By Moses Siloko Siasia
Nation-building is a serious task for men and women who are driven by the vision for the common good and the dream of the prosperity of their people. No nation can prosper and grow without the service and dedication of men and women who offer themselves to the service of their people, their state, and in absolute hope to transform the lives of as many people who hitherto had no hope.
Hon. Kingsley Kuku will remain evergreen in the history books when the story of the revival and revamp of the Niger Delta is told. He is a transformative leader, and a good one at that, having been at the forefront of the committed duty to serve Nigeria and the Niger Delta and in ensuring that youths of the oil-rich region got their fair share of God’s given resources.
Nation-building is hard work requiring the dedication of men and women who believe in the vision of a progressive and egalitarian society, such men are few but the Niger Delta and Nigeria found one in the man called Hon. Kingsley Kuku.
This piece is dedicated to celebrating this great son of our country and a proud transformational figure who through his service to Nigeria and the Niger Delta, under the Amnesty Office, brought hope to people, engineered overwhelming development, and helped to bridge the wide gap between the wealth of the people and the access to the rewards and gain of this enormous wealth.
Through his combined efforts with others, he was able to put an end to continuous youth agitations for a better life and in doing so set the tone for a transformative rebuilding of the moral, psychological and social well-being of the Niger Delta people, especially the youths.
Hon. Kuku imbued with a charisma that exemplifies the character of great Nigerians such as Obafemi Awolowo and a few others can be described as a man who, like Awolowo, believed that through investment in quality education, a nation can be saved, rebuilt, and ushered into the part of economic progress.
To demonstrate his belief in education as a vital tool for building a strong society, Hon. Kuku implemented, through the Amnesty Office, what can best be described as the most impactful educational program that saw tens of thousands of Niger Delta and Nigerian youths obtain government scholarships and funding to be trained in different fields of endeavours across the world. At a crucial point of the educational program, there were over 3,074 students in the educational programs across the world with 1,620 studying in Nigerian universities while the rest were in the United Kingdom, Russia, Belarus, South Africa, Malaysia, Philippines, Canada, Kenya, Gambia, Benin, Grenada, United States, Ukraine, Ireland, Sweden, Belgium, and the United Arab Emirates.
Through a well-thought-out education funding approach, all student-delegates in schools in Nigeria were entitled to tuition and accommodation, in-training allowance monthly, textbook allowance, Laptop while the Student-delegates in schools abroad were entitled to tuition, accommodation, health insurance, in-training allowance with several other benefits. Today, those trained under this educational program made possible under the stewardship of Hon Kuku are contributing meaningfully to the economic growth of the Niger Delta region.
Hon. Kingsley Kuku was born on the 14 of February 1970. Through his genuine commitment to environmental rights activism, he was to be appointed Special Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta Affairs and the Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme and through his works in this office brought tremendous development to the people who he was called to serve.
Hon. Kuku attended Patrick Catholic Primary School, Arogbo, Ondo State between 1977–1983. He had his secondary education at Ijaw national High School, Arogbo, Ondo State between 1983–1988. He later proceeded for his higher education and obtained a Bachelor of Education degree in English Language at the Ondo State University, Ado Ekiti, now Ekiti State University in 1995; and M.Sc. in International Relations and Strategic Studies at Igbinedion University, Okada Edo State between 2011–2012.
Hon. Kuku also studied at the University of Cambridge where he got a certificate in Dispute Resolution in 2008. In recognition of his role in the advancement of Nigeria’s fledgling democracy, Kuku was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate in Political Science – Ph.D. (Honoris Causa) in November 2013 by the Igbinedion University, Okada Edo State.
Hon. Kuku also holds a Doctor Of Philosophy (Ph.D. by Research) degree from Selinus University Of Sciences and Literature in International Relations (Peace Studies) and an Executive Certificate in Public Leadership from the Prestigious Harvard Kennedy School of Government in the United States.
This Ijaw Son has shown beyond doubt that our nation can experience growth and a quantum leap in development if we make the right investments in the youths. Through painstaking work, he with the support of then-President Jonathan brought an end to youth restiveness, violent agitations, and crimes that characterized the Niger Delta Region.
As evidence of Hon. Kuku’s dedication to the growth of Nigeria, the state of Georgia, USA, while extending its honorary citizenship to him noted “The Commendation and honour from the State of Georgia is in recognition of your (Kuku’s) unrivalled contribution to Nigeria’s socio-economic growth and development, leading the Presidential Amnesty Program transparently and undertaken monumental projects that have contributed immensely towards reforming the ex-agitators and contributing manpower to the Oil & Gas, aviation, logistics, and other services industry in Nigeria and Africa at large”.
As we celebrate this great son of the Niger Delta on turning 51, it is a time to reminisce about the virtues and passion of nation-building.
It is a Happy Birthday wish from all of us.
Moses Siloko Siasia
Chairman of Mosilo Group, Chairman of Nigerian Young Professionals Forum (NYPF)