Welcome Notes from the Founder and Publisher – Debo Onifade
Liberatingnigeria.com is a Nigeria politics online forum or Nigerian politics blog which was birthed after the publication of my book – Liberating Nigeria: A Guide to Winning Elections and Reviving our Country.
Following my media interviews in Nigeria and social media interactions where people repeatedly asked me about ‘next steps’, I decided that in addition to publishing a 214-page book and consistently publishing politics and policy articles on national newspapers, I had to start website, facebook, youtube, and twitter forums to facilitate continued conversation with fellow patriots.
Through this website, my team and I want to give voice to the voiceless. We do not want to be the only ones writing and publishing articles. If you have any thoughts that you like to share, please kindly share on the forum and let us start some conversation together. If you want to publish an article about Nigerian politics, please email us and do not be concerned about your writing skills. The excellent writers are not necessarily the smartest Nigerians. As long as you are very passionate about Nigeria’s liberation, and you plan to focus on solutions and not problem analysis, you are qualified to publish articles on our online platforms.
To be clear, our group supports only peaceful liberation through successful participation in politics. We do not support revolution, or any ambiguous or unconstitutional way of taking-over power.
Nigeria has witnessed massive voter apathy among young people since the inception of its fourth republic in 1999. These young people are very loud on social media but rarely turn out to vote during elections. Their social media comments always portray vast ignorance and arrogance, and the ambitious ones among them are not ready to humbly learn politics and policies. They wrongly believe passion and youthfulness alone can help them win elections. This is largely due to over-reliance on social media for knowledge and some arrogance that they do not have much to learn from older people, history, and in-depth study of local politics.
The corrupt politicians are happy that young Nigerians rarely vote and are largely oblivious of politics. For obvious reasons, they (Nigerian politicians) do not write books or detailed articles to explain politics to young people. This is the gap we are trying to fill. Through the free distribution of our convener’s recently published book, “Liberating Nigeria: A Guide to winning Elections and Reviving our Country” and organization of regular live webinars, we seek to explain these hidden details (that are largely not available on social media) to the young people and galvanize a new interest to participate in politics more competitively.
Foreword by Africa’s Foremost Human Rights Activist – Mr. Femi Falana SAN, as published in the book “Liberating Nigeria: A Guide to Winning Elections and Reviving our Country”
Debo Onifade is an electrical engineer trained by two prestigious institutions, the Tufts University, United States and the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. So he is eminently qualified to write his book entitled “LIBERATING NIGERIA: A GUIDE TO WINNING ELECTIONS AND REVIVING OUR COUNTRY.” In the 200-page book, he has demonstrated his passion and commitment to the task of liberating Nigeria from political and economic quagmire. He is a patriot who has painstakingly written this book as his intellectual contribution to the task of nation building. Indeed, it is a contribution that has been enriched by a combination of his deep knowledge of Nigeria and extensive experience in the United States. Even though the author currently lives in the United States, his penchant quest for good governance in Nigeria runs through the entire book.
In the main, the book is a wake-up call to the youths who have left the fate of the country in the soiled hands of corrupt and selfish politicians who have arrested the development of the country. No doubt, Nigeria has a large percentage of young people but out of ignorance about strategies to win elections, the political space has been polluted and taken over by power mongers. Convinced that the youths are very passionate about transforming Nigeria, the author is critical of the lack of understanding of the rudiments of politics. He says that the involvement of the youths through the social media is not sufficient to make any meaningful impact on the politics of the country.
