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Ashraf Sanusi tells Daniel Ogoloma Nigerian youths are capable of leading

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Ashraf Sanusi was the guest on the latest edition of New Generation Africa interview series hosted by Daniel Ogoloma on the New Generation Africa platform. The session started on a lighter note with both Daniel and Ashraf having humourous exchanges and greetings before they moved on briefly to discuss the new normal way of life necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Both the host and the guest advised people to be careful during this delicate period and ensure that they follow the various safety instructions highlighted by government and health authorities.

While introducing himself, Ashraf stated that he spent his early childhood in Lagos before he moved to the United Kingdom for his tertiary education where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the University of Portsmouth.

Responding to Daniel Ogoloma’s first question on the three basic things that are fundamental to growing and nurturing a young population towards excellence, Ashraf identified education, guidance and setting right goals as being crucial to the growth of the youths. He expatiated by saying that a body of well educated, exposed, well mentored, positive minded and goal-oriented youths will contribute positively to their society. He noted that lack of competent teachers, poor infrastructure and poor funding are some of the factors undermining the educational sector in Nigeria. He berated the government for their deliberate underfunding of education.

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Ashraf said that uneducated youths are likely to be unemployed, and that unemployment will naturally translate to poverty. He said that the higher the level of poverty, the higher the crime rate. He also suggested that lack of education and high rate of poverty has made crime and extremism flourished in a certain part of Nigeria. He cited the notorious Boko Haram sect as an evil created by a combination of illiteracy, unemployment, poverty and religious bigotry.

In the course of the interview, Daniel stated that the older leaders deprive young people the opportunities of getting into leadership positions and asked his guest for the best way that Nigerian youths can get into politics and governance. Ashraf said that such situation is not peculiar to Nigeria alone.

He said most of the older leaders are greedy and desperate individuals are ready to hold on to positions of power at all cost even if it means frustrating the youths. He lamented that hard work alone does not guarantee success in Nigerian politics, and that the fastest way to climb the political ladder in Nigeria is through connections which often do not come cheaply.

Nonetheless, he advised the youths to embrace hard work and be steadfast. He also advised the young people to strive to be morally upright, something he said is missing in the older crop of leaders. Ashraf condemned tribalism, advised the youths to eschew tribal and racial profiling and unnecessary generalization or stereotyping. He enjoined young people to do things positively and differently from the ways the older generation of leaders did things.

In a new development to the programme, Daniel took some questions sent in by the audience. There were questions on what the government can do to enhance the prospects of young people, the need for a movement to change the government, and many more.

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Responding to these questions, Ashraf agreed that the government can and should work hard to improve the living conditions of the youths. He called for the scrapping of the NYSC scheme because of its inconsistency with the reality. In its place, he suggested an outright financial support programme for innovative graduates who wants to go into entrepreneurship. He believed this will help to curb unemployment and poverty. Ashraf advised those calling for a movement to change the government to tread with caution because such situation often leads to tyranny in this part of the world.

When Daniel asked him whether young people in Nigeria have the qualities to occupy leadership positions, Ashraf insisted that Nigerian youths have leadership qualities. He said that there are lots of competent young people in Nigeria, and all they need to do is to set their priorities right, add value to themselves and work harder.

He concluded by calling for the need to build the nation like a family where there will be high moral standard, love, sincerity, acceptance and good deeds among the people. Ashraf, who is the son of the immediate past Emir of Kano, also revealed his plan to return to the UK to pursue a Master’s degree.

Daniel Ogoloma, who is the host of the show and also the founder of the New Generation Africa platform, ended the programme after a brief interaction with the audience.

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