Ismaeel Ahmed: Bearing The Hope Of A Generation By Muhammed Abdullahi
A week after my article with the title: APC, Please Give Us Barrister Ismaeel Ahmed was published on several online and offline media platforms, Barrister Ahmed issued a disclaimer, stating that youths who followed him during the campaign should ‘cool temper’ and not request for any position on his behalf. According to Ismaeel, “my contributions to the campaign was not as a result of quest for position, but rather the position of youths generally”. May be the Barrister was right, even if not totally so.
Why would Barrister issue such a disclaimer and indeed warning to his army of young followers? The immediate reason I can think of is that the erudite Barrister must have perceived our request to APC to make him the representative of the youth constituency as simply about him. No, it is not. And I will explain.
It was the night of the APC Primaries in Lagos, and as there was power outage in most parts of Ilorin that evening, I had joined legion of excited youths in a viewing centre to watch the event. As the primaries got under way, every young soul in that hall could not help but notice a light-skinned and articulate young man reeling out profiles of some of the contestants OFF HAND. Before long, everyone wanted to know who the man was. As I was the only one in the hall with a fair knowledge of Barrister Ismaeel and his position within the APC Campaign structure, I told them the little I know. That night saw the All Progressives Youth Forum in Kwara State receiving about 54 new members, all attracted to the forum because of the quality of its national Chairman, Barrister Ismaeel. These 54 young men and women, in addition to thousands existing members of Kwara APYF joined the crusade for CHANGE because of one man who is now the bearer of their collective hope and aspiration for the future.
Apart from Kwara State, Barrister Ismaeel Ahmed is today, whether we like it or not, a source of inspiration for many young men and women across Nigeria. Even outside APC, I have come across many youth groups whose immediate ambition is meeting Barrister Ismaeel in person. And for a person who is now perceived as a role model to many young men across tribe and religion; Barrister Ismaeel must acknowledge that he has totally lost the right to think of himself. Our request is therefore not for him but through him.
Having said that, it is important that APC and indeed Barrister Ahmed should note some salient facts. For clarity, I will itemise them:
- APC already acknowledged the contributions of youths to its victory. But the youths did not just support the APC, they supported the possibility of having a government that will not only hear their voices but listen to them. Now that God has made ‘possibility’ possible, what we ask is that APC should immediately bring Barr. Ismaeel, the man we know and follow, into governnent. As promised us during the campaign, we belief the government and the party will hearken to our demand.
- APC should know that millions of youths across Nigeria, even those who were hitherto PDP members, supported APC because of Barrister Ismaeel. Due to the roles he played during the campaigns, many young men and women I have encountered followed Barrister Ismaeel because they see in him the ability to defend their rights. They see him as a leader whose only credential is not the “aluta spirit”. They see a man of knowledge and of vision, and that is who they followed and continue to follow. They want their leader in government.
- Barrister Ismaeel, like APC, made promises to the youths who believe and follow him. He already promised the youths that APC would not treat them as followers but as partners. The youths are waiting for the party to fulfill this promise through Barrister Ismaeel himself.
- APC should know that if it fails to carry the youths along in government as it did during the campaigns, it risk losing their support. Already there is a registered youth party that will benefit from the likely exodus of young people from the APC.
Finally and more specifically, it is my desire and prayer that APC would quickly realise, before it is too late, the sort of influence Barrister Ismaeel has on the large percentage of youths of this country. To them, the Barrister is their leader in whom they are well pleased. Should APC therefore fail to give the youths a face in government by quickly bringing in their own hero, I can only imagine what the end consequence would be for the party.
For Barrister Ismaeel Ahmed, my parting words to him is that while he is not desperate for a position in government, multitude of his followers across the length and breadth of Nigeria are waiting to hear the annoucement of his appointment into government. Their desire, as I understand, is not borne out of expectation for cash or sundry benefits but as a mark of their belief in him as someone capable of representing their interests. And there expectation cannot be said to be illegitimate, because as far as I know, Barrister Ismaeel Ahmed is now the bearer of the collective hopes and aspirations of majority of young Nigerians, particularly those who support the APC. My prayer is that God should help the APC and Barrister Ismeel himself to recognize these expectations and to do the needful in order to satisfy them.
Long live the APC
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Abdullahi is on Twitter @mofolohunsho