Kuku and the Distinguished Alumnus Award
Ekiti State University (EKSU) Alumni Association recently bestowed an award tagged“Distinguished Alumnus Award” on Hon. Kingsley Kuku, the Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta Matters. Kuku, who is the Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), was conferred with the prestigious award for his numerous contributions to the growth and development of the institution, the Niger Delta region and Nigeria at large.
According to Bola Ogunlayi, National President of the association, Kuku is the second beneficiary of the award since the inception of the association. Speaking with journalists prior to the award ceremony which took place in Ado-Ekiti, Ogunlayi recalled some of the positive impacts made by the amnesty chief as lawmaker in Ondo State House of Assembly and presently as special adviser to the President. He concluded that kuku, a students' union leader in his days as a student of the university, rightly merited such a great honour from the alumni association of his alma-mater.
While congratulating Kuku on the award, Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman, said the amnesty programme for ex-Niger Delta militants under his direct supervision has been a huge success.The Senator noted that the award was an honour well-deserved for a man, who according to him, is obviously the brain behind the success story of the amnesty programme that has returned peace to the oil-rich region, which was hitherto a centre of violence due to militant activities.
Abatemi-Usman described Kuku as a courageous, fearless and brave young man who was deeply involved in the Niger Delta struggle, and has been able to prove his mettle in the discharge of his duty as the coordinator of PAP initiated by late President Umar Musa Yar'Adua and sustained by Jonathan.
Commending the EKSU alumni association for choosing Kuku for the esteemed award, the legislator representing Kogi Central Senatorial District said: “I congratulate Hon. Kingsley Kuku, for the 'Distinguished Alumnus Award' bestowed on him by the Ekiti State University Alumni Association. For such a highly prestigious award to be bestowed on him is a clear indication that the association recognizes the good work of kuku not just in offering assistance to his alma-mater, but also in the proper management of the affairs of the Niger Delta amnesty office. The amnesty programme under kuku has been a great monumental success.”
Kuku, no doubt, has truly shown great passion, zeal and commitment to his amnesty job, which, in the views of many, has in no small measure helped to revamp the country's economy, which was on the verge of collapse before the introduction of the amnesty programme. To demonstrate his love for the work he is doing in restoring peace to Niger Delta, and by extension, Nigeria, Kuku told newsmen who wanted to know about his future political ambition that the workload of the amnesty scheme given to him by the President would not allow him contest in the 2015 election.
Hear him: “I read a report in the newspapers where it was analyzed that I am one of the top contenders for the senatorial seat of Ondo South in 2015; though I hail from Arogbo in Ese-Odo council of the state, one of the council area that made up Ondo South senatorial district, I say boldly before you today that I have no plan to contest any elective position. The national assignment given to me by my boss, President Goodluck Jonathan, in the Amnesty office is more important than any elective position and I cannot afford to fail on the job.”
According to him, “the success of the Amnesty Programme is very dear to the heart of President Jonathan and so I can't dump the job to seek any elective position since the amnesty programme will terminate in 2015 and the President won't allow me abandoning the boat of success of the programme midway.”
As part of his effort towards the advancement of the oil-rich Niger Delta region, Kuku, who clocked 43 years on February 14, this year, presented to the public a book captioned: “Remaking the Niger Delta: Challenges and Opportunities” in September 2012.
Reviewing the book in a publication, Professor Godini Darah of Delta State University, Abraka, remarked that “The 10-chapter book is anchored on the parable of the Amnesty Programme, but the bulk of the argument is directed to the larger challenge of transforming Nigeria into a self-reliant, industrial and multi-cultural nation.”
In the words of the Professor, “The author has the requisite credentials to write the book. He is the Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on the Niger Delta and Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme. He was an executive member of the Ijaw Youth Congress, which produced the famous Kaiama Declaration of December 1998 that inaugurated a new phase of the struggle for resource ownership and self-determination. Kuku was also Special Assistant/Head of Conflict Management Unit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) when his compatriot, Timi Alaibe was the Managing Director. He was Special Adviser to the late President Yar'Adua on Niger Delta Affairs during the height of the insurgency in the region. In 2009, he was a member of the Presidential Committee on Amnesty. The author is therefore a compendium of knowledge and experience; he has had nearly 20 years of radical activism in the emancipation politics of the Niger Delta. He has been to all the creeks and aggrieved communities among them. Kuku has encountered every leader of the guerrilla groups and has imbibed all the virtues that come with such intensive and extensive experience. This is why his views in the book carry the ring of authenticity and audacious hope.”
In recognition of Kuku's stupendous feats, a group, the Niger Delta Indigenous Movement for Radical Change (NDIMRC) last year poured encomium on him, while threatening total war against some other people from the Niger Delta region over what it described as their “total failure” in Jonathan's administration.
NDIMRC President, Nelly Emma said:“Hon. Kuku is a visionary leader who is looking ahead to a very peaceful Niger Delta region that will bring great benefit to the Nigerian nation. He is one man working very closely with President Jonathan to ensure a very bright future for all Nigerians because without peace in the region, there will be no peace in Nigeria as a whole.”
The group also held that “the amnesty programme under Hon. Kuku is working and we make bold to say that we are proud of him because of the confidence he has brought to the administration of President Jonathan… If others who are from the region (Niger Delta) and in the administration of the President are working like Hon. Kuku, President Jonathan would have recorded more successes than he has done.”
While I congratulate Kuku on the “Distinguished Alumnus Award” bestowed on him by the EKSU Alumni Association, I encourage him to endeavour to keep the flag flying, as he continues to pilot the affairs of the amnesty office, saddled with the responsibility of catering for the 30,000 repentant militants from the Niger Delta axis of the country. He must not allow himself to be carried away by this award and many others he had received before now and even the accolades that are being showered on him. He must remain focused in his determined spirit to see to the sustenance of the current peaceful ambiance in the Niger Delta.
Michael Jegede, a media expert wrote from Abuja