By Mohammed Funsho Abdullahi
As a founding member of the All Progressives Youth Forum (APYF), I consider it important to make this intervention, especially as a new executive led by the indefatigable Comrade Abduljelil Bala Daba prepares to take office to pilot the affairs of the Kwara Chapter of the nationally renowned youth political association.
The APYF, now a youth arm of the parent body, The Progressive Forum (TPF), was at inception conceived to be a platform that will offer young people the opportunity to deploy their numeric advantage, youthful strength, mental energy and new ideas to deepen political participation and involvement in party politics. It was meant to be a political incubation platform for emerging leaders of the APC and the country.
Formally launched in May, 2013 at the Ladi Kwali Hall of Sheraton Hotels and Suites, Abuja, the APYF offered progressive-minded youths nationwide the opportunity to join together and move enmasse into the emerging new party, APC, which was then still in the process of formation. The objective of the APYF as a body was to mobilize the creative energy of all politically savvy young people across the country to help design the architectural framework of the APC, and by so doing take part effectively in its affairs.
Largely comprised of educated young people with independent source of income, which has helped the forum to stay clear of the ‘fine bara’ style of operation common to political groups of its like; the APYF has largely achieved the vision of its founding fathers, which is couched in its motto: take part to take charge. Over time, members of the forum, in several states across the country and at the national level, have had the opportunity to take part in governance activities and by so doing displaying the creative ingenuity and innovative mind of a bonafide APYF member.
Back home in Kwara, the coming of His Excellency, Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq has conferred an ideological identity on members of the group in the State. Today, every ‘Who Is Who’ in Kwara politics knows there is a certain youth group known as APYF. The reputation of the forum in the State, which was built largely on the foundations of discipline and commitment, has ensured that Kwara APYF remains the go-to youth political group as far as active and creative political participation is concern.
From the pioneer State Coordinator, Hon. Hussein Olajide Nurudeen to my humble self, down to the immediate past coordinator, Comrade Jibril Tunde Salau; APYF has come a long way and made significant contributions towards reshaping the style and method of youth political participation in Kwara State.
While Olajide undertook the hard work that birthed APYF as a youth political group in Kwara State and set up early structures; I focused on involving youth in the policy formulation and execution with the flagship informal conversational engagement with government officials during my tenure. Comrade Tunde Salau, the immediate past coordinator, retooled the forum for greater effective political participation and grassroot engagement. From rallies to pre-election debate for candidates, down to sharing election souvenirs; Salau’s tenure was heavy on political activities which contributed significantly to the victory of APC in the 2023 elections.
Since coming to power, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq has recognized the tremendous impacts young people bring to governance and has given quite a sizeable number the opportunity to put their talents to use. He has made youths stakeholders in the politics and governance of Kwara State, recognizing young people more as critical stakeholders with a voice and clear inputs; rather than just election day mercenaries.
Therefore, considering the personality of His Excellency, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq and the precedent he set in his first term as regards youth inclusion, the prospects for APYF is as bright as a sun. Moreover, it is said that politics is a fair game, it rewards everyone according to their inputs. Kwara APYF, since inception, has made significant contributions to the overall success of the APC in Kwara State and therefore deserves to reap the reward of its long years of sustained and dedicated service to the party and His Excellency, the Governor.
I wish the new executive of our darling forum, particularly the coordinator, Comrade Abduljelil Bala Daba a successful and impactful tenure.
- Abdullahi, a former Deputy Director of youth mobilization in the APC Presidential Campaign Council, is the National Publicity Secretary of TPF, the parent body of APYF.