Should President Buhari be lauded for youth inclusion just yet?

24-year old Ahmad is the latest appointee in Buhari’s controversial history of delayed designation. Bashir Ahmad, an indigene of Kano state and a graduate of Mass Communication from Bayero University Kano (BUK), is President Buhari’s Personal Assistant on New Media. His job is to manage all of the President’s communication on social media and other related platforms.

Until his appointment, the 24-year old was the Online Editor for Leadership Newspaper. But before his job at Leadership, he was an online editor and reporter for the locally-based Rariya Hausa Newspaper, a job he landed immediately after graduation from BUK in 2013.

Contrary to what some might think, Ahmad is not green on the political scene; during the 2015 general elections, he was the special assistant on new media to Sam Nda-Isaiah, one of Buhari’s running mates for APC’s presidential ticket and the publisher of Leadership Newspaper. After his boss lost to Buhari, Ahmad was moved to the Buhari Support Organisation’s (BSO) media team ahead of the presidential polls.

Credit - @BashirAhmaad
Credit – @BashirAhmaad

Although the commendations have been pouring in for both Ahmad and the president, it seems nothing the president does can be devoid of controversy. While he has been commended on appointing a member of the youth, there is backlash over the fact that Ahmad is a northerner. During his campaign, President Buhari promised active youth involvement and representation in his administration, but his failure to abide by that promise became eminent after his ministerial overhaul and appointments last November. Once he released the list of his cabinet members, the criticisms started pouring in on gender imbalance, demographics and youth representation.

Youths make up a larger percentage of Nigeria’s population, and also a large percentage of unemployed civil servants. Hence, it only makes sense that they be included in the administrative affairs of the country to improve the social welfare of the populace. President Buhari has to do more than a single appointment to foster youth inclusion in his administration. He also needs to scan other parts of the country – east, west, and south – for further appointments. That way, Nigerians would believe him to be a man of his word, truly abiding by his ‘change’ mantra.

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