According to the author, election is unarguably the bedrock of democratic governments. Hence, all modern democracies hold or conduct elections on a regular basis. He is however highly disturbed to note that the electoral process of the country is manipulated by the political class for the sole purpose of maintaining the status quo. He is of the firm view that the time has come to reform the nation’s electoral landscape. The author argues that it is incumbent on the people clamoring for the transformation of Nigeria from poverty to prosperity to submit themselves to a credible electoral process by actively participating in the election process with a more coordinated approach than ephemeral social media debates
In the book, the author has concentrated substantial attention on how to win elections in Nigeria. In treating the topic from historical perspectives, he believes that old politicians can be easily defeated if the new breed politicians are organized. The author juxtaposes Nigerian politics with the politics of other countries and submits that it is not impossible for the new breed politicians to win elections in Nigeria. Apart from elections, the book focuses great attention on how to create jobs and fix major infrastructure, and addressed the problems plaguing the nation including over reliance on revenue from crude oil and challenges with electricity supply, human capital development – education and health, security, restructuring, job creation, social welfare and poverty eradication, roads, railways, housing and rural development. The solutions proffered to these myriads of problems have been found within the neo-liberal paradigm which must have been influenced by the author’s belief in liberal democracy.
The author believes that he has set out to ignite “a new wave of patriotism across Nigeria and explain how, within a few election cycles, liberation can sweep through the country – from the remotest villages to the coastal cities, from the elites and aristocrats to the downtrodden…”. To achieve his ambitious desire, the author will have to be physically involved in the mobilization of the people to take their political destiny in their own hands. I am therefore tempted to believe that the writing of the book is the beginning of the author’s political journey to the salvation of the country.
The conclusion of many people that the only way to liberate Nigeria is “to get young politicians into power through a democratic process” is highly debatable. This is because the politics of Nigeria cannot be based on age as recent events have shown that the youths are deeply involved in the destruction of the society. In fact, the young politicians that dominated the political transition program under the former Ibrahim Babangida junta were much more corrupt than the so-called politicians. Since no age group has monopoly of wisdom, the young and the old committed to the progressive transformation of the society ought to be brought together in the urgent task of nation building. So I agree with the author that new-breed politicians should comprise both young and old people.
Shortly before the 2019 general election the “Not Too Young to Run” Bill was passed into law by the national assembly. Consequently, the constitution was altered to reduce age qualification for President from 40 to 30 years; Governor from 35 to 30; Senator from 35 to 30; House of Representatives from 30 to 25 and State House of Assembly from 30 to 25. But young politicians who contested for various positions during the 2019 general election were not voted for by the young voters who constitute over 60 percent of the voting population. The author may want to study the general apathy of most young voters.
In spite of the total domination of the political process by reactionary politicians, the author curiously believes that rebellion or revolt will not work in Nigeria and that there are only two options – either to defeat the old politicians in elections or give up in despair. Since despair is not an option, the author wishes that the book will inspire Nigerians to urgent action. I believe that the book could not have been published at a more opportune time than now that the National Assembly is under tremendous pressure to amend the Electoral Act 2010 and other relevant provisions of the constitution in preparation for the 2023 general elections.
In view of the foregoing, I have no hesitation in recommending the book to politicians – young and old, electoral bodies, political parties and other stakeholders in the politics of the country.
FEMI FALANA, SAN, FCI Arb.
November 14, 2019
Book Introduction by the author of “Liberating Nigeria: A Guide to Winning Elections and Reviving our Country” – Debo Onifade
I seek to ignite a new wave of patriotism across Nigeria and explain how within a few election cycles, liberation can sweep through the country—from the remotest villages to the coastal cities, from the elites and aristocrats to the downtrodden, from the deeply religious who continue to seek solace in their faith to the agnostics who never believed or no longer believe in God because of the evils of their religious leaders, and from the highly educated to the least educated.
Like many Nigerians, my strong passion for our dear country has been overwhelmed many times with despair. But the fact that I cannot stop weeping about the poverty, insecurity, poor health care, educational crisis, and corruption across our land always reminds me that I still love the country. If you have similar deep concerns about Nigeria, it means that you are indeed a stakeholder in the process of liberating Nigeria from our corrupt rulers.
Transforming Nigeria will take several years, but we can steadily begin the process by humbling ourselves to learn the rudiments of politics. This book is a manual for election-winning strategies and policy priorities within a four-year term. I do not claim to have all the answers, but I make my suggestions based on the history of successful political liberation in different parts of the world, my in-depth understanding of Nigerian issues and politics, and my vast experience of relating with Nigerian politicians and brilliant minds across the world.
