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Opinions of Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Columnist: Ferdinard Tiekon

The Young man inspiring communities: Maazu Bayuoni’s story

Life in this world is a great struggle. It is particularly challenging for today’s teeming youth despite the growing perception that, ‘young people of the 21st century have everything on a silver platter, and yet, fail to take up opportunities right before their noses’.

Many people have lofty dreams but only a few of them have the courage to pursue those dreams.

This is the story of a distinguished Ghanaian youth. Like many young Ghanaians, he is surfing against all odds to be successful. But he is choosing to do this rather differently and doing it with others. Maazu is inspiring, empowering and rallying youth around him to strive for greatness albeit challenging obstacles.

Maazu Dramani Bayuoni, also known as Negus, is an enterprising young man who hails from Gwosi in the Upper West Region of Ghana. A rising star and a man of voracious appetite for greatness, he has made it one of his many ambitions to ensure that his fellow youth rise to the occasion to take charge as leaders and shakers in any field that they find themselves.

With his multi -abilities as a social entrepreneur, poet and spoken word artist, Maazu has left many people awed by his wit and leadership qualities on several platforms.

He is an ardent believer in the untapped potential of the youth, and like any great leader, he is taking steps to train young minds and help them unearth their unique God-given talents. Maazu believes in the potential of Africa’s youth to catalyze economic independence for the continent.

But how did it all start? Come with me, let’s dive into the journey of an accomplishing young man.

Anyone who knew Maazu from back in the year 2012, in the small Nandom community at Nandom Senior High School may marvel at how far and fast he has grown; not just in physique but also in his actions and works.
Like any regular Ghanaian child, Maazu had a humble beginning in the Sissala land of Tumu, where he grew up.

He tells me his role in leadership and his passion for poetry began at an early age, when he was class captain in Kindergarten at Great (now Grace) Provider Academy School.

But he will later leave there for Tutco (now Tuce) Model Demonstration School where in JHS1 he represented his district in a poetry competition and in his penultimate level, became the youngest head boy of Tutco Demonstration JHS as at the time.

At Nandom Senior High, Maazu joined the debate club and grew to become a great debater alongside president of the Club. He was also the president of Pen News Club, a vibrant society which specialized in honing the writing and public speaking skills of students by dramatizing trending campus events.

It did not just end there for this ambitious young man as he eventually ventured into campus politics and emerged as an entertainment prefect, performing various roles which came with the office. When I spoke to Maazu in preparation of this story, he relayed to me, that most of the things he achieved in high school were ends he envisioned and planned to achieve.

‘I was silently learning from some of the seniors I admired and picked lessons from them without their knowledge, he said.
Maazu’s journey seems to be an interesting one even from junior high school. However, the real journey started when he gained admission to study in the University of Ghana.

According to him, he experienced cultural shock in his freshman year which eventually led to depression.

“People questioned me about having a ‘northern accent’, asking if it is indeed true that some ‘northerners’ lived in trees. Though this was not my first time in Accra, the continuous harassment with such statements made me feel disoriented and not belonging.

My response to such silly questions was a strong determination to prove to them and to the rest of the world that there is something good not just in the Upper West Region but the whole northern sector of Ghana”.

In Level 200, Maazu resolved to pursue his passion in poetry to a professional level, following in the footsteps of Chief Moomen, Gombilla Tofic & his compatriots. The passionate man that he is, his main objective was to be a voice for the voiceless and to be heard on relevant national issues.

With sheer determination of achieving this objective, he created and released thought-provoking and interesting creative works including ‘Suicide, not a solution’, Welcome to Legon, State of the State Affairs, Lost years; we cannot cry enough, all of which got featured on major news platforms like, and Kuulpeeps Ghana.

He took it a notch higher to unleash a host of other creative pieces which won him not just admirable laurels but also international recognition.

Beyond these, he actively participated in other extra-curricular activities including debating and campus politics. All of which were meant to develop his analytical and leadership skills and build long-lasting social networks.

Frankly, it is quite easy to look at all that Maazu is doing and think that he is getting them done on a silver platter. But hey, do not be deceived. It is a mixture of tenacity, diligence and hard work.

And so, at this juncture, it is safe to state that the journey has not been all rosy, yet he is making the most out of every opportunity, taking it one step at a time and risking it all to succeed.

From being appointed National Public Relations Officer for the Upper West Students Union and subsequently elected President of the Northern Students Union -University of Ghana chapter, to becoming the Deputy Minority Leader of the University of Ghana Parliament House, and General Assembly Member of the University of Ghana SRC, Maazu eventually co-founded Coalition for Positive Impact (CPI) in 2018 while a Level 300 student at the University of Ghana.

CPI is a youth led nonprofit NGO focused on investing in and developing African youth into transformative business leaders and entrepreneurs through innovation, mentorship, and technology. CPI is empowering young people to create jobs, reduce youth unemployment and underemployment and ultimately alleviate poverty.

Since their launch, Maazu has led CPI to reach over 2,000 youth, directly impact 816 of them via the annual Igniting Dreams program and provided seed capital to 8 young entrepreneurs to the sum of GHS12,000. CPI fellows have together raised an amount exceeding GHS60,000 and have employed 19 people, all within 2 years.

According to Maazu, the demographics of the Upper West Region shows a growing youth population synonymous with that of the African continent. Hence, the need to focus time and resources on developing their talents and capabilities and preparing them as agents for sustainable development.

He expressed shock at the creativity and novelty of the youth when his organization hosted its maiden edition of the Igniting Dreams program. He observed that many young people had great ideas but lacked the necessary support for growth. This discovery shaped his philosophy on how to help his people and Africa at large.

And so “rather than saying ‘I’m going to solve problems in water and sanitation, low standards of education, health or agriculture, why not focus on supporting young entrepreneurs and leaders in those fields to succeed by solving these challenges”.

Maazu believes his approach will have a ripple effect and effectively multiply the impact of his work.

“I am very worried about the growing number of unemployed and underemployed youth in Africa. Out of 38.1% of the estimated total working poor in sub-Saharan Africa, young people account for a whopping 23.5%”. CPI’s vision is to create an independent and viable Africa where every young person has a decent job.

Maazu has received many accolades for his good works including being named 1 of 4 most influential youths in the Upper West Region of Ghana (2020), awarded the creative personality award by University of Ghana Student Representative Council (2019), recognized by Commonwealth Hall of the University of Ghana with the Apeadu-Baiden-Koomson Award for Public Spiritedness (2019), selected as a beneficiary of the MIT and WACCI Global start-up labs (Ghana 2019), winner of the Commonwealth Day National Debate Competition (2019), elected as the National Students Awards Showbiz Personality of the year (2018), honoured with a World Poet Laureate award by Pentasi B (2018), among several others.

A pan-Africanist in philosophy and a humanitarian at heart, Maazu’s personal life vision is ‘to be a renowned global leader through advocacy against injustice and corruption and to help people realize their purpose and achieve their aspirations’.

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