Amid the parade of perennial politicians from the North comprising those with recycled but unfulfilled ambitions and various other exuberant explorers of political opportunities for self-help, it is easy to assume that politics remains as usual in the region. The two leading political parties appear to be overwhelmingly dominated by these entrenched politicians who restlessly jump from one party to the other in a blind pursuit of the pseudo-ideology of permanent interests and temporary affiliation. Under such prohibitive circumstances the restiveness of the politically conscious youth demanding generational transition of the political class remains shackled and futile as their unyielding oppressors callously implant their pampered children to create dynasties instead. But the frustrations of the oppressed youths, sprouting from the squalor of their marginalized upbringing and the hopeless helplessness of their long-suffering parentage, breeds a daring determination to “join them in order to beat them”, in a decisive departure from the compromising culture of joining them in surrender preferred by the majority.
By sticking out their necks such path-finders initially face the discouragement of disbelieving peers as well as the dismissive mockery of the entrenched politicians and their hirelings. Since these attitudes are not unexpected they cannot be a deterrent to the committed new generation of northern political leaders. A shining example of such bold and courageous new generation youthful Northern political leaders who has actually been blazing a new trail in the politics of presidential aspiration in the region since his quiet but well calculated emergence is Usman Ibrahim Alhaji, now the youngest face in the album of northern presidential aspirants for 2019 elections. He is also the leading presidential aspirant in the National Rescue Movement (NRM), fittingly a new generation political party duly registered by INEC, pushing the irresistible agenda of rescuing the country from the quandary of bad governance by decadent leaders.
In a few months, he has been steadily expanding his national and international constituency of supporters, ranging from youths groups, NGO community, Nigerians in Diaspora, community leaders, elder statesmen to the exalted ranks of royal fathers, notably His Highness, Emir of Gwandu, Alhaji Mohammed Bashar and His Eminence, the Ooni of Ife Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, among others. Without exception, all those who got to know Usman Ibrahim Alhaji and his singular determination to be the flag bearer of a younger generation of northern youth, focused on taking their rightful place in the forefront of political leadership on an updated and innovative template, enthusiastically urging him to stay the course. Usman Ibrahim Alhaji is not your typical northerner in many ways. He comes from a Fulani community near Kalgo in Kebbi State but was born in Makurdi, Benue State and went to school there before his family moved to Umuahia, Abia State following the highly itinerant pattern of cross-country postings of his military officer father. This mixed cultural setting greatly influenced the outlook of Usman Ibrahim Alhaji especially in appreciating the bonds of unity in diversity and understanding the uniqueness of various cultures from the panoramic perspective of a true nationalist.
His true life experiences of the multi-cultural fabric of Nigeria dovetailed harmoniously into the broader parameters of the world community in general and the Diaspora in particular when the quest for higher academic and professional attainments took Usman Ibrahim Alhaji to the United Kingdom where he gained an even more insightful appreciation of the citizenship of Nigeria as the common pride of the numerous ethnicities represented in the Diaspora. His easy going detribalized friendliness won him endearing life-long relationships as recently reflected at a special reception in his honour at the annual convention of the Nigerians In Diaspora Organization in London. His social media sites provide a lively record of the pan-Nigerian composition of his growing community of friends, associates and supporters, while his very mobile schedule of visits to towns and cities all over the country testify to his being at home in every part of the country. Usman Ibrahim Alhaji also represents the new and long-overdue incursion of professionals into partisan politics in the North to eventually displace the all-comers crowd of so-called professional politicians who, having no other gainful engagement, turn politicking into a means of livelihood, thereby resorting to desperate self-seeking antics. He is a graduate of Library and Information Science, University of Maiduguri and a professional educationist. He has had training in Library and Information Software in various countries around the world. In 2003 he was a research fellow of IFLA/ALP Bart-Nwafor Fellowship in Kenya, where he took many courses in Information Communication Technology (ICT).
He was also among the 15 nominated African Librarians trained on Greenstone Digital Library Software by United Nations Education and Scientific Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Dakar, Senegal. While working at the National Library of Nigeria, he served as head of Digitization and Digital Collection. Usman Ibrahim Alhaji was coordinator of National Center of Expertise on Digital Collection Kashim Ibrahim Library, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigerian coordinator of African Digital Libraries Support Network (ADLSN) and Country Director of Elsevier B.V. Netherlands in Nigeria responsible for marketing Elsevier Products and coordinating Nigeria Elsevier Partnership (NEP), an initiative of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities to provide research content, brain circle analysis and support for the creation of visibility of Nigerian research content.
He established his consulting services and found more fulfilling engagement as the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Room to Read Initiative, a Non-Governmental and Non-Profit Organization with the sole objective of providing educational support for the non-privileged and underserved community. He is a businessman, managing two educational consulting companies and one agro allied company.
At 48, Usman Ibrahim Alhaji fits perfectly into the so-called waiting generation of young dynamic Nigerians who have been repeatedly referred to as leaders of tomorrow without any hope of seeing themselves evolve to take up the national responsibility. He strongly urges the tight-sitting leaders of yesterday to retire even if only to see how adequately prepared their successors are. His popular remark whch has since gone viral is: “Our fathers have taught us to fish, it is now time for us to fish and demonstrate how well we have learnt, while our fathers stand aside and monitor our progress with guidance if and where necessary.”
–Joseph wrote from Makurdi
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