I Will Give My All To My Community, Nigeria No Matter How Small— Dantoro
The Director General Minna Airport City Project and Babanna Free Trade Zone, Niger State, Alhaji Murtala Dantoro is not only a social entrepreneur but also a youth development advocate. In this interview with Leadership.ng,he spoke about his life and passion for humanity . He also spoke about his Non Governmental Organisation(NGO); Youth Initiative for Entrepreneurial, Leadership and Development (YIELD)established 2009 and declared that he would give his all to his community,country no matter how small.Dantoro talked about other issues. Excepts.
Sir, how did you come about community development programme that is no making great impact?
I will like to thank almighty Allah who used my late father to make me the man I am today. When I completed my primary school in New-Bussa, then it was Kwara state, he took me to Ghana to continue my education. One of my friends had a small NGO in Kumasi, so I got involved in it and since then I loved it. Giving back to the community was it for me. After my senior secondary education I had the opportunity to go to Dublin, Republic of Ireland to further my education. When I got there settled I got myself into an organization called New Communities Partnership. It was all about community development. I was involved in so many activities that brought development to various communities. That motivated me to take a course in community development in university. My first BSc Hons in University College Dublin was Housing and Community Studies. I told myself that immediately im done with school I am coming back home to render services to my people in Borgu where I come from. Honestly I was skeptical not to involve the media because i didn’t want to distract the intention, I guess I was naïve but my friends kept telling me to let the world know about this at least it will help the NGO to expand its services and create opportunities to partner with other NGOs in the country and outside.
Who inspired you ?Was it your late father?
A 100 per cent Yes. He made me to realise my purpose in life, it is all about giving and development and growth etc. The Ghana opportunity was the breakthrough for me. Though, I must say I was angry with him then but later I realised that he loved me more than I could imagine. You know anytime I do something for the community I will be expecting him to give me all the credit but it was the opposite. The late Emir of Borgu was an extraordinary gentleman. He was always looking out for people. He never saved money, he was always giving, he told me that the best feeling in life for him was to give hope to the hopeless. He was always peaceful with his people, he made me believe that as a leader you must let your followers have access to you, you must listen to your people. He encouraged me in so many ways. He was so peaceful with himself, if you see my dad bothered about something, trust me its about his people, the situation of the country. I made the decision that I will give my all to my community, to my country, Nigeria no matter how small.
How was the relationship between the President Muhammadu Buhari and your late father like?
I can only use one sentence to describe the relationship between them. They were like the flesh and the bone. They were so close. No one could separate them. Their friendship was unconditional. His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari was everything to him. I will use the common Nigerian saying “A brother from another mother”
Has the President contacted you since the death of your father?
Yes. You know the president is very busy. Nigeria is a complicated country. He is like a father to us. I wish we could get to see him. But of course he is very busy, that I understand.
There are calls by Borgu Emirate for you to go into politics because of the grass root development you are into. Do you have intention of contesting for any elective position soon?
To be honest I love politics. It is very interesting to me. I see politics as an avenue to develop the people. In fact my Masters Degree was International Relations and you know that’s politics. It’s a good thing to participate in politics. The world is political. I am not craving to contest for an elected office. But if I am destined to occupy an elected office, I believe it will come by design and I will definitely give it my all. People kept telling me to go into politics because they believe I will represent them perfectly. I told them if they want me and the time is right, God’s willing I will represent them.
Tell us about your NGO
The NGO was registered in 2009. Though, we have been rendering charitable services to the community before its registration. My friend Mohammed Bashir named the NGO as Youth Initiative for Entrepreneurial, Leadership and Development (YIELD). We concentrated on community building with youths involved. Its all about the youth and the entire communities in Borgu Emirate. We do human capacity building, entrepreneurship programmes, where we train people on skill acquisition. From the little we have we contributed some sewing machines to the participants. We partner with co-operatives to help enhance their businesses, in health we buy pharmaceutical drugs and distribute them across the 20 wards in both Agwara and Borgu local government. In education we train students especially senior secondary school students on Transformational Leadership, we distributed work books in various schools, donated school uniforms for those kids that their parents cannot afford the uniforms, we are currently sponsoring some few students in the universities. The NGOs office in New Bussa has 24hrs internet connection and desktop computers, we use them to apply for jobs online for those that are looking for jobs and cannot afford or have access to the internet. We help students that cannot afford to register NECO/GCE online. We do that for them for free. Sensitisation is another thing we do from time to time especially on girl child education. So much more and more.
What are the challenges your NGO is facing?
Well the challenges are numerous but that’s NGO activities for you. It is always about funding. I want to advice that those, who have the opportunities to help humanity should invest in people;the marginalised, the less privileged. It is service to God and to humanity. I know there are a lot of people, companies, and organisations in Nigeria and outside that want to invest in people through reputable NGOs. I want to encourage them to do it. There is so much joy in giving. I’m doing it. I don’t have much but trust me I’m giving and I’m so fulfilled. I always have this in mind “why do we keep so much while people are starving, dying, craving for support”. There are people in this country that have so much and don’t even know where to put them, some have so much and in excess, I want to say think about it, there are a lot of people in need of a small percentage of the blessings they have all across the country.
Tell us about your late father
The late Emir of Borgu, Alhaji (sen) Haliru Dantoro was a disciplinarian. He had this thing in him, this goal getter spirit. When he believes in a course nothing can change his mind. That’s why he stood by Mr President. My dad was a legend. He was a true leader. A role model for all. He was special. He was a direction towards development, success and growth. He was always talking about Nigeria. How he wishes to see Nigeria get better. Honestly he was God sent. I’m so proud to be his son. He lives in me. I miss him a lot but that’s a feeling I don’t share with anyone.