“On The Couch” with Laila and Falz: Young Nigerians now have a dedicated election season show

Airing every weekend on the "On The Couch Naija" YouTube channel

Over the weekend, clips from the most recent episode of  “On The Couch” with Laila and Falz who hosted presidential aspirant, Olasubomi Okeowo, surfaced on Twitter. On the episode, Laila, with support from Falz, asks the aspirant a number of questions about his policies and promises as an aspiring President.

In a popular cut from the interview that has since gone viral, Laila asks Olasubomi how he intends to level the gender equality field, considering that “For every ten boys in a classroom in Nigeria, there are only three girls”. Despite the pertinence of this conversation in girl’s rights issues, the aspirant disagreed with these statistics. In Olasubomi’s terms, what matters is the workforce; “If a woman is right for the job, I will hire the woman. If a man is better for the job, I will hire him” he says. On Nigeria’s drug epidemic, Mr Okeowo declared is a result of depression and “not having a purpose”.

Shortly after the 30-minute episode aired on the show’s Youtube channel, an overwhelming rush of comments under the platform’s comments section spurred backlash for Olasubomi on social media. This reaction, according to Laila Johnson-Salami, a broadcast journalist, is why “On The Couch” was created.

In a conversation with the NATIVE, Laila explained the goal of “On The Couch” is to bring a fresh perspective to policy-making, “things you can’t find online”. This perspective is for the benefit of “Young Nigerians”, who are often disenfranchised from Nigeria’s political realm. Laila explains that she and her co-host, Falz, are “passionate about Nigerian politics”, and have created this platform as a means of contributing to the growing pool of mediums documenting Nigeria’s upcoming 2019 General elections.

On Monday, the day after the episode aired,  Olasubomi Okeowo, pulled out of the Presidential race and apologized to the show’s audience [the youths] for his distasteful statements. In a released statement, Mr Okeowo expressed remorse, explaining that his delivery did not match his intention. ” I will Honorably stand down to allow a more qualified candidate go for the post”. This sense of immediate action, according to Laila, is one of the core aims of the show. By bringing aspirants on and presenting questions backed by facts, the show intends to create awareness about the state of the Nigerian polity and how the aspirants engage with them.

So far, Laila and Falz have interviewed two aspirants, focusing exclusively on human management issues, as this is the core of all social issues. The idea, Laila said, was birthed by an event that reflects in the first two episodes: “Falz had asked me to visit an aspiring presidential candidate with him informally and as we got there, we decided to ask him questions in an interrogative manner to really ‘grill’ him. We spoke to him for about two hours, after which Falz said that we should make this a thing. So we started reaching out to several aspiring candidates and we got shooting”. 

Beyond this season, the duo hope to extend the show beyond the election 2019 arena, as Laila rightfully put it “Nigeria’s Democracy turns 20 next year and it is absolutely imperative to incorporate the challenges and the way forward on the show, as we’re in dire need of action”, we need to stay engaged to create the urgency and accountability needed for real change.

The show will air every weekend on the show’s YouTube channel, On The Couch Naija.

Meanwhile, The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has extended the deadline for the Voter Registration by till the end of August. You can still register to vote. 

Check out the first episode of “On The Couch” here:

Featured Image Credit: Youtube/Onthecouchnaija

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