The Growth Accelerator: How Nigerian MP Kabir Ibrahim Is Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities for Young People

Hon. Kabir Tukura Ibrahim is a shining light, and has become a beacon of hope for the Nigerian Youth across board. Trail-blazing positive pathways in his quest at instituting the dividends of Democracy in his constituency, Kebbi State. This Young Bachelor of Art degree holder from Usmanu Danfodiyo University is an entrepreneur and a Nigerian politician. A member Of the Federal House of Representatives, representing Zuru/ Fakai/Danko-Wasagu/Sakaba Federal Constituency of Kebbi State, North-western Nigeria, lays it bare with Pleasures Magazine.
Journey from Childhood.

Growing up in Sokoto, I had fond memories which include relative peace way back in time. The co-existence and the strong bond I shared with my family. The amiable All Progressives Congress political party stalwart, started out at the Federal Staff Primary School Sokoto and proceeded to Federal Government College Birnin Yauri Kebbi. Shortly after, became an undergraduate at the department of Linguistic, Uman Danfodiyo University where he obtained a Bachelor of Art degree.

Wondering what part of his background, that prepared him for politics? Hon.Kabir Tukura Ibrahim, believes he’s been destined by God to be a politician. Growing up, I have always been sympathetic as a kid, even to my siblings which endeared me to them. It went up with me and charity became a part of me. This led me into the cause to run for political office.

Unionism as a Student at the University
Even though I never contested for any office at the student Union Government level, but I was actively involved in students unionism. I was the President of my departmental association (European Languages, Literary and Linguistics Student Association) Usman Danfodiyo University.

Family Background
At a time, I was born into a family of Three. Had an elder brother with my Mum and Dad. Currently we are eight children in my family. My Dad was a banker turned politician but now retired and my Mum was a dietician, now also retired. So, I will say I grew up in a family filled with love. My Dad has two wives and my step mum is a lecturer, still working but on the verge of retiring.

Hon.Kabir Tukura Ibrahim, also delved into what he was doing before joining politics.’ After school, I did my Youth Service with the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria Kaduna State. I was retained and worked with them for three years. Later, I joined the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and left precisely on 25th of May 2018 and joined politics. Hon. Ibrahim says it’s not been easy transiting into lawmaking.’ The truth is, my former job at the EFCC requires a lot of discreetness while politics requires you being out there where you will have to strike a balance”. Like I told you earlier, I’ve been involved in charitable causes all my life. I’m in touch with my people at every level, so it wasn’t difficult for me to transit into politics

Parent’s disposition for politics
Typical of every Nigerian parent, they will say why don’t you wait and build your career. I had difficult time convincing my parents. I had to purposely travel to meet my Dad and told him that I have made up my mind. He asked me a lot of questions concerning my fall back plan knowing fully well what my intentions were five years into my previous job. He knew and remembers very clearly. But for me, if you are one who has the passion to grow and the zeal to define yourself in entrepreneurship, there is no need looking back. Five years after I got my previous job, I was planning to quit but my Dad stopped me, so I told him with or without politics, I was going to quit that job. I told him my fall back plan and gave him proof and he said you’re ready and said may God bless you and he gave me his blessings. He called my mum in my presence and said, I think this young man is ready, let’s allow him go on my own term and that’s it, that’s where we are today.

Present political structure from a lawmaker’s perspective and his constituency in 4-5 years?
Being a lawmaker at this time, I wouldn’t say it’s such an unfortunate time, but it’s really not a pleasant time. Reason being that, it’s not as things used to be, things have really changed. And then, if you talk about the general public, there’s a lot of expectation from lawmakers, federal lawmakers especially, the members of the House of Representatives are the vile politicians in Nigeria. There’s no leader who suffers with the populace and the general public than the members of the House of Representatives. For the Senators, you don’t even have access to them, and for those in the states Houses of Assembly, you think they are poor and you don’t even want to bother them with your issues, but you assume that members of the House of Representatives are rich and of course they are accessible. Because most of them are within the age range which makes us to be quite accessible, so you see that we actually suffer for these things. On the current political dispensation, Hon Kabir Ibrahim disclosed that, it’s time Nigerians unite irrespective of who the president is, it’s a global trend, where there’s a lot of violence, global economic meltdown. I must say that Nigeria is even doing well among its peers. In his opinion, comparing Nigeria to Venezuela with what they have like us,’ I think we are doing fairly well. I’m not saying all is well and rosy but the Government is trying its best. It’s a global trend and there’s little or nothing we can do. I remember when Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala was the Minister of Finance and she was insisting on the need for savings for us to have a very strong foreign reserve, everybody turned deaf ears. Governors at that time were busy sharing money from foreign accounts. If a country like Qatar and other countries of the Middle East are able to stabilize, because their foreign reserve is quite strong, these are the things.

Projections for his constituency?
Well, my projections for my constituency in the next 4-5 years, from my personal perspective, two things are certain. These two things are my cardinal objectives for my first term in office as a member of the House of Representatives. One, is to provide tertiary healthcare institution in my constituency of which I have already done a lot in that regard. I have a bill which has passed the first reading, and about to go through the second reading for the establishment of a Federal Medical Center in my constituency. By the grace of God, we have been able to secure funds in the 2020 budget, of which we are about to start construction of a site for a Hospital which eventually will transit into a Federal Medical Center.

