Youth’s growth retarded by poor support, access to information — Dasuki
Salihu Ibrahim Dasuki, has a PhD in Computing from Brunel University, West London. The Plateau State indigene is now a senior lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University in the United Kingdom after a little sojourn in Baze University Abuja. The 30 year old sp
What motivated you to go into computing?
My dad is an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) practitioner, so I guess I just followed his path especially in the areas of ICTs contribution to human development which is where my research lies. Apart from me, my senior brother is computer scientist currently working as IT project manager in Federal Inland Revenue Service, Abuja.
How does it feel being one of the youngest PhD holders?
As a Nigerian from the North I feel very proud especially with the high rate of illiteracy in the region. Attaining a PhD at 24 has provided me the opportunity to be not only a mentor but an ambassador to a lot of our youth not only in the North but Nigeria as a whole.
What advice do you have for young people treading similar path?
They should continue working hard to transform their dreams into reality. Hard work, dedication, networking and prayers is key. Also, they should please go ahead and attain the highest level of qualifications out there. They should never give up.
Opportunities are there but there are also challenges. A lot of the youth do not have access to this information and support. However, many of my colleagues and I have tried to share these opportunities through our little networks and social media outlets, but it’s not enough.
To do a PhD requires a lot of money and if you cannot fund it yourself, then you will have to look for external funding. In Nigeria funding is great problem and sometimes it is politicised. The international funding requires a strong recommendation letter from your university, but trust me, getting that from a lecturer is a great task for many of our promising Nigerian students.
What’s your take on Nigeria’s education system and how could it be uplifted?
The Nigeria education system is challenging for young aspiring lecturer like me. Instead of supporting young lecturers, we are rather seen as a threat. I worked in an institution in Nigeria where my dean threatened to fire me not for any reason just because I was doing the right stuff which was teaching, publishing in the right journals, grant seeking and refusing to play the university politics.
Have you noticed how many students TETFUND or PTDF sponsor to do PhD abroad, after completion, majority do not come back, you know why, because of the rot in the system. And that’s not fair on our students.
How are you relishing your role at Sheffield Hallam University?
It’s been great to work here, I am been appreciated for my hard work and worth. I got this job while I was in Nigeria and during the BREXIT, so there is no doubt Sheffield Hallam University appreciates who I am and what I do and that’s the reason they sponsored me to come teach and do research here, and it’s been welcoming and receptive. I love it here. I am working with a wonderful team.
Do you see yourself back in Nigeria soon?
Yes, home is home. I tried to come back to contribute my quota but obviously I got rejected. For now, I am focused on my career, teaching and doing research and in some few years to come, I hope to return back home as a full professor and most probably the youngest professor in Nigeria. I aim to achieve that before I get to 35.
Do you plan to have an initiative where Nigerians could benefit from your knowledge?
I do not have an NGO yet however I usually partner with my dad on his ‘Nakande Foundation’ aimed at empowering northern youth within the domain of ICTs. We have also been contributing learning materials to university and schools in Nigeria. I use my little networks to gather computing textbooks and send it back home to our libraries. One hundred and fifty rural dwellers in Isiukwuato Local Government of Abia state have benefited from the Health initiative for Rural Dwellers programme organised by the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
At the event, inhabitants of the area with diverse health issues ranging from malaria, typhoid, and arthritis and were attended to by the Corps medical personnel drawn from the Health Campaign CDS group.
Speaking, the Executive Chairman of the LGA Hon. Nnamdi Udueze commended the NYSC for attending to the health needs of his people and promised continued assistance to the scheme to enable it achieve its aims and objectives.
The State NYSC coordinator, Mrs Ifon Francesca said the Health initiative for rural dwellers programme was aimed at reaching the rural dwellers in need of health care and commended the health CDS Group in Isiukwuato for giving back to the society.
The State Coordinator also thanked various donors and sponsors who ensure the success of the two days medical outreach.