The Platform Nigeria is a non-governmental and non-profit policy and governance initiative of Covenant Christian Centre which is geared primarily towards encouraging knowledge driven citizen participation and engagement in politics in Nigeria. Platform is a yearly event which is usually held on the 1st of October to commemorate the Independence day celebration of Nigeria. It
The Platform Nigeria is a non-governmental and non-profit policy and governance initiative of Covenant Christian Centre which is geared primarily towards encouraging knowledge driven citizen participation and engagement in politics in Nigeria.
Platform is a yearly event which is usually held on the 1st of October to commemorate the Independence day celebration of Nigeria. It is usually attended by hundreds of Nigerians every year with an impressive line-up of speakers from all walks of life, usually successful professionals or successful private business men and women. Over the years, the platform has paraded speakers like: Mrs Ibukun Awosika – the current Chairperson of First Bank Nigeria and the CEO of The Chair Centre, Mr Leke Alder – CEO of Alder Consulting, Professor Yemi Osinbajo – A Professor at Law and the Vice-President of Nigeria who was a regular speaker at the platform before he became Vice-President, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili – Former Minister of Education and former Vice-President of the World Bank, Mr Segun Adeniyi – Chairman Editorial Board of ThisDay Newspapers. In more recent times we have seen speakers like: Alibaba – The king of standup comedy in Nigeria, Seun Onigbinde – Founder of BudgIT.
From the above listed speakers, it is obvious that the platform is a meeting for serious minded individuals who are interested in gaining relevant knowledge to move the country forward. This year’s edition which was the 11th October 1st platform, was titled: The Economic Value of Nigeria and How Nigeria can be made to work. As usual, the line-up of speakers was breath taking and it was an experience worth having with each speaker making their point with some thought provoking quotes.
The opening speech was said by the Visionary and Convener of the platform and Senior Pastor of Covenant Christian Centre, Pastor ‘Poju Oyemade. He made a case for the fact that speaking the right words is God’s way of enacting change and that every Nigerian must be involved in the politics of the nation as it affects us all. Here are some quotes from his speech.
“Words of wisdom are always better than weapons of war.”
“This generation must opens its eyes to the way politics is played.”
“Freedom of speech when used intelligently will always drive the wheels of change.
“An enlightened populace is key to good governance.”
The first speaker of the event was Rev. Sam Adeyemi. He spoke on: Unleashing the potentials for wealth creation.
The Land Use Act must go!!!
“For the potential of the average Nigerian to create wealth to be unleashed, we need to be given property rights more easily.
“When it takes you 5 years to transfer land ownership at the land registry, how can you gain economic value from it? The elite class makes it difficult for you to own land, which is a baseline for building wealth.”
“To buy landed property & to wait for years for Governor’s Consent or Certificate of Occupancy is a formula for mass poverty and without a change of names at the Land Registry, the potential cash value of the property cannot be realized.”
On intellectual property right, he noted that…
“You create or innovate with new ideas, if they don’t steal or frustrate your idea, they leave you at the mercy of pirates.”
Government accountability and citizen participation in politics
“Dear Nigerian, the media has been democratized. Speak out. Leaders are not used to being accountable in our part of the world.”
“Practice accountable leadership. Don’t make yourself more powerful than the institution you are helping to build.”
“Leaders need to be accountable now. You may need to set up a platform to champion one or more of these changes.”
“If we allow the current political and economic structures to subsist, it is predictable that we will live in an undeveloped Nigeria.”
“Any government at any level that doesn’t expend the budget very well & make it easy for citizens to prosper should be voted.”
“We must all pay attention to the budgets and ask for regular reports on how they are being executed.”
“We must follow our money henceforth. No one should be allowed to go into government to get rich.”
“We must compel the legislative and executive arms of government to rapidly increase the ease of doing business.”
“Let us join the political parties en-masse, for the sake of our future and that of our children and grandchildren.”
“Any polices party that does not promote democracy allowing anyone & everyone to contest their primaries should be punished at the elections.”
“If you serve well, you’ll be able to leverage on goodwill to prosper after you leave government.”
“Any political office holder, who will not openly & diligently work towards economic changes should be voted out at the next elections.”
“We need to change our political institutions and then our economic institutions.”
Reducing the powers of public office holders
“We must reduce the powers of political office holders, make their offices unattractive for getting rich & compel them to prosper us.”
On Bank loans for SMEs
“You deposit your money in banks, the banks won’t loan you the money. They loan it to themselves.
“We need competition among financial institutions to serve us so they can drive down interest rates & make funds available.”
“We must compel our political and economic institutions to make credit available to us to actualize our ideas & our dreams.”
Other notable quotes from him include…
“New technology can be destructive. But we must allow “creative destruction” if we must prosper .”
“Success is not a matter of chances but a matter of choices.”
“There is a part of God in every man. Whatever God does not deserve, a human being does not deserve it. Next time you have to build an airport & you remember that it is God that’ll use it, you will build a world heaven class airport.”
Segun Adeniyi spoke on: Between Luggage Economy and Knowledge Economy. Notable quotes from his session:
“Let us smile not because we don’t have problems but because we are stronger than the problems.”
“The Knowledge and ingenuity of a nation’s leaders makes the difference.”
Bolanle Austen-Peters who talked about Creativity, Innovation and Development said: “Nigeria is like a spoilt child of a rich parent. She got plenty for doing nothing.”
Adding that: “If we don’t get involved in politics, we don’t have any business complaining.”
In the words of Professor Osaghae Eghosa, Vice-Chancellor of Igbinedion University…
“Politics is a master science & all leaders must be tutored in its depth otherwise one cannot rule justly.”
“They say we are 170 million people, I think that is fiction. How can you grow an economy when you don’t have data? We need to get a way of getting and knowing basic information.”
“What’s the economic value of Nigeria? Very huge, very vast but unknown.”
“We must let people who know be the vanguard of our transformation.”
The man whose presentation and story-telling skills caught the attention of the world, Peter Obi had a lot to say about cutting cost of governance.
“This country can still function on its income if we learn how to cut cost.”
“It costs an average of N2billion to run the office of the First Lady in every state in Nigeria. Multiply by 36.”
On bailout funds he said: “It is not wise to pay the bill of the drunk while he is still at the bar. Get him out of the bar first.”
“My job is not to make people happy there are people in the entertainment industry that do that. Mine is to make good decisions.”
“You have no country but this one, no one can build it for you. Those people out there, they don’t know you, they don’t care.”
“Take back your country, it is your future they are toying with. It is your country, take it back!”
Bishop Matthew Kukah rounded the event off with one standout quote: “I am a priest, what I market is Hope. Hope is not in recession.”