The team here at Breaking Times had the opportunity to chat with the very dynamic and smart youth leader of Kowa Party, Jude Feranmi. He shared his thoughts and vision for his party and stated that he believed that Kowa was the vehicle that will bring the desired change, Nigerians were yearning for.
Enjoy the interview-
Could you please introduce yourself to our readers
I am Jude Feranmi, my friends call me J.F.K and I am the youth leader of KOWA party and I have been involved in advocacy from the age of 16. In fact, I am the youngest National youth leader in the country. I am 25 right now.
What inspired you to join politics?
I have 6 years of experience in Civil society and advocacy, when occupy Nigeria started I was involved with that, I went to Bayelsa state on a peacebuilding mission, I also volunteered at Budgit, but I realised that no matter how passionate you are, there is a limit to how much you can achieve, because where the buck stops is with the politicians, as an activist, you can only pressure. So for me Politics is the vehicle to actually create the kind of society you want.
Okay, we would just delve into the current political situation, what do you think about the President’s absence and the VP’s Performance so far?
The President has been absent for 48 days now, but luckily for him we have an acting president that seems to have filled in the shoes of the Presidency in my own opinion much more than President Buhari. The Acting President has actually visited the Niger Delta, he has worked on the ease of doing business, whether that is effective is a different story. The tag ‘presidential’ is something that you can apply to the Acting President, but unfortunately not to our President.
Wow, you seem to really like the Acting President
Yes, he is my acting president and I am the youth leader of an opposition party, using a Yoruba proverb ‘when you see an elephant, say it is an elephant, do not call it a mouse.
So you’re saying it as it is
The Youths make up more than 65% of the population and your party has been an advocate of youth participation in politics, how do you hope to achieve effective participation of youths in politics by 2019.
‘KOWA party is going to shock Nigerians in 2019’ and I mean this in every sense of the word, because as regards to youth participation as you rightly said 65% of Nigeria’s population are young people and 65% of people who vote are actually young people. In that young people group, you have students, recent graduates, corpers, workers and just the poor guy on the street hustling to make money. Kowa is putting in place a campus outreach program and we intend to have a presence in all of the 168 tertiary institutions in the country by the end of the year.
Okay, so what do you think is the problem with the running of the economy and what would KOWA do differently about the economy if your voted in?
The problem with the running of the economy at the moment is that the community on economic recovery does not include the organised private sector, so key economists in the country like Bismarck Rewane and Pat Utomi are consultants to the committee not members and this is something that started in this present administration. Also, under the Jonathan administration an Ngozi Okonjo Iweala was telling Nigerians that the economy was growing but it was only on paper. It also took the president 6 months, to appoint an economic team. So for us at Kowa, we are going to put people in who CAN actually do the job and have been tested and, who will hit the ground running.
Okay, we always hear about values when it comes to Kowa. How do you hope to uphold the values of Kowa party consistently, especially if you win power in 2019?
Kowa Party right now is self filtering, so you can’t say to yourself that I want money and so I will join Kowa. There is a particular crop of young Nigerians that are attracted to us and for you to contest on Kowa you have to subscribe to our service commitment, Gbadepo Rhodes our candidate for the Ikeja Constituency elections always says we are looking for scapegoats, people who think they can join the party and not subscribe to our principles, we will expel and denounce them and pronounce publicly that this is not what we stand for.
What if the politician starts being corrupt after winning on the Kowa Platform?
There are no sacred cows, we will still expel and denounce them.
How would Kowa Party compete with the other parties in terms of money?
In Kowa we do not have God fathers and so that eliminates a big portion of money spending for elections.
Okay but what about the fact that most parties do stomach infrastructure like giving money and sharing rice to the electorate, how do you compete with that?
Well at Kowa we believe in lending a hand to gain a heart and the way we go about it is by proffering solutions and interacting with the communities we want to serve before we have even gotten into office. For instance our candidate, Gbadepo Rhodes running to represent Ikeja Constituency has been working hard on how to solve the issue of waste, which is a big problem in Ikeja, that is the way of showing genuine concern for the people even before we have been elected by them. We show up for them and not this fire brigade approach of showing up on election day with bribes. Our strategy is we show up even before we have been elected that is how we intend to compete.
What do you do for fun?
I enjoy playing Basketball.
Are you running for office in 2019?
No, because I feel that there is still a lot I want to do to build the party.
Thank you for granting us this interview.
Disclaimer- this was not a verbatim relay of the interview as we edited parts of it to compress it to a short piece.