A leading Youth Development Firm in Nigeria, RISE Networks has concluded plans for a Television Program tagged Nigeria’s 2011 Elections SHOWDOWN with the slogan, “anything about without us is not for us” to be aired on Channels daily at 3.15pm - 4pm on weekdays from March 14th till April 22nd.
SHOWDOWN is based on constructive engagement to enable Young Nigerians match advocacy with action through a peaceful revolutionary platform and the pivotal role of RISE is to inform and enlighten young people on their fundamental rights as major determinants of winners and losers in the electoral process while also demanding accountability from elected office holders at all Levels of Government. The ignominious state of Nigeria as a Nation of educated illiterates, Jobless Graduates, Crime, poverty and an unstable economy is as a result of the hitherto abysmal failure of Leadership in Nigeria and its attendant saddening impact on the citizenry, especially the most significant voting bloc, the Youth who form 55percent of the entire Nation’s population. Speaking in Lagos at a World Press Briefing in the week, Toyosi Akerele, the Executive Director of RISE Networks explained to Press men that one of the major purposes for conceptualizing and hosting the Television Program is to institutionalize credible and accountable Leadership at all levels of Government through Mass Sensitization using all available Media, online and offline, local and international. She added that Rise has impactful and massive presence in about 15 Nigerian States across all the 6 geo-political zones and they will leverage on this advantage to deploy relevant electoral and advocacy information to all classes of young people in various communities in the Country. While responding to some of the questions posed by Youth Stakeholders present at the Briefing, the publicist for SHOWDOWN, Tope Falade informed that the citizen’s framework embedded in the Program will allow extensive youth participation by voting in Election Polls on www.risenetworks.org/showdown to feel the pulse of young people on who they will like Nigeria’s next President to be. Youths can also vote by sending sms through a short code. Daily Results will be announced and shown on Channels Television. Reacting to the fears and speculations expressed by other Community Leaders during the conference that Politicians in Nigeria are not responsive to Young people except when they need to use them to perpetrate vices, Toyosi expressed vehement confidence that as a result of the unprecedented political consciousness on the part of Nigerian Young people, the 2011 Elections will not be business as usual. She also said that the level of awareness is evident in the increased percentage of registered voters for the forthcoming elections and that young people are now aware that once they sell their vote, they will be helpless for another 4years during the time which most of our Leaders will spend amassing wealth and writing the next script for their story telling exercise on reasons why they should be re-elected, though without providing any succor nor transformational leadership for their people. If those politicians plan to win any election, they had better start speaking with Youths not to themselves because their rich family and friends don’t vote, a Young Man at the Press briefing cautioned. Moreso, this is the first and only Youth Focused, analysis based Program on Nigerian Television for this 2011 Elections. Do we have to wait for what happened in Egypt, Libya or Tunisia to happen in Nigeria before our Leaders understand that the Nigerians are tired of the status quo? How can Nigeria be labeled giant of Africa when there is a fundamental disconnect between the Leadership and the people. Toyosi explained that objective and change driven Young persons who are non-partisan will be invited as Discussants with some of the Presidential and gubernatorial candidates on the Program while we will call for inputs and ideas on anti-rigging measures to be implemented during the forthcoming elections.
Advocacy Materials will be available for download on the RISE website for Internet Savvy young persons who are privileged to have access to technology to use as their profile photos and status updates on Social Networks such as Facebook and Twitter. As at the time of release, apart from Channels Television as Lead Sponsor that donated free Airtime for the Program for 30 straight days and other Companies such as Vas2Nets who donated Free Short Codes, bellanaija.com, Lindaikeji.blogspot, The Nation and The Sun Newspapers who have donated full pages for daily analysis and reviews, we haven’t received any financial contribution from any Corporate Entity nor Individual as yet but we have enjoyed incredible support from young Nigerians up hill and down dale, Mr Adeniyi Adewunmi, the Project Officer told Newsmen. He also said the excitement and overwhelming positive response from young Nigerians from all parts of the world since RISE launched SHOWDOWN on the internet is a clear indication that money cannot stop us from driving the vehicles of our destinies. We will pull through, we are the turning point generation, Adeniyi added. We need young people to join forces with us and donate their services and expertise to SHOWDOWN in any little way possible. Some of the TOPICS to be discussed on the Program include an analysis of the Preparedness of INEC for Nigeria’s 2011 Elections, the Role of Community Leaders in the Electoral process, Niger Delta Crisis, Demystifying Political Parties for Youth Participation, Youth Organizations and their influence and interest in Free and Fair Elections, Students and their roles as Election Rigging Machineries and Political Thugs. The Program will also feature Youth Parliament Discussion and Engagement with Presidential and Vice Presidential Candidates, Argumentative Debates of Youth Representatives of Presidential candidates to convince other Young Nigerians to vote their Principals as Nigeria’s President, Performance appraisal of Governors across the 6 Geo Political Zones of Nigeria. The Press Release circulated also succinctly captured the specific demands of Nigerian Youth such as Energy and Power, Value Re-orientation, Education Advancement, Employment Generation, Wealth Creation and Access to Funding.
Security Personnel such as State Security Service and the Police will be interviewed on issues of Kidnapping, Thuggery, Assassinations and bombings amongst others. NYSC and its relevance or otherwise will be treated as a matter of priority and Do or Die Politics and the sit tight leadership syndrome currently gaining ground in Nigeria will be discussed elaborately. RISE will ensure that Youth Led and Micro Credit / Small and Medium Enterprises, New Media, Social Networking, Use of Technology in Electoral Process also form the focal point of the Television Program. All three Mondays after the Saturdays that are Election days will majorly be for selected young people to analyze the results from the Elections and also state their expectations after the Elections. Nigerians in Diaspora can watch LIVE on the Internet on www.channelstv.com on your PC, IPAD, IPHONE, ANDROID and BLACKBERRY.
The Program will be anchored by Chinedu Chidi, winner of the 2010 Debaters Reality TV Show and Lami Phillips, United Nations Youth Envoy.
Toyosi ended by saying the book of Lamentations wasn’t written because of Nigerians and advised that the Politicians should provide manifestations not manifestoes. We are willing to help our Leaders deliver good governance and inspiring leadership only if they begin to understand that in practical terms, youth is a state of pending responsibility and the future of Nigeria rests on our Shoulders.
More information is available on www.risenetworks.org/showdown.