As many that knows the agrarian town of Gbongan will not be surprised that yet another wonder in the person of Joel Oyeyinka Popoola, Founder, Digital Democracy Project and Rate Your Leader app, has been produced for the good of humanity. This is because Gbongan is famous, you can say notorious if you like, for producing egg heads who have stood the test of time in terms of proficiency, research, achievement, academic prowess and inventions.
Gbongan is a small community in southwestern part of Nigeria, Osun State to be specific. But as small as Gbongan is in size, she has produced more academics than any community in her category.
As a convention, Gbongan is in the business of crowning only the academically best as paramount rulers, and it is on record that its obas have had a minimum qualification of Ph.D. From the days of late Oba (Dr.) Solomon Babayemi Akinrinola 1, who was an Associate Professor of African Studies, University of Ibadan to the present Kabiyesi, Oba (Dr.) Adetoyese Oyeniyi Odugbemi 1, an Agronomist, only the best has sat on the throne. The town could as well be described as a harbinger of Professors and Doctors of Philosophy. This has been since the 1950s.
Among prolific academics produced by the great Gbongan community include: Late Dr. Akinrefon, a Molecular Biologist; Late Prof. Timothy Adegboye, a Professor of land Economics, who during his life time was always referred to as the Professor of Professors; and at a point, was christened ‘Baale UI’ because he was the oldest in the University Community; this was the man who founded the Agric Economics Department of the then University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo university. There was also Late Dr. Akintola, a renowned Consultant to WHO, UNICEF, FAO; Prof Akinwumi, former Deputy Vice Chancellor Academics, University of Ibadan; Prof Dupe Makinde, Prof. Alani Adeagbo Amusan, Prof Ojewole, the first Professor and Dean of Faculty of Pharmacy, Obafemi Awolowo University; Prof Ilori; Prof Lekan Dairo; Prof Lekan Oyeleye, former Dean Faculty of Arts University of Ibadan; Prof Seye Bolaji; Prof Wale Ajayi; Prof Ademola Olaniran; Prof O.B. Ajayi; Prof Clement Adebooye, Deputy Vice Chancellor Academics Osun State University; Prof Tunde Makanju; Prof. Ekanade, among many others.
Gbongan’s prowess is not only in the academia, the town is also home to jurists and legal luminaries such as Justice Oyegoke Bolarinwa Babalakin (Honorable Justice of the Supreme Court, Federal Republic of Nigeria); Late Barrister Adedeji; Dr. Olawale Babalakin SAN, Barrister Funminiyi Oyebamiji Agbaye and Barrister Dapo Adekunle.
In the field of Medicine, Banking, Insurance, Media and Security, Gbongan boasts of citizens.
The rave of the moment in the person of an accomplished Techpreneur, Joel Oyeyinka Popoola, who had been described by Sunderland Echo as ‘the City man’, is a proud product of Gbongan.
Popoola is a United Kingdom citizen, who has developed an App to solve one of the challenges confronting democracy, even in developed democracies like the United kingdom. The App is meant to bridge the gap between elected leaders and the electorate, and at the same time eliminate the hassles of physical town hall meetings. He has put in place electronic platform through which Electors and Electorates will constantly interact to discuss matters relating to their constituencies in an abuse-free manner and bringing a win-win situation to both the leaders and the subjects.
The rate of acceptability of the app in the United Kingdom has been encouraging, making Yinka, as he is fondly called the cynosure of all eyes among all levels of communities and nationalities in the country. In all these, Yinka is always quick to make reference to his country, Nigeria; and his town of birth, Gbongan as opportunity presents itself.
His Rate Your Leader App has solved the problem of accountability among political office among holders. And will open channels of interactions between the elected public office holders and the electorates thereby mitigating challenges associated with lack of communication between a particular representative and his/her constituents, fake news and fabrications or half truths, which are known to be the bane of democracy.
With constant interactions between the elected officials and people of their constituencies, needs are therefore prioritised and even development across borders ensured.
Popoola, in a chat with Score Express Magazine, said that “the irony is that the technology is now in place to allow both the electors and elected to connect at the touch of a button but that technology all too often falls into modern mob rule. Whether it’s Brexit in Britain, Trump in America or Jeune Gillets in France, voters no longer believe that politicians represent them– it’s time to take back democracy with technology,”.
Popoola stated further, “Across the world, democracy is changing forever, and Nigeria would not be an exception. 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.”
He also averred, “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.”
The Publisher of the Score Express Magazine, who also is a childhood friend of Popoola, called on all Gbongan citizens, home and abroad, to rise and honour one of their own, Joel Popoola, as he arrives Nigeria this January to launch the App.”if Ijebu people could honour Anthony Joshua, being their own, then Gbongan people wouldn’t fail in doing more,” he said.