In a recent interview, American born 14-year-old, Zuriel Oduwole sat with Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari to ask questions regarding what he is doing to ensure the development of Nigeria as a nation. Known around the world as a creator of positive documentaries which cast Africa in a redeeming light, One cannot help but admire the independent mindedness of such a young Nigerian girl (with Mauritian bloodlines), who is dedicated to controlling the narrative of where she comes from.
Zuriel’s interview with Buhari came at a time when Nigerians had concluded that they will only hear from their president through foreign media journalists (aside from the nationally televised presidential media chat in December 2015). However, during the interview, which took place at Washington DC during Buhari’s visit to Nigerians who have excelled in various fields in the diaspora, Zuriel delved into important issues which the country appears to be grappling with, concerning education, infrastructure and development. Just like Malala Yousafzai, Zuriel chooses to fight for good education opportunities for African girls and it is no surprise that she asked questions surrounding that issue.
By way of answering Zuriel’s questions on education, President Buhari assured Nigerians in the country and in the diaspora that his administration is committed to correcting the mistakes made in the past so we can move forward. According to a statement released on behalf of the president by his special adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, “We are working diligently to correct our mistakes as a nation. We will rehabilitate and expand national infrastructure and move forward as quickly as possible.”
However, it strikes some Nigerians as odd that a year since after assuming power, Buhari and indeed the APC has still not found surefootedness in governance, which is a far cry from the promise made in 2015 to hit the ground running in addressing certain issues plaguing the country’s progress.
It follows, therefore, that if after a year, the Buhari administration is still trying to fix mistakes, what future does that hold for Nigerians? Some believe that regardless of the situation in which Buhari found Nigeria, a year is more than enough for him to reposition the country. “They manipulated us. I blame the current economic woes in Nigeria on the president. No matter the past economic situation of a country, a good manager would have been able to normalise the situation. The way things are going in Nigeria, the economy may shut down soon,” says Ayo Fayose, the current governor of Ekiti state in the Punch Newspaper Nigeria.
However, some believe that things may be looking up for the country regardless of economic woes in the form of scarcity of petroleum products, epileptic electricity and high crime rates. In a country where most Buhari supporters circa 2015, now deny they ever voted for him, the “I Stand with Buhari” advocacy group continues to drum up support for the administration. Although, they have since been formally dissociated from the presidency, they believe that the Buhari administration will being the much needed relief Nigeria needs.
Although there are many Nigerian achievers in America, including 14-year-old Filmmaker, Zuriel Oduwole (who has interviewed 19 presidents including Buhari), Prof. Austin Esogbue (the only African to have served on the board of the United States’ National Aeronautical Space Agency), Jelani Aliyu (leading car designer with General Motors), Prof. Nwadiuto Esiobu (renowned Microbiologist and Biochemist) and Dr. Yemi Badero (an Assistant Professor of Medicine), were those honoured by President Buhari during his visit.
While many people are only aware of Zuriel’s tendency to interview presidents, she is a well rounded filmmaker, dedicated to driving positive stories and encouraging a positive outlook on the continent. No starving children or disease ravaged environment videography stills for Zuriel, all she cares about is making everyone around the world understand that the continent of Africa has so much to give aside from the occasional misrepresentation of her people and places. When she is not shooting documentaries in this regard, she dedicates her time to meeting with presidents from all over the world and finding out what exactly it is they stand for through one-on-one interviews. She has interviewed 18 presidents so far, Buhari being the 19th.
A few of the presidents she has interviewed include Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), Goodluck Jonathan (Nigeria), Salva Kirr Mayardit (South Sudan), Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Liberia), Jorge Fonseco (Cape Verde), Portia Simpson Miller (Jamaica), Thomas Thabane (Lesotho), Ralph Gonsalves (St Vincent & Grenadines) and Denzil Douglas (St Kitts & Nevis).