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Zhara Buhari as the Real Change and New Deal

Zhara Buhari in IDPs camp

Photos: Zahra Buhari Visits IDP Camp

Soon after the Senate President unveiled the list of Ministers as submitted by the President someone called my attention to it and before I could say a word the fellow lashed out that he knew I will find fault with the list because to him I  never see anything good in what Buhari does.

On the president’s choice of ministers, I truly have no opinion despite being disappointed that we are recycling the same ‘not very good old hands with baggage’. For instance, I wouldn’t understand how Buhari who overthrew Audu Ogbeh’s as Minister of Agriculture in 1984 and incarcerated the man for as long as he was Head of State will 35 years later reappoint same Ogbeh as minister.  

Not that Ogbeh is a bad man but I still see no sense in Ogbe himself who was screened by Dr Olusola Saraki,   father of the current Senate President some 36 years ago, and will turn himself to be screened by the junior Saraki for the same position of Minister. Ogbeh was flushed out by the Military under Buhari; he later served as Military dictator turned a democratic President as PDP National Chairman. 

The story was that he was forced to resign with a gun pointed to his head for daring the hold a different opinion from then President Obasanjo. Why Ogbeh wish to serve under another ‘militrician’ remains a puzzle only him can solve. What did Audu Ogbeh forgot on the ministers table? Could it be that Ogbe and co have no political children to take over from them? We can’t grow this nation where we do not try some new hands with fresh minds and fresh ideas.

Nevertheless, I believe President Buhari has a right to appoint his cabinet so long as it meets the constitutional requirement. If he is comfortable with the assemblage of the men and women he has recruited so far and in his heart convinced they are the saints and change agents we have been waiting for, so be it. I wish him luck. I wish him luck as Petroleum Minister even though I honestly think taking up that position will distract him from the major issues of governance. But if he thinks he can manage both and stay in good health to lead, I will wish him well.

I wish to tell those who think I see nothing good in President Buhari to perish the thought. And again I wish to correct that impression because I have written severally that Buhari may be anything but a thief, especially when you compare him with our past leaders, including those offering him all manners of unsolicited counsels. I also support his tough stance on corruption, something lacking in former President Jonathan. Jonathan may have tried to fight the monster but his body language didn’t suggest he was ready to wield the big stick. I disagreed with him on that knowing it could consume his presidency and destroy his reputation. The rest is now history.

As per waiting for the change we were promised. The real change and new deal for me is in the current initiative of the President’s first daughter Zhara Buhari who incidentally shares the same beautiful name with my six years old daughter. Zhara Buhari who was recently sighted at the Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDPs) camp, where she spent time with the people and fed some of them with food.

Unlike some president’s daughters and sons, the news about Zhara wasn’t about lavish life style, drinking and partying in Paris and New York, wielding undue influence and being transactional. Her news wasn’t about any illicit drug habit and causing trafficking gridlock due to her shopping spree. Hers is a simple story of young girl touched by the pains of others who took her time out to inspire other youths.

The excited daughter of Nigeria’s president shared the pictures from her community service on Twitter and many of her followers were excited about the prospect of seeing her caring for others. I was excited too for the young lady who had clearly shown a good example of how to be a President’s daughter, how to be the first daughter of the first family hence I have taken this week to eulogize her.  I will urge other minister’s daughters and governor’s daughters to emulate her rather than continue to scandalize us further with their ostentatious living, multi billion naira weddings and birthday parties.

If Zhara Buhari is reading this I wish to let her know how proud of her I am. She may need to step up her volunteerism by becoming a strong voice and advocate of youth volunteerism in Nigeria because volunteerism is dead in this clime. We cannot build a nation where citizens do not sacrifice their time, resources and intellects to help others that are in need. There are lots we can all do to make our society a better place.

I had said it once in this column and because of Zahra Buhari I will repeat that the better society we strive to build can neither be built by APC nor PDP. It can’t be done by the military or civilians. It can’t be built by the Federal or State Government. Our big and better society can be achieved by big citizens like Zhara Buhari and other youths when they take out time to provide community services.

The future of this world belongs to the youths, Zhara and co. There are more than 1.2 billion young people (defined by the United Nations as between 15 and 24 years of age) in the world today, the largest group in history. These young people are key agents for social change, and are capable of providing the energy, creative ideas and determination to drive innovation and reform. Volunteerism is an important and increasingly popular mechanism for young people to bring about positive change in society, and it is becoming more and more relevant as a mechanism to engage young people in global peace and sustainable human development.

For instance, as governments, United Nations entities and civil society organizations debate and articulate the post-2015 development agenda, there is a strong call for a bottom up process in which young people’s voices are included and youth are actively engaged in the process, and volunteering is a viable mechanism for this course. 

Young people increasingly feel that volunteerism complements formal education in teaching the skills that are required for the job market, such as leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, planning, management, creativity, communication and negotiation. This is especially important given the current global economic downturn, where competition for jobs is increasing.

I will urge the current government to find roles for the youths and work on issues encouraging policymakers, communities and youth themselves to empower young people as valuable but under-utilized resources.

Clem Aguiyi; Email: Totalpolitics@ymail.com, Tel 08034747898

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