WE2GEDA Is A Project To Reformat Nigeria – Convener

Ibrahim Hassan Abdulkareem is an ICT strategic and business development expert. A graduate of Geography from Bayero University Kano, he is the Chief Executive Officer of EasyGIS Limited, a firm that spearheaded the crowd-funding strategy under Buhari Support Group for the success of the 2015 presidential election.

In this interview with abujachronicle.com, IHA, as he is popularly known, bared his mind on the motives behind setting up WE2GEDA movement, its vision and how it intends to recruit members. As the national convener, he also described why Nigeria remains stagnant and how it can be salvaged.

What is the idea behind WE2GEDA Movement?

IHA: The idea behind WE2GEDA Movement is that we saw a nation that was going backward while agitations were increasing, people are losing hope, some sections want to detach from Nigeria, so some of us thought that it was better to be together than to have fragments of smaller nations.

Certainly something is going wrong, especially the issue of leadership, we decided that it is better we work on these knotty issues that is causing division. That is why we created this political awareness group in order to enlighten Nigerians, especially young men who are victims of political manipulations by the elite.

This movement, first, is trying to create citizenship, because if you want to build a nation, you have to start building citizens who believe in their nation and leaders. We also think of unification because no development would be achieved without unity and peace.

We2Geda is a movement of millions of young patriotic Nigerians, coming together to make a lasting difference in nation-building.

First of all, we identify religion or rather misuse of religious and tribal sentiments. We have to understand that development is a different ball game, attaching sentiments to everything won’t solve our lack of development.

For instance, nobody asks drug manufacturers of their religion or tribe when going to buy drugs for his/her ill-health, likewise no Muslim asks of who built an aircraft when going for Umrah or Hajj in Saudi Arabia. Based on these premise, we realized that our religious values ought to help us become better Nigerians, give us moral values to move as a people, not the other way round.

Religion should encourage us to give our best in building a just and equitable Nigeria. This movement believes absolutely that our major challenge is leadership. If we can get it right, all our challenges would almost be over.

WE2GEDA is committed to unifying and mobilising patriotic Nigerians from all walks of life. For the change we desire, we must come together, think together, move together and act together – it requires all Nigerians.

How does WE2GEDA plan to address multiple diversities in a fractured nation like Nigeria, where citizens from across the regions resort to ethnic, religious or regional affinities at the slightest provocation?

IHA: The best way to address and harness our diversity is first of all, appreciate the diversity that God endowed us with. Leadership should be from bottom-to-top not the way it is now top-to-bottom. When one looks at it from a religious perspective, people do give allegiance to their pastors or imam that is top-to-bottom, not minding the ones close to them, their neighbors, brothers and so on.

For instance, we can solve our problems easily in churches or mosques when we organize ourselves, there are doctors, engineers, administrators, businessmen and women, teachers and artisans instead of waiting for government to do it. There are people who can provide employment and mentor young ones.

If we can take care of ourselves from our local level, it would go national. For instance, this drug menace that is ravaging our peoples’ lives, instead of us to wait for the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, to come to our aid, we can start something within the society — to understand the root causes of the menace — who are the suppliers, who are those selling the drugs, the buyers and users, what are the devastating effects that drug abuse can cause in the locality? It is from these small and little iterations that we can build and solve problems within the context of that particular religion or region.

What would work for Illela dwellers in Sokoto State may not work for those in Degema in Bayelsa State. When one looks at our regions, we have different religions, traditions and customs. If you want to tailor and build a country, you have to tailor a system based on the peculiarities of each region. I think the First Republic politicians understood this concept very well and they used it to advance the nation.

Government needs to regulate preaching and the contents being churned out to people on a daily basis from the media and religious gatherings. We should contextualise information management system at different levels of governance. The north is still reeling from Boko Haram’s devastation as a result of misguided preaching.

For instance, in America, county issues are discussed at their local FMs and TVs, so people in that locality would be abreast of issues at their local level. We need to develop this type of framework for engagements.

Are there specific interventions that WE2GEDA have provided? When and where?

IHA: The movement was created to provide leadership. We are trying to create activities for the people. We are not going to do it through the headquarters of the movement, we will do it through local members in their communities. For instance, during the COVID-19 lockdown, we realised that there were acute shortage of water in many localities and communities and fortunately we have a water tank in Kaduna which we used to deliver water to many communities free of charge.

Likewise some of our members provided various interventions to cushion the effects of the lockdown. We also sensitised citizens about their civic responsibilities. If you check our handles you would discover many sensitization campaigns about the need to obtain or renew a Permanent Voters Card (PVC). We designed an app that links INEC portals so that we can do pre-registration for women in their households including new registration of youths who have attained the voting age.

After the pre-registration, WE2GEDA provided vehicles, free of charge to convey them to INEC offices for data and visual capture, feed and bring them back to their various localities, in addition to liaising with INEC officials to know when their cards are ready so that we can take them to collect it.

These and many more are part of our plan to encourage people to participate in the electoral process that would usher in a new set of responsive leaders. We also encourage our local members to identify some critical needs of the most vulnerable members of our society. For instance, during the rainy season, we identified some houses with leaky roofs and flooded compounds; we quickly assisted with the little amount we had to buy corrugated roofs.

We are doing our own intervention. We are not trying to force leaders on the people, what we want is for citizens to come to terms with responsive leadership at the local level, we are providing same, so that when elections come they will know the type of leaders to elect.

Is WE2GEDA a regional movement? Do you plan to extend it across the Niger considering that the 2023 election is fast approaching?

IHA: WE2GEDA is a national movement. What we do differently is that we segment it to suit regional and geo-political considerations. We encourage every region, locality and community to formulate their own WE2GEDA that suits their peculiarities within the core values of the movement.

