Mentoring the younger generation of Nigerians should be a responsibility that each and every one of us should take. Change does not happen overnight, we have to work for it. It is in the light of this that today this column will pay tribute to a young Nigerian, whose name you may be hearing for the first time, but one who serves as an example for the youth of his age. This young man, still in his twenties is no one other than Muhammad Fardeen Dodo, originally from Katsina State in north-western part of Nigeria.
Fardeen is a graduate of Agricultural engineering from Bayero University Kano, where he graduated with an upper second class honours degree in 2009. After his National Youth Service Corp, and a couple of work experience including a stint with Zenith Bank in Sokoto State, he secured the Petroleum Technology Development Fund scholarship, which brought him to northern England, to study for a master’s degree in Renewable Energy, Enterprise and Management at Newcastle University.
I met Fardeen Dodo in December 2011 when we were planning for the Annual General Meeting and Winter Conference for the Nigeria Muslim Forum, UK, together with other members of the Local Organising Committee such as Malam Sani Makarfi, a lecturer at Kaduna State University, currently pursuing his PhD, Dr Mukhtar Ahmad a medical doctor, and Malam Abdullahi Bello, formally of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and presently a PhD student conducting research on money laundering at the Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University.
Fardeen Dodo came forward as a volunteer for the planning of the conference. And this is the main point that motivated me to write about this young man. The culture of volunteering for a good cause is something we need to promote among the younger generation. Nothing is more valuable than time. A lot of the things that may require financial commitment can equally be achieved without spending a penny, if we can adopt the culture of volunteering. For a project to be successful, you need planning, expertise and resources, which means by getting some individuals to volunteer their time and expertise, you have potentially achieve more than two-thirds of the requirements, you only need to work for the remaining one-third.
Another way of looking at it is; if for instance, in a small locality there are 10 university graduates, specialising in different fields like mathematics, chemistry, physics, biology etc, should each of them volunteer just two hours of his time in a week between Monday and Friday to teach the secondary school students in that locality in order to help them pass their school certificate examination, it means you will have an average of four dedicated hours a day, covered by two volunteers. Imagine the difference that will make in helping that small locality to engage the youth in the area and help them pass their examination, but also build a community of committed individuals. In short, one will even suggest that the few people in that area who have to employ a lesson teacher to do that same job can as well let their children join the same lesson while a fund can be created where they can save the money they spend on lesson teachers to support the education of the less privileged in society. A win-win situation it is.
Back to the subject of our discussion, Fardeen was never afraid to volunteer his time for a good cause. Within the one year he was in Newcastle, almost daily, he dedicated part of his time for a worthy project. He was involved in support for orphan projects, healthcare programmes, assisting new students, distributing publicity materials for events organised by different charities and organisations, website management, video/audio recordings etc. In fact the name Fardeen became associated with anything successfully organised by different communities; and while volunteering his time, he never forgot the primary responsibility that brought him to Newcastle, which is his studies.
And to the delight of many, Fardeen did not excel in volunteering only, but as his programme came to an end, he also graduated with distinction. What else than to thank almighty Allah for his bounties on this young man. The lesson here for the younger generation is that you can’t plant laziness, and expect to harvest success. My advice is that Mr Fardeen should remain focused, humble, hardworking, and try to pass on these rare qualities that he possesses to his peers. It is our prayer, that with such distinction he can hopefully secure another scholarship to pursue a doctoral degree. It is not easy to write about individuals, but for those who make difference to others, we should be prepared to let our ink dry in helping their cause. What do you think?
Dr. Yusha’u (firstname.lastname@example.org), a former staff of the BBC, teaches journalism at the University of Northumbria at Newcastle, England. He is a weekly columnist for PREMIUM TIMES