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Joel Oyeyinka Popoola: The Technological Democrat

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By Eric Elezuo

“Across the world, democracy is changing forever, and Nigeria is no different. Voters expect to have more influence on politics than our traditional representative democracy can necessarily accommodate. As a result, voters are either defecting to anti- establishment parties or becoming more and more attracted by direct action.

“People’s political priorities and motivations are becoming more and more disparate and unpredictable, and politicians are clearly failing to ascertain what voters really want.”- Oyeyinka Popoola

The world of men of ideas is ruled by dedication, commitment, unwavering focus and total achievement. This is the world of Mr. Joel Oyeyinka Popoola, the founder of Rate Your Leader Ltd and Co- Founder of Aacle Ltd, who was motivated by the above to give to the world a first class app to bridge the gap between politicians and electorate.

Popoola, fondly called Joel or Yinka by well wishers, grew up in Gbongan, where he had his primary and post primary education, beginning with St Paul’s Anglican Primary School before proceeding to Gbongan Community High School.

A British Citizen of Nigerian decent, Popoola studied Accounting with background in Banking, Finance and Insurance.  He is also a Masters degree holder in Managerial Psychology obtained from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria’s Premier University. Here is a man whose penchant for knowledge in an ever competitive world propelled him into the IT world where he has practiced professional software testing consultancy spanning a period of four uninterrupted and highly productive and eventful years.

Popoola, Luke Graham MP, and Alan at All Party Parliamentary China Group, House of Commons Dinner

His earliest career path saw him traversing through two superior finanacial institutions based in his home country, Nigeria; they are United Bank for Africa (UBA) and the former Intercontinental Bank, which is today a part of the ever growing Access Bank. These institutions sharpened, shaped and honed his professional skills and grounded him in distinguishing Leadership roles with excellent service delivery in Banking Operations, Customer Care Management, Branch Start-up and Management, Relationship Management, Business Development, Risk Management and Information Technology.

Passionate about delivering exceptional services and standards within the un-compromised confines of policies and procedures in the achievement of high-demanding objectives and corporate targets, Popoola who lives permanently in England, has not forgotten that charity begins at home. He brings this phenomenon to life with his constant thoughts directed at events on the home front, especially the forthcoming general elections which is just a few weeks away. His desire to see the execution of the best of elections led to the creation of the Nigeria Democracy App, Rate Your Leader. This is a technology dedicated to correcting the inability and unwillingness of social media giants to crack down on bots and trolls, which inadvertently has had an adverse effect on their users, politicians and even global democracy.

Popoola’s consistency has over the years engendered his capabilities to not only execute his deliverables, but to also exceed expectations in doing so. He is such a force to reckon with.

Probably proper to refer to him as a man who saw tomorrow, Popoola is using his technology to connect politicians with verified local electors using abuse-proof technology aims to ‘Take back democracy with technology.

Mr Popoola and wife

Hear him: “Around the world, from Trump supporters in America to Gillets Jaunes in France to Brexit supporters in the UK, people are feeling more and more out of touch with politics, and it’s only a matter of time before a similar apathy descends on Nigeria. One in three Nigerians uses Facebook; and technology offers the opportunity to connect politicians and people like never before. That dichotomy is driven by social media giants being unwilling, unable or both to effectively crack down on trolls and bots.”

Helen Goodman, MP Bishop Auckland and Mr Popoola at House of Commons All Party Parliamentary China Group Dinner

He stated further, “Democracy is now digital, which means social media companies have a responsibility to provide a safe space for both politicians and our democracy and they are evidently failing on both fronts. As a result, a troubling amount of our political debate in other parts of the world is dominated by Russian trolls and computerised bots while actual politicians are forced off social media by 21 st century pitchfork-wielding mobs. That cannot be right.”

Popoola’s ingenuity sets standard in celebrating knowledge based on proven integrity towards rekindling an abuse-proof digital platform which connects voters and politicians. He has personally urged electorate to embrace new technology to ‘take back democracy’ or risk the downside.

Mr. Popoola, wife and children

The Rate Your Leader app is a global online platform which helps politicians engage only with voters in their constituencies in an abuse-proof way and allows elected leaders to truly understand what matters most to the people who elect them while allowing local people to identify and contact their representatives at the touch of a button, direct from their phones or tablets. That is ingenuity at the highest level.

He noted: “Since Twitter, Facebook and others are not stepping up to the plate on this, we clearly need new democratic tech which allows genuine residents to interact with their elected officials in an abuse-proof way. Our Rate Your Leader technology can do it, so why can’t the tech giants? The technology allows elected leaders to truly understand what matters most to the people who elect them while allowing local people to identify and contact their representatives at the touch of a button, direct from their phones or tablets. The app, which also allows people to check if they are registered to vote and identify their elected representatives at the touch of a button, is free to download from the App store and other app marketplaces.”

