Dr-Sina Fagbenro-Byron has over thirty five years of experience in the public and private sector. He speaks with Isabella Akinseye on how he will bring this wealth of experience to driving a new Nigeria if elected as the next president.
Topic Of The Day: New Political Class
“Nigerians are trying to change, not only government, but governance. We are trying to change the way people approach politics and governance. We want to ensure that new ways, with more inclusion appears in the political space. The new political voices demonstrate a movement into new frontiers. Politics is no longer a cloak and dagger business; you want every citizen to be part of it. So, what I say that the new group are doing is that they are breaking frontiers, they are breaking barriers, we are creating space for the new generation.”
“Strengthening democracy has a lot to do with the process and the content. Democracy cannot be strengthened if the content of what is being discussed is not issue based. You want to be sure that the things being discussed are issue-based. You want people to be more focused on the issues rather than frivolities, sentiments, tribalism, ethnicity and other religious issues. What happens that this new breed are forcing us to look at issues. In Nigeria, we have certain issues that touch the lives of everyone…You want different dimensions to these issues. They say that in the abundance of water, the fool is thirsty; in the abundance of comments and participants, Nigeria can only get richer. They have enriched the political space.”
“I think there is a continuum. A lot of people will categorise me as new breed. I am over 60 years, so some may categorise me with the old but I have a mindset of the new. What I know is that life is a continuum. There will be little degrees of change that will be gradual. In some cases, there will be some deciding change, fracture…Social inclusion, which is the fundamental bedrock of development presumes that whole sum is made up of the young, old, men and women. There are insights that the new and old politicians will bring to the table. We need to focus on national interests. And at the end of the day, we hope and pray that Nigerians can synthesise what is best for them and move on with the best options.”
“No matter how many birds are in the skies, they don’t clash. If you come out with your unique offer, and present it to the people, they may not accept it today but if you are resilient and remain committed to create good governance and service delivery for the people, then people will listen to you. We have to allow the space to grow naturally. We will conclude that certain things work and certain things do not work and do away with the things that do not work.”
On KOWA Party
“I am a founding member of KOWA party. When we had to withdraw from the LG elections of PDP. Many of us felt that the decisions being made in PDP at the time were driven by impunity, were driven by godfathers, there wasn’t space for young people to express themselves. We disagree with the fact that we had to withdraw from elections after campaigning for one and a half years. I left around 2006 and around 2010, we founded KOWA Party. So that is the main basis of my being in KOWA Party. I had to be particularly neutral because I was in diplomatic service. KOWA party is predicated on social inclusion, welfarism and modernism. These were things that we felt were missing in PDP and other political parties. We also increased the space for many young people to come in; members of civil society and other young people. So we had a lot of civil society content as the basis of KOWA Party.”