Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state believes that empowering youths for leadership requires deliberate effort to create platforms to train and avail them with practical skills.
The Deputy Governor of Kaduna state, Dr Hadiza Balarabe, made this known while unveiling the fifth set of Kashim Ibrahim Fellows, comprising 24 young Nigerians who were selected through a rigorous, merit-based process.
At a ceremony which took place at Government House Kaduna, with members of the Steering Committee and KIF Alumni in attendance, Dr Balarabe praised the programme which started in 2018.
According to her, KIF seeks to bequeath to Nigeria leaders that will move the nation’s public service in the direction of purposeful development.
“Malam Nasir El-Rufai conceived this Fellowship targeted at improving the future of Nigeria by catching young Nigerians in their formative ages and bringing them up as capable and committed young leaders who recognize the importance of public service in building the country we dream of,’’ she noted.
The Deputy Governor pointed out that the programme brings to the fore, the essence of leadership in success and development, adding that “An army of sheep led by a lion can defeat an army of lions led by a sheep”.
‘’Nigeria’s public service today is dominated by lambs. At the end of your one-year training under the Kashim Ibrahim Fellowship, we hope to make lions out of you. Lions that shall roar Nigeria’s public service to better heights,’’ she said.
Speaking earlier, the Programme Administrator of the KIF, Zainab Mohammed, said the 24 fellows of the fifth cohort were selected out of 6,983 applicants that registered online.
The Administrator added that the 24 fellows comprise eight persons from Kaduna state and 16 from other states of the country, adding that a gender balance in the merit-based and transparent selection process was maintained.
She disclosed that since the commencement of the programme in 2018, 16 fellows were selected to participate but in 2021 the programme was expanded to admit 24 fellows.
The current set of the fellows, who commenced their programme in August 2021, are set to graduate in July 2022, while the fifth set is expected to commence the one-year intensive leadership programme in August 2022.