Rt. Honourable John Bercow, The Speaker of House of Commons and Mr Popoola, at the Northumberland Police and Crime Commissioner’s Annual Lecture

Consequently, as many that has lost faith in their representatives has just got their faith rekindled. The tech-preneur quoted a research from YouGov, an international Internet-based market research and data analytics firm, headquartered in the UK, with operations across the world, which declared that only 18% of voters trust politicians to ‘do what is right’, with 66% believing their elected officials put personal interest before communal interest.

With the CEO of NHS at 2018 Director of the Year Award

This decline in faith in traditional politics, he said, has coincided with the election of explicitly anti-establishment leaders in the United States, Brazil, Mexico, the Philippines and India, the result of the Brexit referendum the UK and in the case of the Gillets Jaunes, Paris, direct action on the streets. The Rate Your Leader has practically eased the distrust, thanks to the foresightedness of Mr. Popoola.

Popoola has set a personal and professional value-chain of goals, and has a proven track-record of adding value and raising the bar through unfettered contribution of significant milestones to business performance.

R-L Tope, Jeff and Mr. Popoola

The achiever is a member of Tech London Advocates, and an Advance Member of The Institutes of Directors, and is totally, passionately and irrevocably committed to working with positive-minded people in creating a better world.

Stephen Hepburn MP, Jarrow Constituency and Joel Popoola at the House of Commons

Mr Popoola is married to Dr. Olusola Popoola nee Awomolo, and they are blessed with two lovely children Praise and Ife.

Sir, for your dexterity and can do attitude, you are our Boss of the Week. Congratulations!

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Gbajabiamila Threatens to Report Service Chiefs to Buhari for Shunning Security Meeting

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Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, yesterday, berated the nation’s military Service Chiefs for allegedly refusing to appear before the House to offer explanations on the security situation in the country.

A visibly disappointed Gbajabiamila, who described their action as an insult to the National Assembly, promised to report the matter to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Gbajabiamila noted with dismay that the act of shunning the invitation of the National Assembly by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Abayomi Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas and the Chief of the Air Staff (CAF), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, was uncalled for.

The Speaker, who declined to meet with representatives of the Service Chiefs, directed the affected military officers to appear before the House on Monday morning.

He commended the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Abubakar Adamu; the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Bichi and the Comptroller General (CG) of Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammad Babandede, who were present at the meeting.

Gbajabiamila described the conduct of the Service Chiefs as a sad development since all arms of government were supposed to work in unison for the development of the country and the benefit of Nigerians.

He said: “Let me first of all commend Mr President for the commitment he has shown in trying to stem the spate of insecurity in the country. Mr President has to have people he would delegate those powers to as the Commander-in-Chief as dictated by our constitution.

“Mr President has delegated those powers to the Service Chiefs, so we decided to call this meeting, as representatives of the people. Let me commend the Inspector General of Police for being here personally. Let me also commend the DG DSS and the CG Nigerian immigration for being here.

“Let me say, as a House, as an institution, I cannot understate my disappointment or our disappointment that the rest of the Service Chiefs are not here.

“Again, like I said, we called this meeting because it was inevitable. It was important. You can see members from Borno State here. There is a crisis in Borno State right now.

“We wanted to hear from the Service Chiefs to know what was going on, how the House can help and what the problems are as well as what are the challenges; to talk about strategy, to talk about what we need to do.

“I’m sure you really didn’t expect the House to fold its arms while people in Maiduguri and other parts are being killed. There is migration now from local councils in Borno State to Maiduguri. Here we are, we called the Armed Forces coordinated by the CDS, who is not here with Service Chiefs being represented. I’m actually at a loss.

“For me, I believe my colleagues are in tandem with this. The Service Chiefs — the CDS, the COAS, the CNS and the CAS — are not represented as far as we are concerned. I’m sorry, when I said not represented, as far as I’m concerned, the heads are not here, the Service Chiefs are not here. I know one or two of these Service Chiefs were somewhere yesterday night. I am aware of that.

“I can almost say it shows a disdain for this institution. The budget is on its way. Yes, we need to talk about that. What do you need? What is required? I’m almost embarrassed. To tell you the truth. I’m almost embarrassed.”

The Speaker added: “There was no call placed to my office to explain why. I’m just seeing accountants and representatives. So, I’m not sure how to handle this, because I don’t think this is happening anywhere in any Parliament that I know of in the world, where the head of parliament will call the Service Chiefs for a nagging problem, how to resolve it and you have what we have here as representations.

