By Maryam Ado Haruna
The Director of the MacArthur Foundation’s Africa Office, Dr. Kole Ahmed Shettima, expressed that Nigerian youths should become today’s leaders not tomorrow. He explained that the deceptive statement, “leaders of Tomorrow” should be debunked by the youths as they supposed to be the ones leading the nation presently.
The Director made the statement during the monthly Inspiring Leadership Interactive Reflection Series (ILERIS), organised by Center for Information Technology and Development (CITAD).
While giving an opening remarks, the Executive Director of CITAD, Yunusa Ya’u explained that the purposes of ILERIS is to inspire young Nigerians to become better leaders. He added that people are not born with success, they struggle to achieve it.
While narrating his profile, Dr. Shettima explained that talent is a universal gift that is given to everyone by nature, but the opportunity to explore it is the major challenge especially to the northerners in Nigeria. He therefore urged the mentees to make effort in creating opportunities for others, adding that creating a system in which people could remedy themselves is very essential in a society. He further said that people can impact the lives of others with the little they could offer.
During the interaction, the Director lamented that the main goal of the university as universal civic society is missing today as students unionism is been divided. He added that one of the major drawbacks to the younger generation is localization of universities. He also lamented that talent will stop coming from the northern Nigeria as 75% of the children in the north are malnourished, and therefore their brain cannot grow and function effectively.
Dr. Kole has also stressed that if every Nigerian will keep his or her own little corner clean, the whole Nigeria will become cleaned as well, but today, people run away from their responsibilities and criticize the government for things own responsibilities.
In his presentation, Dr. Kole advised the mentees that it is always good to take a risk if it guarantees a better future. He further explained that the only constant thing in this life is change and that people should not copy others; rather, they should try to bring the best in them.
At the end of his presentation, he advised the mentees to be responsible and accountable as well as hard workers, and should not struggle for immediate gratifications. He added that wealth that is made from hardworking and long term struggle is the most beneficial.
Some of the mentees asked the director whether the MacArthur foundation has provisions for People with Disabilities, the Almajiris and the police widows. Another mentees asked whether the director is interested in leadership due to the qualities he possesses.
While responding, Dr. Kole explained that the Foundation makes very difficult decision in deciding who gets its grants due to limited resources, plenty proposals as well as the objectives of the foundation. But he expressed his satisfaction that at least many organisations and individuals benefit from MacArthur’s indirect grants through other organisations like CITAD.
Upon the question whether he will like to contest for a political office, Dr. Kole agreed that he could make more impacts if he was in the government, but he explained that Nigeria lacks leadership recruitment process in form of mentoring and training the potential leaders on the system of governance.
At the end of the interaction, Engineer Kamaludden Umar, the coordinator of the Digital Summer Institute for Young Women in the Northeast and Northwest, which took place at Abuja and Kano, presented the Prize of Tablets to three winners of the summit including Shema’u Adam Imam from Kano, Aisha Ismail from Kaduna and Fusam Shettima from Borno state.
Referring to the statement made earlier by Dr. Kole, the coordinator said that these tablets are opportunities for the beneficiaries to explore their talents in the digital world.