Ebute is a trained trained supply chain expert with over twelve years of experience working with several organisations. He holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the Pan Atlantic University, Lagos. He hopes to create 100, 000 jobs in Nigeria through jobs in the agriculture sector. He discusses voter apathy and his dreams with Isabella Akinseye.
Topic Of The Day: Voter Apathy
“People will turn up for candidates that they believe in, candidates that inspire them. People turned up for General Buhari because, like him or hate him, he was a messianic figure, they romanticised about him and turned up for him in that northern part of the country. In the Southern part of Nigeria where people are more educated and more independent in their thinking, that wasn’t the case because the alternatives available to them were not inspiring enough. The voting patterns in Nigeria, Northerners perform better and Southerners seem to shy away… It is not just a Nigeria thing, it is a global thing. Right now we are underperforming in Nigeria.”
“People cannot co-relate between their votes and the progress they want to make in Nigeria. And if you cannot see that, you see the exercise as an exercise in futility especially when you have other things to do with your time; so you tend to see people venting on social media because it is convenient. They cannot relate their vote and development they seek. That should not be the reason for political apathy. Actually, the reason for more political participation should be the under-performance of the political class. It should inspire younger people who will be here tomorrow to bear the brunt of the poor leadership today to be active politically but unfortunately when bread and butter is competing with destiny, bread and butter always wins.
“A hungry man is not a thinking man. When youth unemployment is rising, the economy is going bad, the worst time for businesses in Nigeria since 1999 is right now, people are running to Canada in votes, this is not a time when people think of four/five years when they do not know what they will eat today.”
“The percentage of voter violence is statistically insignificant. You do not have a local government wide crisis, you only have pockets of such situations here and there. But from a psychological point of view, people feel that the level of violence in one place will affect or increase chances of violence in their own place…This also shows the level of interest in politics. If you know that this is so important to the future, then we need to do more to brace the psychological impact.”
“I think ordinarily, people should be sufficiently motivated by the poverty in the land to participate in the political process but that is not the case. Nigerians do not believe that politics is going to change Nigeria; there is that psychological barrier to overcome. What can help us overcome that barrier is when popular figures begin to venture into politics; it is when the Facebook influencers begin to move into the political terrain, when you and I begin to go into politics and we carry our followers along. That is when things will begin to change.”
“Politics took me by surprise. I am a trained supply chain expert. That journey took me into agribusiness. The more I delved into agriculture, the more I saw the relationship between governance and agriculture which I see as the only realistic path to Nigeria’s economic growth right now. When I saw the co-relation, I saw an opportunity in government to begin to add value, especially from Benue state where I am from which is the food basket of Nigeria. I see my work in agriculture in connection with my life goal to create jobs.”
“The success of the #Nottooyoungtorun movement is for me that for the first time, young people can come together to mobilise, and get a bill passed. From a success point of view, in the area of #Nottooyoungtorun, young people are not in leadership because of the age barrier alone. There is a financial barrier, experience barrier and an internal party barrier which makes it difficult for young people to participate actively in politics.”
“I learned from the bad examples because I know what I do not want to look like at the end of my political journey. No, in the sense that no one is holding my hands, in the sense that my programme, that inspired my venture into policy, there is no specific person pursuing that agenda. The connection between agriculture, youth employment and women employment is relatively new and I have not seen anyone doing anything in that path. So, I will be mentoring others on that path.”