“So, I think it’s important that we might need to postpone this meeting to Monday morning. I will personally see the President myself.  We are supposed to work together as a body, but it shows lack of seriousness apart from the disdain on Parliament. It shows that this is not as serious to the level that we believe it is. Unfortunately, this meeting can no longer hold.”

In his terse remarks, the Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase, described the development as an insult to his person and the institution of the legislature.

“In strong terms, I condemn those who have deemed it fit not to be here. As far as I’m concerned, as the Chairman of a Committee, I never attended to any agency in the absence of the chief executives and the accounting officers, and I know that these Service Chiefs are the accounting officers in their various agencies. It is our practice, tradition and I am insulted.”

After the remarks, the Speaker postponed the meeting to Monday morning. Present at the session were some principal officers of the House and chairmen of relevant security committees.

The Guardian

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FG Slams Sowore with Treason Charges, Accuses Him of Insulting Buhari

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The Federal Government on Friday filed seven counts of treasonable felony and money laundering against the Convener of #RevolutionNow protest, Mr Omoyele Sowore.

Sowore, publisher of Sahara Reporters and a presidential candidate in the February 2019 presidential election, is charged along with Olawale Bakare, also known as Mandate.

The charges were signed on behalf of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), by Aminu Alilu, a Chief State Counsel in the Department of Public Prosecutions of the Federation, the Federal Ministry of Justice.

The charges were filed a day before the expiration of the detention order of the Federal High Court in Abuja permitting the Department of State Service to keep the activist for 45 days.

The detention order elapses on September 21.

In the charges instituted against the defendants, the prosecution accused Sowore and his co-defendant of committing conspiracy to commit treasonable felony in breach of section 516 of the Criminal Code Act by allegedly staging “a revolution campaign on September 5, 2019 aimed at removing the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.

The prosecution also accused them of committing the actual offence of reasonable felony in breach of section, 4(1)(c) of the Criminal Code Act, by using the platform of Coalition for Revolution, in August 2019 in Abuja, Lagos and other parts of Nigeria, to stage the #RevolutionNow protest allegedly aimed at removing the President.

It also accused Sowore of cybercrime offences in violation of section 24(1)(b) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention) Act, by “knowingly” sending “messages by means of press interview granted on Arise Television network which you knew to be false for the purpose of causing insult, enmity, hatred and ill-will on the person of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

It also accused Sowore of money laundering offences in breach of section 15(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 by alleged transferring by means of swift wire.

The sums of money he was said to have been involved in the alleged transfers were the sums of $19,975 on April 2, 2019; $20,475 on May 21, 2019, $16,975 on June 27, 2019, and another $16,975 on July 16, 2019.

The DSS arrested Sowore in Lagos on August 2, 2019, following his call for revolution in a protest he organised to take place in some major cities on August 5.

The Punch

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Atiku Breaks Silence, Gives Reasons for Heading to Supreme Court

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The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the February 23, 2019 election, Atiku Abubakar, on Friday said he would appeal at the Supreme Court the verdict of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to ensure that votes of Nigerians count.

In his first official statement after President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress defeated him at the tribunal, he also said he believed he would get justice at the Supreme Court.

Atiku said, “Nothing good comes easy; and hard as the task to rid Nigeria of the forces of fascism and be an instrument for the full restoration of the rule of law and democracy in Nigeria is, your support makes the struggle worthwhile.

“I owe so much to this great land of Nigeria that took me from the streets of Jada, where I sold firewood to the heights I have attained, by God’s benevolence, in the civil service, in corporate Nigeria and in public service.

“If I do not play my part in making it possible for other orphaned children, indigent youths and the less privileged, to replicate and even surpass my path to significance, I would have failed my maker. If I do not ensure that the ladder I climbed remains accessible to those at the bottom, middle and top tiers of society, I would not have fulfilled my purpose.

He added, “And only by ensuring that democracy is not just done but seen to be done can Nigeria and Nigerians have a sense that this dear land is indeed a land where unity, faith, peace and progress reside.

“Yes, those who do not want this as Nigeria’s reality will use every trick in the book to undermine, discourage, misinform and mislead, but with God’s help and the support of Nigerians, we will ensure that Nigeria makes a course correction away from tyranny and towards democracy.

“We must return to being Africa’s bastion of democracy, where the rights to freedom of speech and freedom after the speech are guaranteed. We must stand together to pursue this just cause all the way, so that our judiciary is not afraid to do its job and has to be wary of blackmail, intimidation and victimisation.”

The Punch

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