Kaduna was honoured to have hosted an event which is foreseen to be a milestone in the political, social and economic awareness for the progression of Arewa.
It is no secret that the people of Arewa have a fiery spirit of nationalism, leadership and of survival burning inside of them.
It is no secret that a set of people instrumental to fighting for Nigeria’s independence and in fashioning Nigeria to become a great post-colonial country are majorly from the North. This much is evidenced in books of history and auto-biographical recounts of those who witnessed the birth of the nation.
But it is equally not a secret that that spirit of doing greater things innate in the heart of the North has fallen into a grave coma which threatens the stability and the core elements that make up the Northern part of Nigeria.
The 5th and 6th of July, 2019 marked the much anticipated maiden Northern Youth Summit themed; ‘Awakening The Arewa Spirit’. A product of the Northern Youth Initiative, the Northern Youth Summit was organised as a positive energy to jolt awake the otherwise comatose Arewa spirit.
I was privy to the first event, a networking and marketing program which chiefly featured an exhibition of a variety of wares, products and food from vendors from all over.
It was an event which fed the eyes on plenty colourful people some of whom were familiar social media faces, tickled the nose with wafts of sizzling aromatic chicken and other assortment of delicacies and gave a sense of delight with fragrances from different incense stands.
Many other things on display were clothings, accessories, arts and craft and other wares.
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All shameless advertising aside, it was a good way to network.
In recounting the 2nd day of the summit which was tagged “The Talk” (I wasn’t opportune to attend as I was socially unavailable), Architect Hauwa Musa, the CEO of Tahmys Spices and SOVs and a volunteer said ‘it was an insightful event that went for the jugular’.
‘It outlined the problems facing arewa: laziness, poverty, illiteracy, lack of discipline, lack of self reliance and poor knowledge of the institution of marriage as well as entitlement.
It was divided into three panels :
Changing mindset’ which focused on the laziness of the arewa youth and our reliance on hand me downs. The proffered solutions were : The establishment of an all inclusive entrepreneurship program and center with satellite campuses in each arewa state so youths can learn skills that will benefit them, and a monitoring of these youths to ensure continuity and success.
Another action call is the creation of the Northern Hibiscus app to register and monitor arewa businesses to protect them from social media scammers and also help businesses save money (adashe), all for the betterment of the youth.
She highlighted the The 2nd Panel : Entrepreneurship from Zero to Hero where they talked about the steps leading to success in the entrepreneurship world. The panelists advised that there is no easy way to business and that steadfastness and patience pays.
And that entrepreneurs, especially female entrepreneurs should refuse to give up and accept defeat in any chosen field of business they venture into.
On the last panel: the decay in our marital institution moderated by Ali Amin discussed the rising rate of divorce in arewa, it’s causes and probable solutions.
They discussed issues like : unrealistic expectations (fake portrayal), forced marriage, cheating and lack of preparedness of the youth for the institution of marriage and the patriarchal lifestyle of the north.
The rhetorical questions like “is the institution failing because woman are beginning to speak up?” were asked.The panelists pointed out that there was no full proof solution to this problem and different solutions for different problems and individuals but these solutions can go a long way in dealing with these problems.
Keeping God close and your family close, maintaining fidelity, mutual respect within the marriage, communication, constant feedback within the marriage and most importantly, knowing who you are marrying and expecting a spouse to change after marriage. They implored on individuals to understand the institution, the person’s vices and bring back the concept of marriage contract and also gain understanding of one’s rights and responsibilities towards a spouse.
Umar Buhari Ali summarised the whole Summit beautifully.
‘The Northern Youth Summit was organised to draw the attention of the youth with a view to reawakening the Arewa spirit.
His Excellency, Ahmed El-Rufai , the Governor Of Kaduna State, happened to be an accidental guest at the occasion. Highlights of issues discussed include poverty, almajiranchi(bara), drug abuse, broken homes and marriages, gender molestation among other ills. It is very clear that the time is high for the Northern Youth to rewrite their story.
Gov El-rufai admitted the fact that the youth will have to get on the stage and pointed out how he has been encouraging and bringing a number of them on board in his government.
Hon Abdulmumini Jibrin, a Kano state Lawmaker who was the main sponsor, in his keynote address emphasised the need for us to stop living in our past glory and face the future with courage and determination.
Hajiya Aisha El-rufai noted the unfortunate incident involving a Northern Youth Senator that has gone viral and offered some words of advice while the DG NBTI commended the governor for his bold initiatives .
Maryam Lemu other guests and panelists all made their contributions.
A member of the Local Organizing Committee and founder of Arewa’s top Instagram blog, Muhammad Awwal of Hausa Fulani said that been the part of the LOC is a huge accomplishment for me and for all.
‘We all appreciate Aisha Falke for bringing this amazing idea of awakening Arewa to the table. Northern Youth Summit 2019 was indeed a glamorous success!
The Summit was about changing our mindset for the better and how we can come together as a unit, empower, support and promote ourselves. It also highlighted how we can revive our values as a society and much more.
We need to start talking to ourselves about the series of problems affecting our society; issues of insecurity, drug abuse, Almajiri, marriage problems, etc.
I strongly believe that this summit will surely bring positive changes as long as we can come together and work as one.
And I’m certain this summit shall continue annually In Sha Allah.All thanks to the entire officials for this incredible event’ concluded Awwal.
With emphasis on how the Northern Youth Summit personally impacted her, Dr. Bilkisu Yusuf Yakubu had this to say, ‘The Northern Youth Summit was an amazing experience. I realised that Northern Nigeria has what it really takes to be a great place not a place where we are meant to suffer.
The third panel made me discover that we have a lot of work to do in the aspect of marriage. Parents don’t prepare their children for marriage and a lot of couples don’t really know what they are up for so most marriages are based on what people see on social media not knowing no two marriages are identical.
By and large I have been motivated beyond my imagination to pursue my goal of combining being a doctor , a housewife and an Entrepreneur In Sha Allah. DOCPRENEUR’.
Personally, the highlight of the event I attended physically was not only when we made sales or business contact but the interaction that came from it.
The highlight of the event I attended virtually was the impromptu visit of the most proactive Nigerian Governor and his wife Hajiya Aisha Ummi Garba who is easily the most stylish First Lady. Her dressing for both events were my favorite.
So all said and done, a question still nags the base of my brain, what does this summit mean to Arewa as a whole, not to the organisers only, not to the attendees or participants but to the common man. The ones on the streets, the ones who had no idea the summit took place. Will it be a catalyst to a domino effect of restoration of the Arewa glory or a talk that was heard, applauded and photographed whose lessons are frozen in time and left in the venue of the summit.
Will it be the genesis of an annual awakening till we wake up from our developmental hibernation? Or will it be a written achievement attached to a paper stored in the archives of a passive history?
One thing is for sure. The summit happened, impact was felt, it is left for the ones imparted with the tools to make a change to do so. Because all talk and now work is a cause that has already been lost.
A suggestion I’d like to make to the organizers for the next summit is to work under the umbrella of the organising initiative, Northern Youth Initiative and not as a personal cause because the success of the initiative is a success to them and to all. I suggest they be more in the shadows, that will be more appealing to even international communities because NGO’s always attract more than individuals.
Another is to diversify the speakers. Get more speakers who are less in the public eye but equally, if not more experienced. And for the sake of inclusivity, people from different backgrounds , works of life and beliefs because what we lack more than anything is an understanding that the world is wider than our immediate and environment and that there’s a lot to learn from others than we realise.