By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – THE Catholic Pontiff, Pope Francis in conjunction with the Kukah Centre and Spanish Entrepreneur have started digital leadership training for vulnerable youths in the 19 Northern States of the country.
This was disclosed by the Director of Kukah Centre, Dr. Arthur Martins, after meeting with the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja Monday.
Martins who spoke with State House correspondents after the meeting noted that Nigeria has enough of people that were academically qualified but lacked he ethical orientation to make them become great leaders.
In the interaction with journalists, he said, “We came here to present to the Vice President the Kukah Centre Leadership intents for 2017, we had planned to do this last December but his schedule was fully booked.
“It is an idea to provide a platform for promising young men and women an idea to learn and develop professionally. First to develop their professional competence in certain platform so that they can actually carry out issues around leadership they have manifested in various ways.
“But much more importantly, we are not just talking about the professional competence, we are also talking about ethical leadership.
“Nigeria’s challenge has never been about in academic, we have some people who are privy very well educated, we have a lot of very well educated people.
“It is just that sometimes our leaders and our people are ethically challenged and the idea of this project is to provide these young people platforms to be able to grow professionally but much more importantly to emerge as ethically sound leaders to drive the transformation of this country.”
On whether the training will involve Almajiri children, he said, “What we are working on in Kukah Centre in partnership with certain Spanish Foundation Profofiro is to provide digital education in North.
“It is a pilot project we have started right now. The idea is to be able with the support of the Spanish Foundation, Profofiro to kind of provide some basic digital tools in schools.
“It emerged in the process of a conversation between Pope Francis and the Spanish Entrepreneur, the man who founded telephonic in Spain. He told the people that he wanted to help the Pope Foundation.
“The people told him that if there was something that worries him all over the world, they are the issues of vulnerable children who had no education and are in the streets.
“Whether they are Christians or Muslims, Hindu and the rest of them, if he can channel that money into that project, that will be great. And that is what he did. He started in places like Angola, Latin America and came into Nigeria early last year and we are in the pilot phase of that project.
“Basically, the idea is to be able to help the most vulnerable and the rest of them gain at least basic education.
“It was a partnership between the Northern Governors Forum, the Catholic Bishops Conference and the Kukah’s Centre as the implementing agency in Nigeria.
“Right now we have already done Sokoto, we have done Plateau, Maiduguri and Benue State in the pilot stage, hoping that by next year, we will be able to get into all the 19 Northern States.
“We are still in the early stages of identifying the schools. This thing started just about four months ago, by the time we get into hit the half mark of this year 2018, we should be able to have actively implemented most of these programmes.
“But right now like I said, we are still in the early stages we have identified the schools to participate in this pilot phase in these states I have mentioned.”
On the selection process, he said that “it was a purely merit based competitive process. We placed advertisement in the newspapers and we emphasised in the advertisement that this is a purely merit based process and that nobody should solicit.”
One of the beneficiaries of the training, Emmanuel Bala Musa told journalists that, “I highly elated and ecstatic for this great privilege, the experiences have been awesome, it was really enriching and mind blowing. I have learnt so much. I was privileged to do my internship at National Institute of Information Technology.
“So as a software developer, I have acquired all the necessary ICT skills to be able to catapult my career to next level and I am planning to establish one of the biggest ICT firm in Nigeria.”