Delegates and party bigwigs gathered at the Eagles Square, Abuja on 30th October to elect new members of the National Working Committee, NWC of our great party, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP.
It was a grand-scale convention that attracted large number of party members and leaders.
I was privileged to not only be a part of this important gathering but also played the role assigned to me by the party.
I was a member of the committee tasked with overseeing security at the Eagles Square and we did the needful to ensure security and safety of delegates and everyone who attended the National Convention.
I was a member of the Security Committee and when ‘administrative decentralization’ gave birth to Transport and Accommodation Committee, the Chairman, General nominated me as Secretary.
It was a great honour for me to have had this opportunity.
It was an opportunity to broaden my horizons; I was allowed to seek out new experiences.
For providing this rare opportunity and privilege, I owe a debt of gratitude to the Waziri of Ilorin, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki. I will be forever grateful that ‘you are in my life’.
I wish to extend my deep appreciation to you for sustaining your commitment to giving young people opportunity to participate in decision-making process and getting them opportunity to step into leadership roles.
He had sufficiently shown this as governor of Kwara state between 2003 and 2011.
His commitment to this mission has since been unwavering.
I studied electrical engineering and I have also practiced journalism for about ten years now and I asked questions and involuntarily provided answers when I found myself as a member of the Security Committee.
It all began when Dr Abubakar Saraki’s Personal Assistant telephoned me to make enquiries.
Is Baba Idris my formal name? he asked . ‘Yes’ I had quipped and he told me he was directed to get in touch with me by our dear leader.
What was this for? What is happening? I asked myself.
The best course of action was to wait in expectation and I did just that.
A few days later, the same message-bearer, got in touch and asked me to access a site where I found my name as a member of the Security Committee.
Why not Media and Publicity committee? Why Security committee?
I later discovered it was his usual way of developing young people and ensuring ‘a wide scope’ when it involves ‘range of knowledge or experience’.
‘As a young man, you need to know almost everything and you don’t have to limit yourself. Yes , you have Engineering background and you are one of the prominent influencers in Nigeria but now you have gotten the opportunity to learn the art of security from tested and top retired Generals including a former Chief of Army Staff ,with former IGP Solomon Arase as Chairman of the committee’ Dr Abubakar Saraki told me after the convention.
While I was moving from one place to another at the Eagles Square carrying a walkie talkies and we made eye contact, I felt that fatherly love and there was this facial expression suggestive of saying ‘well-done’.
This will take me back to my conversation with a former member of the Kwara state House of Assembly, an indigene of Ifelodun LGA, Hon Moshood Bakare, who took a trip down the memory lane and narrated how he started working with Dr. Bukola Saraki as a domestic aide while in the banking sector and later became his Principal Private Secretary at 26.
This evidently showed that Dr Bukola Saraki has been a strong believer in the strength of the young people even before he became the governor of Kwara State in the year 2003. It’s not an overstatement that youth involvement in governance began when he served as Kwara State governor between 2003 and 2011 .
He discovered many young people in the state who have done well in their chosen careers and were in their 20s and 30s and he got them appointed as Commissioners, Special Advisers, Senior Special Assistants, Special Assistants, YECs, LOs and heads of government agencies.
That is, with or without power, Saraki is an embodiment of youth capacity development. This fact is one of the reasons many of our prides in Kwara today have long history of how they met Saraki and how he nurtured them to become mentors to a lot of young men/women out there.
We may be too young to know all these but now grown to be involved as beneficiaries of Dr. Bukola Saraki’s culture of promoting the engagement of young people at all levels of decision-making and providing the shoulders for them to lean on in order to attain their dreams. How he surrounded himself with vibrant young people across the country and a good number of Kwarans as aides when he was the President of Nigerian Senate between 2015 and 2019, is still fresh in our memory.
Also, the inclusion of vibrant young people like Abdulrahman Abdullahi Kayode GreatKay from Ilorin West LG and Comrade Nura Muhammed from Moro LG in the Kwara State PDP Reconciliation and Engagement Committee that was set up on the 29th of March, 2021 and some young people including ‘Yours Truly’ and the likes of Alhaji Kawu Ndanusa from Edu LGA, in the PDP National Convention Planning Committee, is indeed, an attestation that our leader, His Excellency Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, CON, is ready to continue his involvement of more young people in the scheme of things.
My being a member of the Convention Committee was an opportunity to build relationships with others and God made the big guns to allow me get close to them. I particularly, appreciate former Chief of Army Staff, retired General Ishaya Bamaiyi and former Inspector General, Mr. Solomon Arase for this.
I thank God Almighty that I was able to do my dear leader; Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki proud, ditto my constituency- Nigerian youths.
I was inwardly pleased when General AK Kwaskebe under whom I served directly gave his assessment of me and I cannot but thank Almighty God for using MY DEAR FATHER; DR ABUBAKAR BUKOLA SARAKI to make this possible.
‘Baba Idris , you have served and delivered. I used to have reservations about your generation, the same way you had such about soldiers before we met.
The same way I have changed your negative impression about soldiers is the same way you have changed my impression about your generation. I am looking forward to working with you in future because you made my job easy. I called you 1am, 2am to report to location and you picked up my calls at once. This is the highest level of dedication and discipline ‘ he said.
I will describe my membership of the PDP 2021 National Convention as an experience of a lifetime and I will continue to appreciate His Excellency, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, CON, for the beautiful experience on the national stage.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect Fresh Insight editorial position.