Remarks by Malam Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, at the announcement of the fourth Cohort of the Kashim Ibrahim Fellowship; held at Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, on Monday, 28th June 2021
- The Kashim Ibrahim Fellowship is fulfilling our aspirations as a platform for building leadership capacity and public service orientation in our young people. With its mix of intellectual rigour and practical immersion in the governance structures of the Kaduna State Government, the fellowship is affording young people a chance to work, learn and reflect on public service. The lessons and the impact echo well beyond the 12 months that each fellow spends on the programme.
- We are proud of the excellent work so far done with the first three sets of fellows, and the support of many resource-persons in helping to build these young persons. Leaders in the public sector, business and industry have devoted time pro bono to share their knowledge, experience and insights with the fellows. We are grateful for these priceless interactions between accomplished personalities and these emerging leaders.
- The third cohort of the Kashim Ibrahim Fellowship will shortly be graduating, after which the fourth cohort that has just been unveiled will resume for their 12-month programme. The new fellows will be expected to uphold the high standards already set. The pioneer set of fellows who resumed on 2nd August 2018, and their successor cohorts have amply justified the hopes we invested in them. Kashim Ibrahim Fellows have developed a reputation within government for hard work, giving a good account of themselves in the MDAs to which they are posted, demonstrating creativity, a desire for results and a welcome commitment to the public good.
- This is an expected outcome from a selection process that is based on merit. The 16 fellows in the pioneer set were the best of the 1300 young persons that applied for the programme. That is the yardstick for the other sets as well. Selection by merit has produced a mix of persons from different places and backgrounds within the Nigerian tapestry. The fourth cohort is having 24 members, unlike the first three cohorts which had 16 fellows each. This is a deliberate attempt to widen access to the programme.
- Members of the fourth cohort that has just been unveiled can be proud of themselves. This cohort with representation from 16 states and the FCT is the most diverse so far. The distribution is 50:50 male and female. This is evidence that merit is not the enemy of diversity and gender equity. We look forward to welcoming you to Kaduna. I urge you to devote time in the weeks before resumption to prepare for the challenges and opportunities of the fellowship. Your first weekend as fellows will be dominated by a seminar, followed by immersion in the daily work of government agencies, along with other aspects of the rich and varied fellowship programme, including visits, speaker series and community service.
- The Kaduna State Government believes in our young people. Therefore, we invest in creating platforms and opportunities for them. We have appointed many young persons and given them challenging responsibilities. We are particularly impressed with the commitment and competence of our young women in government. And we initiated the Kashim Ibrahim Fellowship to help widen the pool of young persons whose leadership ability we can help develop and nurture. Just as the appointees in this government come from across Nigeria, we opened up participation in the Kashim Ibrahim Fellowship to all Nigerian youths, with the hope to open to all Africans and the Diaspora.
- I wish to thank all the members of the Governing Board for an excellent job in running the Kashim Ibrahim Fellowship. Dele Olojede, Orode Doherty and Asue Ighodalo have been excellent cheerleaders for the fellowship. The Steering Committee continues to do an excellent job of supporting the Governing Board, and I thank all the members for their efforts. We are also indebted to the many prominent citizens who have spared the precious time to share their life and professional experiences with our fellows during the Speaker Series. They have afforded these young persons incredible insights into life which they will long cherish.
- With young people like our Kashim Ibrahim Fellows, the future of Nigeria is assured, and will, by the Grace of Almighty God, be better than today.
Thank you for listening.
God bless Kaduna State.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.