When President Barack Obama visited Ghana in 2009, he said that Africa does not need strong leaders but strong institutions. Even Obama recognised that leadership is a problem in the continent. Of course, he was not referring to Ghana alone, he was talking to the whole of Africa including Nigeria. Leadership has been the major challenge from time immemorial in Nigeria. This is about to change as OurLeaders.Africa is launching soon to fix the problem of bad leadership in Nigeria. We caught with Nosa L. Igbinedion, one of the promoters of OurLeaders.Africa who told how the startup intends to change the face of leadership in the country.
Tell us about OurLeaders.Africa and what it has to offer Nigerians?
OurLeaders.Africa will be launched in December 2017, under Olubrain Technologies. The platform will offer Nigerians an opportunity to contribute to the governance and leadership in the Country. The Mission of OL.A is to ‘Foster better leadership’. Above all else, if we can fix the problem of bad leadership, I believe significant changes can be made that will positively impact the lives of Nigerians.
How will you ensure quality control in performance tracking to prevent sycophants from hijacking it?
Quality of content on the platform is of utmost importance. In order to sustain top quality content and deter any sycophantic behaviour, we have put a structure in place that allows us to verify every piece of information in-house. Meaning, when it comes to the verification of projects, policies, or other updates from political leaders, we don’t go by hear-say, instead, we have professionals doing the groundwork to verify every piece of information we get. So we have control over the information supply chain of information, leaving no room for errors.
Is the product free or you intend to monetise it in the future?
The platform will be free to use for the foreseeable future. No solid monetization plans have been put in place yet.
We all complain about leadership in Nigeria and Africa. Do you think the tracking of the performance of political leaders can lead to attitudinal change among these leaders?
Merely tracking the performance of leaders will be quite futile. That won’t change much. However, tracking the performance of leaders and holding them accountable based on the results of their performance is where we will see a difference. The reason we have bad leadership is simply that there’s no accountability, and the reason there’s no accountability is because there’s no information. OL.A aims to provide that information.
What do you think will be the impact of OurLeaders.Africa when it comes to winning elections in Nigeria?
In terms of winning elections, OL.A will be able to provide useful and vital information for both the leaders and the people. Upcoming leaders will be able to gain insights from the people, and the people will have adequate knowledge of every leader in order to guide their decisions in voting. Due to the lack of information, we don’t vote leaders into office, we vote them out. Meaning, when we don’t like the incumbent leader, we vote for whoever has the best stories, billboards and social media presence. No data to back our decisions. OL.A will provide that.
We focus on the Federal Government while we don’t know who represents us in the senate and house of assembly. How do OurLeaders.Africa intend to tackle this to guarantee proper evaluation of members of the national assembly by the citizens?
OL.A will have detailed profiles of *every* political leader. From the President to your Local Govt. Chairman. So if a local govt. chairman wants to run for a higher political position, say, Governor, you can easily view his performance in his previous role. What did he accomplish as a Local Govt. Chairman? Did he make any impact? Was he competent? What decisions did he make that were conducive to the development of his local govt.? Same thing goes for the House of Reps. We’re able to track their performance and how it impacts their constituencies.
Do you have measures or mechanisms in place to ensure that the political evaluation of a particular leader reaches him or her?
Most definitely. OL.A is equally for the leaders as it is for the people. We actually expect to have direct participation from these leaders in the future. The leaders will be involved and informed of their evaluations.
Is OurLeaders.Africa meant to review the performance of only political leaders? What about the performance of the police, civil service and other government ministries and parastatals?
OL.A will also track the performance of leaders in other government ministries. For example, a profile of the IGP (Inspector General of Police) will also be on the platform, as we know that it is an important leadership position.
Any other relevant information
Whereas we plan to go the extra length to accomplish the mission of this project, which is to foster better leadership, this is not a platform to bash nor slander leaders. It’s to create a constructive dialogue between the people and the leaders.