Hon Kabir with Rt. Hon Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila.

Secondly, we have an objective and that objective is to create at least 50 millionaire entrepreneurs. Young people between the ages of 18 to 25, that will be successful in their chosen endeavours.
We are doing that through a project called ‘The Common Room’, under ‘Kit Academy Initiative’ and that project will start by the 2nd week in November. What we intend to do is, we are bringing people from the constituency for the maiden edition, we are going to have 30 and these 30 young people will come to Abuja, will be housed and fed and they will attend classes on entrepreneurship on the need to change their mindset from the regular conventional way of doing things. Look at the need for entrepreneurship and the need for us to embrace open market. Once we are able to achieve that, we will now expose them to various fields of entrepreneurship such as, Agriculture, Recycling, Event planning, content creation and a lot more. Once we expose them to these things, they identify their areas of interest, we test them on it and at the end of that we break a little. When they come back, we attach them to mentors for six months and at the end of the six months, they’re ready to go into the world. We are doing this in partnership with BankOf Industry, Heritage Bank and a number of others. We will be able to raise funds for them, start-up capital and this will enable them start up their businesses. The academy will keep tabs on them, doing monitoring, evaluation and progress.

Whatever hitches they are facing; we will support them where need be. If we are able to sustain this every year, for the first year, we’re doing 30. But in subsequent years, we’ll have 40 each year. So, once we are able to have this, give or take, if you have, say like 150 people enrolled in four years and we have 50 that are successful from the 150 and are able to stand on their feet as successful young entrepreneurs, it’s going to have ripple effect in the sense that everyone of them will employ young people and the young people you have to employ will come from the constituency. By that, we are creating multiple streams of employment and of course you’ll have sustainable millionaires in the constituency. These are my two major objectives as it is now.

Any challenges politically and what will you like to change in your constituency?
Challenges are everywhere. Being a young person alone comes with its own peculiar challenges. People will think, he is young and irresponsible, he doesn’t know what he’s doing but we are proving them wrong. Even the naysayers are now saying we didn’t think this was going to work and now they are saying, yeah its working. So if I have to change one thing in my constituency, I will bring roads to my constituency, we’re lacking in roads. The roads are very important for us because we don’t have any major access road that is good. But I’m glad as it is now; contracts have been awarded for the roads. What is there is to first secure the finances and finance the projects.

Aside Politics, What other venture are you into and what drives you?
Aside poilitics, I’m a serial entrepreneur. I’m an agripreneur and also into construction as well as a number of things. For me as a young person, what has driven me is, for anything that comes my way
Its either I can do it or I get somebody who will partner to do it with me. If you look at life like that and accept those challenges, you will learn a lot of things. There’s hardly anything, name it, I will tell you one way or the other I have tried to venture into, as long its legitimate. Hon.Kabir Ibrahim is always driven by integrity and fairness. I tell people, whenever you meet people, meet them with open mind even if you ‘ve been told stories about them, be open. Don’t think that, one is there to do the wrong things to you, unless he gives you a reason to. To me openness, fairness and good integrity are what drives me. And if I find out you have one of these qualities, you automatically become my friend. And of course, you have to be purposeful and something has to drive you, you have to know what you want and be determined…these are the things that drive me.

What do you read at your spare time?
What I love to read the most are biographies and autobiographies of great people. From them we learn a lot. The day you stop learning, that’s the day you’re dead. We are alive, we have to learn. As I speak to you, I’m back in school in 200 level studying law at Baze University. Irrespective of my tight schedule I still make out time to study.

What are the things you do for leisure; how do you relax?
First and foremost, when I have spare time, I like to spend it with my family. Reason being that, I’m a very busy person. I don’t really go out. So when I have time; I love to spend it with my family. Aside that, I hang out with my friends a lot when I have time as well. Maybe once in two weeks, sometime once a month, we just create time and just be together and just laugh. For sports I play tennis and swimming.

Advice for young people that are coming up who might think you got to where you are by luck?
Like I always say anytime I have the opportunity, first you need to know what you want and then plantowards it, and if it doesn’t work for you, don’t look at it as if you have failed. Dust yourself up, stand up, look at the procedures you followed, identify where you got it wrong and fix it. I keep telling people, especially when I mentor young people on entrepreneurship, I do a lot of that. I like to mentor young people on entrepreneurship, I tell them o.k., and you did this business plan and executed it and had problems. Look at it; see where you got it wrong and then correct it. You will see that.1.2.3 times, the fourth time, you will get it right and by the time you perfect the system, the rest will be history. It’s all about determination. When you want something, be determined about it, be deliberate. Know what you want, you have to be deliberate. When I was contesting for the House of Reps, there were offers given to me. Some wanted to give me money to pull out, some wanted to give me offer to contest for the State House of Assembly but I said no. They said ok let’s see how you’re going to get there. And then I said you are not God, and then I did my home work and with the help of God, we are able to get to where we are. You must be determined and purposeful in life. You must be focused and ultimately be honest when you deal with people. Be honest to yourself and be honest with people that will take you to places
Hon. Kabir Ibrahim, in his final words to Nigerians describes the situation we find ourselves as one that is difficult. Nigeria has never been in such turmoil as it is now.” We as leaders must rise up to our responsibilities which we are doing in our own little way. But then again to the followers, I must say we must be patient.

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