Monday, 27 July 2015

Ahmed Adamu – First Nigerian C/Wealth Youth Chair

Dr. Ahmed Adamu – First Nigerian C/Wealth Youth Chair

Ahmed Adamu is a Nigerian living in diaspora who has achieved so much as a youth. A graduate of Bayero University, Kano, he was elected as the financial secretary of the Student Union Government (SUG) of the university, and afterwards nominated as the national president of the National Association of Katsina State Students (NAKATSS).

In 2007, he started a non-profit organisation called League for Democratic Youths. The organisation empowers young people and gives them skills in leadership to educate them on their democratic rights. “We created that to raise awareness on the role of young people in a democratic system and how to checkmate the government, especially in terms of budget tracking and other matters. It was as a result of that movement that I was nominated to represent Katsina senatorial district at the Nigerian Youth Parliament as the Chief Whip,” he told LEADERSHIP Weekend.

As soon as he completed his work at the Youth Parliament, he was nominated to represent Nigeria at the Commonwealth Youth Forum which is made up of 53 countries. That was Ahmed’s first contact with activities of the Commonwealth. In 2011, he was invited to Australia to represent Nigeria at an annual meeting of the council’s member countries’ Heads of State.

It was at the 2011 meeting that Adamu was fortunate to be nominated to meet Her Majesty, the Queen of England, on behalf of the young people in the Commonwealth, in order to present her with the communique of their meeting. It was a meeting held to discuss, among other things, problems and issues affecting youths and proffer recommendations and solutions, which were then presented to the heads of government, to serve as input to their discussion and their resolutions, in line with what young people want.

“My meeting with the Queen was an encouragement for me to continue with the Commonwealth Youth Council even though I had so much going on for me prior to being introduced to the Commonwealth affairs,” he enthused.

When nominations were being conducted to elect a chairperson for the Commonwealth Youth Council in an open nomination style held in Sri Lanka, Ahmed was at the time working on his PhD in London. Still, he seized the opportunity to run for the position. The Commonwealth Youth Council has six member continents and geopolitical zones. With its ‘turn taking,’ structure, the chairperson’s role was open to Africa and Europe at the time. Adamu was eventually nominated to represent the African geopolitical zone. Contestants were 40 in number, and screened down to four.
Adamu performed excellently during the debate and after the polls, he emerged the first ever black African to be the chairperson of the Commonwealth Youth Council.

“Several countries were very happy that we now had a Commonwealth Youth Council and they wanted to see us; to celebrate us, especially African countries. It is a very good achievement for Africa and Nigeria,” he said.

Interestingly, the role of chairperson of the Commonwealth Youth Council may not come back to Africa until after eight years because of its rotational structure; and if it does come in the next 8 years to Africa, it might not be to a Nigeria, but another country in Africa, or Europe, hence the reason why the golden opportunity should be celebrated. The Commonwealth Youth Council currently has over 1.2 billion young people from 53 Commonwealth countries spanning over the 6 continents.

When asked what it feels like to be the chairperson of the Commonwealth Youth Council, Adamu stated, “I deal with the entire Commonwealth. It’s a Herculean task because my background is African. I may not know what the youth background is in Asia, the Caribbean, the Pacific, but I will still have to respond to their wishes and to their comments and to the things that they want. It is a very diverse and a very complex task,” he told LEADERSHIP Weekend.

“If I succeed in this position the world will say a Nigerian has succeeded. Nobody would remember my name. They will say it was a Nigerian who became the first chairperson of the Commonwealth Youth Council and he did well; and if I fail, they will say it was a Nigerian; and that may negatively affect the country because if someone aspires to take an international position such as this in the future, people would say, ‘is it a Nigerian? No, do not give him the opportunity because there was once a Nigerian in this position and he failed.’ So I am an ambassador; I am an image maker for the country, and if there is any country that should support our cause, it should be Nigeria,” he said.
Adamu, in his capacity as chairperson of CYC, is expected to serve a two-year term until the next General Assembly of the council, which will take place at the end of this year. Adamu, a thoroughly inspiring youth, is also a university lecturer and intends to return to teaching soon.

The Commonwealth Youth Council under the leadership of Adamu has launched projects such as, ‘Youth Campaign Against Election Violence, Young Achiever’s Documentary, music competitions for songs that promise peace and so on.

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