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

Daily Trust - - DIGEST - By Mansur Abubakar From Li­nus Ef­fiong, Umuahia

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.

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