Trusting we all had an amazing new year and are fired up for what the 2020’s hold for us as individuals and as a society.
In the SING community we have been reviewing 2019 and setting the agenda for 2020 and beyond. Furthermore, we have a whole lot of exciting projects in the offing, projects that will impact humanity in ways we cannot even now begin to fully appreciate
For us in SING Nigeria there is no component of our organization that we value more highly than you, our most esteemed volunteers and partners, because it is through your efforts and contributions that we are able to make as much impact as we do with limited human and material resources at our disposal. No doubt, you are living proof that “we all do better when we work together”, to borrow the words of Bill Clinton the 42nd American President.
My sojourn into development work and social crusades, has been driven by Barrack Obama’s counsel that “you have to seek out people who are not like you and you should not be afraid of people who know more than you do about something”, because ultimately no one can know everything about everything. Without coming together to work collectively, that developed society we all desire will continue to elude us, and we will continue to admire other nations for their own progress.
The world in which we live and work has continued to evolve, with knowledge playing an ever more prominent role in the creation and distribution of economic wealth. We live in a world where change is happening faster than at any other time in human history; with technological companies many of which did not even exist at the start of this millennium, in the driving seat, attaining multibillion dollar valuations in less than 20years. The world has now become one in which competition for jobs is no longer only between the boy in Benin and his counterpart in Bauchi, but between a child in Bauchi and his counterpart in Bangalore, India.
With the fourth industrial revolution now in full swing, and technology as its driving force, we shall be scaling up our Code 3 project, which is aimed at Upskilling 20,000 children to become world class professionals who will be equipped in the production and use of creative, intelligent technology. The Code 3 Project is conceived to arm Nigeria, with the right caliber of human capital base, to be a dominant player in the fourth industrial revolution, which is driven by information technology and artificial intelligence.
It is a known fact that development rises and falls on the quality of governance and we shall continue to, push for electoral reforms, with a view to ensuring credibility of electoral processes and election results in all it’s stages. In this area we engaged with many of you in the buildup to the 2019 General Elections and the offseason election in Bayelsa state. During one such engagements with Former President Goodluck Jonathan we were challenged when he rhetorically asked our team “Are we in Nigeria conducting elections in a climate where people are being manipulated and induced to vote candidates?”.
Consolidating on and harmonizing all our previous election projects, we have commenced a new campaign called the “End Money Politics” Campaign. The end money politics campaign is aimed at pushing for election campaign and political party financing reforms to promote more transparency, accountability and less pressure, for better candidates and elected officials to emerge. The “End Money Politics” campaign will also confront the issues of vote buying and other malpractices that rob the citizens of their right to expect accountability from leaders that are supposed to serve them.
The task of building a society and a government that is more inclusive and fair to all it’s citizens is as urgent as it is impertinent and equally one that requires the effort of all Nigerians in the interest of having a working society. Nigeria is suffering today from the ravages of violent crime in virtually all the regions of the country due to the fact that we have a large army of young people who have lost faith in the state and the system and have decided that taking to arms is the best means they have to express their grievances.
The current political system is not sustainable if we continue to see the widening gap between the rich and the poor, while the numbers of the extreme poor continue to grow at an alarming rate. Indeed the African proverb “if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together”, is apt to describe the choices before us and the option we must take as a people who want to go far is to pull together and go together. I look forward to an enriching relationship over the coming days and months of the year 2020, as we expand our projects in your localities and you continue to avail us of your skills, contributions and suggestions in our collective quest for a better Nigeria.
Happy and Prosperous New Year!
Comrade Idris A. Usman