This book also provides a lot of enlightenment to non-Nigerians who desire to understand the way politics is played in the largest black country on earth. It is a first-of-its-kind book, not just because it shares insightful stories that are not readily available over social media or the internet but also because it focuses a lot more on solutions and specific recommendations rather than the challenges. Every country has got its own political idiosyncrasies, so there is no reason to mock Nigerian politics. It just needs to be better understood by those who desire to refine it.
Finally, we need to understand that our options are currently limited to only democracy. Military coups are no longer fashionable or acceptable around the world, and I do not support them. Nigeria has also not done well in the past under the military—so there is certainly no wisdom in praying for a military take-over in Nigeria. As of this writing, some people have started clamoring for revolution, but let’s be frank with ourselves: an effective revolution will not happen in Nigeria. We are certainly not that resolute. The typical South West people will not give up their lives for a revolution, the majority of the youths in the North East and North West will not engage in revolution against their leaders, and the South East, South South, and North Central elites who have huge investments in Lagos and Abuja will not support a revolution. So the percentage of Nigerians who are ready for some serious revolution is certainly not adequate to seize power. I do not support any violent revolution, but I am also experienced enough to know a successful revolution cannot materialize in Nigeria.
The only way to liberate Nigeria is to get new-breed politicians into power through a democratic process. Let us begin that process today by learning what it takes to win elections. It is time to liberate Nigeria!
Book Backpage Summary:
We have complained about and analyzed our problems long enough. It is now time for young people and new-breed politicians to elevate the discussion from mere rhetoric, sensationalism and fantasy to apt understanding of smart politics and solutions. This book presents facts and history to explain election-winning strategies and policy priorities. Let’s not kid ourselves—most of our traditional politicians will remain corruptly oppressive, and rebellion or revolt will not succeed in Nigeria. So we only have two options: work hard to liberate ourselves from the oppressors by defeating them in elections or give up in despair. If we choose liberation, it will take us several years, but we can gradually start by unifying our efforts and learning the required political skills. This book will be enlightening to non-Nigerians, but I hope it will inspire Nigerians to urgent action.
Debo Onifade has a master’s degree in engineering management from Tufts University (USA) and a bachelor’s in electrical engineering from the University of Ibadan (Nigeria). He has published essays, articles and books. Some of his essays have won him awards inside and outside Nigeria, including an IEEE prize at the historic Bletchley Park, UK in 2004, a Professor Femi Osofisan prize at the University of Ibadan in 1999, and a National Orientation Agency Award in Abeokuta, Nigeria in 1998. He is also an entrepreneur, soccer coach, policy enthusiast and historian. Though Debo lives in the US, he remains very passionate about Nigeria’s development and seeks to ignite the same fire in Nigerian youths.
Book Review by Toluse “Tolu” Olorunnipa (White House reporter for The Washington Post and on-air contributor to CNN):
“Liberating Nigeria” is an apt title for this tour-de-force, a no-holds-barred analytical probe of the ills that have long plagued Africa’s most populous and most potential-gifted nation. Debo Onifade does a masterful job of dissecting many of the country’s problems, and showing how its political leadership could rise to address them.
This book is useful for those at all levels of expertise and familiarity with Nigerian politics, from the neophyte to the seasoned political hand.
Global in scope, comparing and contrasting Nigeria’s political system to those in China, the United States, Pakistan and elsewhere – revealing sharp differences, similarities and areas for improvement and evolution.
“Liberating Nigeria” is more than analysis – it’s also about action. It is full of well-researched and well-described prescriptions for boosting Nigeria’s young but stunted democratic systems, and promoting good governance. Readers of “Liberating Nigeria,” young and old, will be treated to a vision for what one of the world’s fastest growing nations could be if its political system better reflected the ingenuity and compassion of its people. Such a “people’s government,” as described by Onifade, would not only propel Nigeria to fulfilling its potential as Africa’s most populous country. Solutions for longstanding problems in Nigeria’s electricity, education, health care, security, business and other sectors are methodically and thoroughly presented in this book. Nigeria’s leaders – and everyday citizens – could benefit greatly from reading “Liberating Nigeria.”
Editor and Presenter