Ameen Amshi, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), wants to contest for the post of the party’s National Youth Leader at the APC’s national convention early next year. In this interview with ZEBULON AGOMUO, he spoke about his ambition and agenda for the youth population, not only in his party, but also in the country, generally. Excerpts:
How would you assess the government of the All Progressives Congress and the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari?
The APC government led by President Muhammadu Buhari has begun the difficult and thankless job of rebuilding our broken nation, but there are many who benefit from the rot and don’t want a change. Despite unprecedented efforts, programmes and projects designed exclusively for our youths and aimed at empowering them financially and socially, such as N-Power, youth empowering people (YEP), graduate Internship Scheme (GIS), Trader-Moni, Presidential Youth entrepreneurship support (P-YES), youth empowerment and development Initiative (YEDI), etc, some of the youths have allowed themselves to be weaponised by reprehensible political forces, and have turned against the very rebuilding project that, given time, would secure their future.
Youth decadence and restiveness are at an unprecedented level and all manner of depravity and profligacy have manifested as a direct result of the engineered depression and delusion that they have been plunged into.
It is against this dire backdrop and with a considered desire to play my part to redirect the ship, that I declare my intention to contest to become the National Youth Leader of the APC.
What gives you the courage to seek the position? And what informed your decision to run for the office of the National Youth Leader of the APC?
I am a friend of the youth population, not only in my state, but across the country. I am a detribalised Nigerian. My grandfather, the late Dauda Birmah (OFR), was a national states man, who helped raise me and instilled in me the values and virtues of nationalism, patriotism, and the creed that the journey to Nigeria’s greatness is a shared one.
I have also benefitted immensely from the impact of my political mentor, Senator Kashim Shettima of Borno State, who taught him that salvaging Nigeria is a multi-colored venture that can only be successfully completed by people of both genders and all our ethnicities, proclivities, and beliefs, working as one.
I have learned that true governance is a collective effort and responsibility and that we citizens have as vital a role to play as those we elect. No president or governor can fix a nation or state alone.
Accordingly, I have watched, listened, and am fully aware that the problems that pursue the average Nigerian youths also chase the young people in the APC.
Our lasting salvation lies, not in the magnanimity of our elders or benevolence of older politicians, it rests in our ability as young people to bridge the breaches of tribalism, religious intolerance, and selfish self-interest and band together in cooperation and collaboration, using the force of our numbers. We can build bridges between our different warring camps and learn to speak with one voice.
My firm and unshakable belief is that the Nigerian youth is vastly underserved, underestimated, and underutilised in the Nigeria project.
I want to run for the office of National Youth Leader to build on the commendable work done by the current leadership, under the guidance of Barrister Ismaeel Ahmed.
I want to help build bridges between our youth and our elders, between young citizens and their leaders, between our genders and between youths of different ethnicities, faiths, and social classes. I want to help guide our youth within the party and in the nation at large to utilise their numbers, to coalesce their talents, aggregate their energy, navigate their differences, and ultimately unleash their power to birth the Nigeria of our dreams.
How do you think this position will make impact on the general development of the party nationwide?
If I am elected, I will work feverishly to rebuild the youth structure, party wide.
I will collaborate with state and ward youth leaders nationwide to create an effective safety net for party members wherever there is an APC office anywhere in the nation. We will escalate issues that affect them to the national leadership of the party and the government in a manner that takes governance to the grassroots and actualizes the people-centric model that the federal government desires but that has been hampered by weak sub-national governmental systems.
If we succeed at this task alone, the positive impact on the party will be immense.
What will be your priority areas if you get elected?
My priority areas would be education, empowerment, and entertainment.
First is to work with relevant groups and individuals to promote the education of our youths in relevant areas of commerce, enterprise and technology that will enable them to become personally self-reliant financially and socially. And that prepares them to participate in the actual, technical work of developing and implementing nation-building policies and projects.
Secondly, we would seek to empower the youth, because we have too many talented youths who are wasting away with their heads full of ideas that they don’t have the funding or other support needed to implement.
Three, we would promote entertainment, especially music, which is a field that we are excelling at almost by chance. Davido, Wizkid and co. are global icons and sources of inspiration to millions of our youths. We need systems that enable as many talented youths as possible fulfil their potential in a structured, merit-based way.
Entertainment in this sense also includes sports.
These are the areas I would focus on. I would do this by interfacing effectively with the relevant ministries and agencies that are statutorily empowered to engage with youths to attain the stated goals. I would also seek collaborations with private sector entities to sponsor or otherwise support promising talents in mutually beneficial business arrangements.
Given the precarious security situation in the country, do you really think Nigerians will still want the APC to retain power at the centre come 2023?
No one with a human heart can dismiss the deaths, pain, and suffering that we have endured as a nation over the past decade or so due to insecurity. I am native to Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states, so naturally, kidnapping, banditry, and terrorism stand roundly condemned by me.
However, we must look at the remote causes and roots of our insecurity issues, many of which reach back to the past government, which ironically was led by the main opposition party, which, also ironically now claims to be able to do a better job than the current administration at tackling insecurity, while simultaneously battling several cases in court that have to do with looting of funds that were meant to equip the military.
We should be careful not to fall into a gutter because we are crying.
We live in an emotional and forgetful age, so it is easy to overlook how residents of Odi and Zakibiam were massacred, or how a serving governor was abducted, or how a serving Attorney-General was murdered in his home, or how the National Assembly was tear-gassed while in session, or how Churches in Abuja needed metal detectors to hold service.
There is a lot to be desired regarding our national security, but the APC has shown the greatest commitment to solve it. We shouldn’t let our grief and anger make us run back into the arms of the people who created most of these problems.
What can you say are the major achievements of the current administration?
As earlier said, President Buhari has been treated extremely unfairly by some of our youths because no administration comes close when it comes to interventions, projects and grants that have been extended, exclusively to them. Look at NPower; Youth Empowering People (YEP); Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS); TraderMoni; Presidential Youth Entrepreneurship Support (P-YES); Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative (YEDI), among many other well-thought-out programmes that have positively impacted many lives and families.
On the political, economic, infrastructure and security front, he has done what many of us who are more realistic, expected him to do. Elections have much more credibility now than before, the playing field for enterprise and business has been levelled, infrastructure is being developed at a pace unmatched since the 70s, corruption is no longer a state-sanctioned policy and our military is now the second-most powerful in Africa, resulting in the stemming of the unrelenting march of Boko Haram on Nigeria.
On all these fronts, he has succeeded.
President Buhari is a team leader who wants his team to participate while his team wants to rely solely on its leader.
Both sides need to meet in the middle.