limited to a certain cadre of youth: those who can keep up with the rapidly changing information landscape. But, we know this is a powerful tool. More powerful than anything else we’ve ever had. So the question is – how do we use it to lethal effect for country? …But for effective engagement and participation; it needs to become more than that.”
Efe Paul spoke from a different perspective. His speech was centered around what happens after all the Social Media activities about certain socio-political issues. He gave examples about the January campaign against Fuel Subsidy. According to him, the discussion about the fuel subsidy removal versus good governance declined immediately after the occupy Nigeria protest. His advice was that the engagement should continue until good governance is achieved. He proceed by stressing that “youth engagement and participation is not an end, it’s a mean to an end. The end is good governance”.
Efe Paul also emphasized the need for Nigerians to build strong capacities beyond Social Media. In his words, “power does not shift but for superior power. Outside of Social Media, we don’t have enough discipline and organized structure to push our agenda”. As he concluded, Efe dropped a word of advice to the music starts in the hall; “We’re going to have to push out more socially conscious music” he said.
Darey Art Alade made his way to the lectern. He started by talking about the low level of infrastructure in Nigeria. He made such notable statements as “My basic question will be infrastructure.” “Without access to the internet, new media does not exist”, “Who make up the government? Technically, it should be the youths; but is that the reality?” “May be some of us should produce more socially conscious music”, “The honest truth is that we all need to be a little bit more committed to being part of governance” and many more.
After Darey stepped down Bank W picked up the mic. He stressed that he was going to be optimistic unlike the previous discussants. Banky W encouraged the audience to take full responsibility of the new Nigeria project. “Until we decide to take power back from the government, we will just keep organizing conferences” he said. For emphasis, Bank W yelled “We will change this country when we decide that enough is enough!” During his speech, he gave several practical examples, one of which was the process of rigging an election. He said “Here’s how they rig. They print ballot papers, if you don’t show up, they stamp it”. Banky W made several sensitive statements than this post can accommodate. He did a great job of steering the audience to action.