Kaduna State Governor, Nasiru El-Rufai says the first batch of Kashim Ibrahim Fellows will graduate by Sunday, 7th July, 2019.
He disclosed when he received the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressive Congress, Adams Oshiomhole to give a talk to the Kashim Ibrahim Fellows on public service in Nigeria: An Ethical Dearth and the Audacity of Corruption.
The Governor explained that, the programme was initiated because his administration inherited a broken State divided sharply along religious and ethnic lines.
He disclosed that, the initial thought was to have a fellowship programme for only Kaduna residents but realised that the division is not unique to just Kaduna but a National problem.
“The programme is about involving young people at the formative stages of their lives to live and work together for an extended period of time and immerse themselves into the problems of Nigeria through Kaduna State as an example. This will begin to build a future generation of young leaders that see Nigeria as one Country and Kaduna as one State out of 36,” he stressed.
“Hence we designed the fellowship program to attract sixteen smart and young upcoming Nigerians from across the Country and engaged them for a year”.
He however gave the assurance that, the next batch of fellows are likely to be more than sixteen as the State is making housing expansion to accommodate more fellows.
Governor El-Rufai said each one of the sixteen is smart and accomplished who mostly come from the academia and private sector, hoping that, after their one year of engagement, they will begin to appreciate the importance of public service and need for the best people to hold public positions and not the dreads to hold such positions because that is the only way the Country can move forward.
He expressed how proud the State is of the first set of fellows who will be graduating by Sunday, saying, whether they choose to stay in Kaduna or not, they will at least bear in mind the significance of public service and the kind of contributions they can make to change the lives of others who did not have their kind of privilege.
Speaking, the National Chairman said the fellowship programme is a good initiative worth emulating by other public officers. “The fact that people are drawn from across the Country and encouraged to work together towards achieving a common goal is worth appreciating”.
Oshiomhole appreciated Governor El-Rufai for inviting him to speak to the fellows on public service, issues of corruption, and also encourage them to think differently to become better citizens.
“They are expected to fulfil their heart desires by working hard, acquiring skills and appreciating the oneness and unity of Nigerians. They need to be helped to discover what unites us and also contribute to National unity and being shielded by ethnic and religious bigots.
“Leaders should not continue to lament on issues but instead take measures to address the menace bedevilling the Country”.
He advised the fellows to create a network where they can also relate and retrain others on what they have been mentored on so that Nigeria can produce better leaders in future.