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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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Guinean Military Junta Dissolves Government, Seals Country’s Borders

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Guinea’s military junta, which took power through a coup in September 2021, has officially dissolved the government, as announced via a presidential decree read on state TV by the presidency’s Secretary General, Brig Gen Amara Camara.

The announcement was not followed by details regarding the rationale of this dissolution, or the timeline for establishing a new government.

As part of the dissolution, ministers in the now-dissolved government have been instructed to surrender their passports and official vehicles, and also given directives for their bank accounts to be frozen.

The junta has also directed security agencies to “seal” all of Guinea’s borders until the complete handover of government ministries to the junta.

According to Camara, during the interim period until a new government is appointed, lower-level officials will manage state ministries.

The dissolved government, led by Prime Minister Bernard Goumou, was appointed by coup leader Mamady Doumbouya, who led Guinea’s armed forces in overthrowing elected President Alpha Condé in September 2021. The coup came after a series of protests against Condé’s controversial bid for a third term.

Guinea, as well as several other countries in West and central Africa, including Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Gabon, have experienced coups in recent years. These coups have faced strong condemnation from West Africa’s regional bloc ECOWAS, the African Union, and the UN.

The junta and ECOWAS had earlier set a 24-month transition period, and Guinea is expected to hold elections to restore democratic rule within 10 months, as the transition period comes to an end.

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Atiku’s Aide Accuses Tinubu’s Govt of Diverting Funds Through Fake Petrol Subsidy

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Phrank Shaibu, a Special Assistant on Public Communication to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, has alleged that the refusal of the Federal government to react to recent reports on the return of petrol subsidy shows that public funds have started going into private pockets.

Shaibu made the allegation through a statement while reacting to reports by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that the Nigerian government has begun paying petrol subsidy again.

According to media reports, monthly subsidy payment is nearly N1 trillion, far in excess of exceeds the amount paid monthly by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

Reacting to the allegation, Shaibu said it has become clear that one of the reasons the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited has not been paying the required amount of money into the government’s account is because monies are being diverted under an opaque and secret subsidy regime.

He alleged: “Tinubu has been boasting at every economic forum that he deserves to be in the Guinness Book of records for removing petrol subsidy.

“He even said before ringing the closing bell at NASDAQ in New York last September that the ‘corrupt subsidy’ regime and FX issues had been resolved.

“But as every other thing relating to Tinubu, this has turned out to be another lie from the pit of hell. Currently, the exchange rate based on what the Central Bank of Nigeria recommended to the Nigeria Customs Service is N1515/$1.

“Hence diesel price is now over N1,200 but petrol is still selling for between N600 and N700.

“Nigeria is the only country in the world where such disparity between diesel and petrol exists. It has become obvious that petrol subsidy has returned through the backdoor.

“With the return of petrol subsidy, oil marketers have opted out and that is why the NNPC has returned to being the sole importer of petrol once more and has the temerity to be announcing that it will not increase petrol cost regardless of the international price of crude oil and the exchange rate.

“To be clear, petrol subsidy in itself is not a bad thing when it is done transparently.”

Shaibu added: “Former CBN Governor, Lamido Sanusi, expressed shock last month that NNPC was still not remitting FX into government’s accounts.

“It is now obvious why this has been happening. Subsidy has returned but it is now being done in a corrupt and secret manner as funds are now being diverted into private pockets even worse than under Buhari. This is the Tinubu Lagos legacy from Lagos State.”

Shaibu said it was disappointing that the Finance Minister, Wale Edun; and CBN Governor, Yemi Cardoso, who both claimed to have gotten their appointments based on their expertise had failed to speak up but had continued to cover up the petrol subsidy.

He also alleged that the Tinubu government had continued to frustrate the takeoff of the Dangote refinery which would have at least reduced Nigeria’s FX demands.

“The media reported last week that lingering regulatory approvals have stalled Dangote Petrochemical Refinery’s plan to release aviation fuel (Jet A1) and diesel for sale in the Nigerian market.

“At the same time, Dangote refinery has been struggling to get the needed crude oil and has decided to import from the United States while the NNPC which has no business with monetary policy, committed Nigeria’s crude oil for a $3.3 billion Afreximbank loan ostensibly to stabilise the naira.

“It is obvious that Tinubu and his so-called economic team are quacks, charlatans who put their personal interest ahead of that of the country. With such Lilliputians at the helm of affairs, Nigeria’s economic woes are about to go from bad to worse,” Shaibu added.

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UK Economy Slips into ‘Technical’ Recession

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The United Kingdom slipped into a technical recession in the second half of last year after its economy registered two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth, official figures have shown.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced through a statement on Thursday that Britain’s gross domestic product (GDP) shrank by 0.3 percent in the last three months of 2023, after contracting 0.1 percent in the third quarter.

It meant that the economy entered a technical recession, as defined by two or more quarters in a row of falling GDP.

It marked the first time the UK had entered recession since the first half of 2020 when the initial COVID-19 lockdown sent the country’s economy plunging into reverse.

The figures dealt a blow to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who had promised to grow the economy as one of his five priorities.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said inflation and high-interest rates were behind the output fall but insisted the economy was turning a corner.

He said: “While interest rates are high so the Bank of England can bring inflation down low growth is not a surprise.

“But there are signs the British economy is turning a corner; forecasters agree that growth will strengthen over the next few years.

“Wages are rising faster than prices; mortgage rates are down and unemployment remains low.

“Although times are still tough for many families, we must stick to the plan of cutting taxes on work and business to build a stronger economy.”

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said the Prime Minister’s promise to grow the economy was in tatters.

“The Prime Minister can no longer claim credibly that his plan is working or that he has turned the corner on more than 14 years of economic decline under the Conservatives that has left Britain worse off.

“This is Rishi Sunak’s recession and the news will be deeply worrying for families and businesses across Britain,’’ he said.

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