Our vision is to harness democratic partnerships and technology to unify Nigerians all over the world to actualize a free, peaceful and prosperous nation. Our mission is to ensure a secure, prosperous and united Nigeria, through the peaceful transference of power led by capable leaders to lead Nigeria to become a 21st century economy; galvanise political participation and demystify the flaws in the system including money-politics, godfatherism etc; leverage the strength of our young people with a view to increasing their patriotism and commitment for Project-Nigeria and the firm belief that a re-invented Nigeria is possible.

Our goal is to create a new generation of patriotic and competent leaders to lead Nigeria.

When you look at our logo, which, of course I get a lot of questions from many quarters on what it implies. I simply answer that if you observe the arrows, it looks as if it is pointing at one direction, that is vision. It appears Nigeria doesn’t have a vision at the moment, therefore, the most important thing is to have a vision and mission.

For instance, we have three tiers of government, executive, legislative and judiciary and each of these tier is going in different directions, hence our logo is implying that they ought to face the same direction so that citizens and their leaders are in sync.

On our societal aspect, you will discover that there are three strata of people, the middle class, upper and lower class, so our mission is to cluster these groups of people, so that those at the upper and middle levels can assist the lower strata. That is the aim of our logo, we stay together, whether in crisis or in peace time.

We have a central message system, but we design in different formats, the message for citizens in Sabon Birni or Isa Local Councils in Sokoto is different from the one in Nkanu North or Nkanu East Local Councils of Enugu State.

The central theme is the unity of Nigeria. The need for us to harness our God given resources. Even the timing and programmes we designed are different in other to suit our multiple diversity. I am in charge of all WE2GEDA handles and some political programmes on VisionFM, Liberty TV and the rest.

How do you recruit members and what methods have you put in place to guard against hijacking the movement by political money bags?

We are currently expanding our membership base through referral registration. For instance, if we meet at a function, political or social and we engage in a discussion, I will introduce it to you, if you are convinced, I will send a referral code for you to register and get your number, many can join through your referral code. We created a system so that we can have a reference line to talk to our members.

Our numbers are growing on a daily basis. There is also open registration, where people will go to our site www.we2geda.ng and register using a general code, we2ID700, through this method, we know those who came in without any reference, maybe through our social media handles.

We are identifying our members through their states and localities because we want our activities to start from the local level up to national level. We have devolved power to the local level for us to build a bottom-to-top leadership selection process.

Is WE2GEDA transforming into a political party?

Yes we are planning to register a political party. We discovered that Nigeria cannot develop as a result of lack of internal democratic rights in these existing parties, especially the two dominant ones. We have applied to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and have submitted the entire requirements for registration.

Compatriot Party of Nigeria (CPN) is the name, we are waiting for the electoral umpire to register us. CPN is the next level of WE2GEDA movement. Ours is a 2031 project. We are not keen on the hype but to build a durable and strong foundation.

We believe in building strong internal politics and provide a level playing field for people to believe in us that we are calling for a new Nigeria, and you know, good planning takes time to germinate, fixing a workable system is not a tea party, it requires time, a marathon, that is why we are projecting a 10-year plan of action.

We have to create a platform to absorb people and iterate who we are, what we want and how to achieve our objectives. Our strategic plan is to get few people, at the beginning who believe in us, if we can get 10% of elective positions in 2023, it will be good, by 2027, we move to reach 20%, using the modest achievements of our elective members, so by 2031 we aim for more elective positions.

It is known as Compatriot Party of Nigeria because we want new generations of compatriots, active citizens who believe in Nigeria, who yearn for a better system, who strive to build a great nation under God where ethnicity and regionalism are things of the past.

We work hard using the instrumentality of virtual space and also physical, to narrate our objectives, visions, missions and so on. We believe that Nigerians from all strata of the society will trust us.

How do you raise funds for the movement’s activities?

IHA: Money, money, money. A lot of people ask us how we generate money for this project. Nigerians are not seeing the best part of this nation, which is why we are suffering. Crowd-funding. We also have 200 million citizens, if we squeeze ourselves, for instance, if we can target 68 million youths, out of these 68 million, if we have 1million youths in WE2GEDA, we will rule Nigeria.

These 1million youths, if we get N1,000 per month, or N1,000 in six months, we would raise N1 billion, if you plough N1 billion into the system transparently and judiciously, it will make a great difference. What we lack is transparency and genuineness. We will leverage on technology, for instance, we will create a slot in our website where anybody from any part of Nigeria can contribute, it will show that so and so person from Gembu in Jalingo or Oyekiri in Bayelsa has contributed and the total will be shown.

If we spend N1 out of the money, it will show the reasons and projects, it is as simple as that. Crowd-funding is what we will use to build a nation. Was it not crowd-funding that brought in the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015?

Nigerians know that in 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari didn’t have the kind of funds to win the election, so it is simple, if we have a transparent system, many Nigerians will join and sanitise the polity. The problem is that these major parties don’t have a movement within themselves that will put pressure on them to do what is right, that is why we are in this mess.

We also have genuine Diasporans who are used to workable systems, they want to see Nigeria develop like their counterparts, we will mobilise them to contribute, but first, we have to do our work transparently for us to earn respect.

We intend to create a system run by the people, not the other way round so that the system will automatically check itself. It will engage in people-driven activities. On a final note, WE2GEDA is open to all Nigerians, no gender hindrance, no religious difference, no age barrier.

Building a nation requires hard work from active and patriotic citizens with workable plans to deliver Nigeria from economic and political stagnation and achieve greatness – that is our creed.