Home Life Style Kole Shettima and Amina Salihu: Celebrating Another Year of Selfless Service

Kole Shettima and Amina Salihu: Celebrating Another Year of Selfless Service

by Isiyaku Ahmed
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By Zikirullahi M. Ibrahim

Today, Nigeria’s civil society celebrates Dr. Kole Shettima and Dr. Amina Salihu on the occasion of their birthday. Their birthday falls at a time Nigeria is facing numerous governance challenges, including a cash crisis, fuel scarcity, and violent insecurity, among others. However, despite the numerous obstacles confronting our dear country, the examples and dispositions provided by Kole and Amina have over the years served as energizers of the collective struggle for a better country. One can take solace in the fact that their personalities and professional dispositions exemplify the qualities necessary to turn Nigeria’s fortunes around.

So, what are these unique characteristics that have distinguished these two individuals, whose efforts have illuminated the paths of others in their pursuit of democracy and accountable governance? The first characteristic that distinguishes them is their patriotic commitment to the good of the country. Kole and Amina anchor their efforts on the conviction that this country’s vast and diverse potentials can be translated into lived realities for the people. Little wonder, in their professional lives, the duo has dedicated massive amounts of time and effort to building bridges of friendship and solidarity all across the country.

Kole and Amina are both from the school that prioritizes going together to go farther rather than going alone to go faster when it comes to creating opportunities for project implementation and learning. As a result, the duo has been at the forefront of initiatives that have allowed civic organizations to grow by learning and collaborating.

Nonetheless, a patriotic disposition and a knack for bridge building are insufficient to produce results. This means that talents and skills must be combined in order to achieve the desired results in the struggle for democracy, human rights, and accountable governance.

Kole and Amina have made it a point to encourage their friends and colleagues in Nigeria’s civic movement not to settle for less. This commitment to excellence is evident in the numerous conversations the duo has initiated and shaped about ensuring project impact throughout the project cycle. Similarly, Kole and Amina have been insistent on ensuring the voices and views of historically marginalized groups are effectively reflected in program implementation.

In this regard, the duo has been at the forefront of ensuring that civil society organizations hold themselves accountable in terms of their commitment to their beneficiaries. As such, gender, social inclusion, and equity are not abstract and textbook suppositions for Kole and Amina. Those concepts, for them, are the driving forces that civil society should use in practice to change social relations. There is always a “so what” question for this special duo of resilient, committed, and dedicated facilitators of efforts to strengthen democracy, human security, and good governance. The question stands at the heart of the struggle for impact in terms of the betterment of the social conditions of the vulnerable and oppressed.

For us at the Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), it is not simply a matter of paying glowing tributes. It is about constantly internalizing the approaches and ideas that these two civic leaders have so generously shared during their professional endeavors. Their unwavering belief in the possibility of a better world characterized by justice, equity, and respect for human dignity serves as an inspiration. We are also enthralled by the fact that Kole and Amina, despite the many issues confronting our great nation, see great possibilities in Nigeria’s future and have worked tirelessly to bring them to realization.

CHRICED particularly celebrates the duo of the MacArthur Foundation for their stellar contributions to policies, plans, and programs, which have empowered and mobilized civic agencies in Nigeria to deepen the conversation around human rights. The renewed vigour in citizen action, and resonance of the civic voice in Nigeria, particularly the reinvigoration of grassroots efforts to promote citizens’ demands for accountability in the use of public resources, are some of the results of the hard work, which the celebrants and their colleagues at the MacArthur Foundation have put into the collective push for a better country.

These are no mean feats considering the complexities of the transparency and accountability deficits Nigeria currently faces. As they celebrate the milestone today, we wish them more joy, strength, and God’s bountiful blessings.

Happy birthday Dr. Kole Ahmed Shettima, and Dr. Amina Salhu! We wish you many more joyful returns of this special day.

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