Remarks by Malam Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, at the Welcome Ceremony for the Fourth Cohort of the Kashim Ibrahim Fellowship, held at Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, on Wednesday, 1st September 2021
1. We are most delighted to formally welcome the young men and women that have been selected for the fourth cohort of the Kashim Ibrahim Fellowship. The first three sets had 16 fellows each. We have decided to increase the number of fellows to 24, starting from this fourth cohort in order to give more young persons a chance to participate in this leadership capacity building initiative.
2. Our fellows have consistently been selected by merit from a pool of many applicants from across Nigeria. The Kashim Ibrahim Fellowship admission process has consistently demonstrated that merit can be an enabler of diversity. The new fellows are from all parts of Nigeria, specifically 16 states out of 36 and the FCT. As they begin this 12-month adventure, they can proudly say that they are here on their personal qualities.
3. Since 2015, this Kaduna State Government has demonstrated its belief in young people by creating platforms and opportunities for them. We have given many young persons appointments and challenging responsibilities. This interest in youth informed our decision to initiate the Kashim Ibrahim Fellowship, a programme conceived 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. We hope to open it up to all Africans, including those in the Diaspora, at the most appropriate time in the near future.
4. We have been most impressed by the performance of the first three sets of the Kashim Ibrahim Fellowship. They have amply justified the hopes and resources we invested in them, giving a good account of themselves in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies to which they were posted, demonstrating intellectual acuity in their training programmes, and showing a commitment to the public good. Youthful vibrancy, willingness to learn and reliability in delivery have become notable traits among fellows. It is no surprise therefore that several MDAs now look forward to receiving fellows due to the reputation previous sets have built for hard work and quality.
5. As the fellows of the fourth cohort settle into their programme, I wish to challenge each of you to live up to the high standards already set. Fellows, it is firmly in your hands to make the most of the opportunities this one-year programme will offer you. In doing so, you can count on our active support and nurturing. The Kaduna State Government, the Governing Board, and the Administrator of the Kashim Ibrahim Fellowship are committed to making your fellowship a most transformative experience in building public service leadership capacity.
6. It is our intention to challenge you to cover what we observe to be deficits in your education, experience, and attitudes. You will be required to read a lot of books on subjects as diverse as Nigerian history and politics, geopolitics, governance, and global economic trends. Be prepared to read, read, and read, and learn to write and rewrite extensively because we believe these are the keys to your future success.You may find the public service slow and inefficient, but it is the only way to deliver public goods.
7. Dear fellows, I therefore encourage you to give your best in every facet of the programme. That is the attitude that the human and material investments being made in you deserve. Beyond that, the commitment to strive for the best, to focus and to deliver quality are key ingredients of leadership capacity. It requires objectivity, conscious effort and consistent application.
8. I wish to thank all the members of our carefully selected and independent Governing Board for an excellent job in running the Kashim Ibrahim Fellowship. The Steering Committee and the Secretariat continue to do an excellent job of supporting the Governing Board, and I thank all the members for their efforts.
9. Thank you for listening. God bless Kaduna State! God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!