Kingsley Kuku: Architect of Peaceful Niger Delta at 51

By Femi Salako

Great impacts of Dr. Kingsley Valentine Kuku in restoring lasting peace to the Niger Delta region will continue to make the Arogbo Ijaw born environmentalist and humanist a reference point in Nigeria’s history. Several thousands of hitherto hopeless agitators whose lives became transformed will also continue to owe K3 a debt of immense appreciation.

Great men are often not remembered by the quantum of their material acquisitions, but by the depth of their contributions to humanity and societal development. Undoubtedly, it readily brings joy that Kingsley Valentine Kuku at age 51 has made himself a reference point in the public service annals of Nigeria. Under K3, Peace and Stable Security Conditions were tremendously restored in and or to the once troubled Niger Delta Region of Nigeria.

KKK as he is popularly known, has proven overtime to be an unrepentant lover of the Niger Delta and Nigeria. It is an indisputable fact that a greater part of his 51 years of existence has been dedicated to the cause of the Ijaw nation , the Niger Delta and Nigeria at large. He is clearly a man that is committed to fairness, equality and justice. Kuku is also a proven lover of good governance and quality service delivery. Patriotic qualities of Kuku and his preparedness to go the extra mile in pursuit of justice and fairness are factors that have evidently endeared him to the people of Niger Delta.

Kingsley Kemebradigha Valentine Kuku was born on Saturday, February 14, 1970 into the family of Kuku Okobor Eepu of Arogbo, the traditional headquarters of the Ijaw ethnic nation in Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State. The fact of being from a humble background did not prevent Kuku from fulfilling or actualizing his potentials. Through the grace of God, steady focus and dint of hard work, the former Chairman of Presidential Amnesty Programme has irreversibly crossed the boarder of poverty.

He was appointed Special Adviser on Niger Delta Affairs and Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme by Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCON, GCFR in January 2011. The appointment was in apparent recognition of his years of selfless commitment to the Niger Delta struggles. Kuku was once again reappointed by President Jonathan into same position in July 2011 after the general elections.

He had promptly hit the ground running upon assumption of duty by rolling out plans that eventually transformed the lives of more than 30,000 former agitators. Valentine Kuku also helped to align the varying dynamics for stability in the Niger Delta, which correspondingly led to a marked increase in the daily output of Nigerian crude oil production. In real economic sense, this actually translated into several billions of dollars in oil revenue for Nigerian Federal Government.

Aside this, another major achievement of Kuku as theChairman of Presidential Amnesty Programme was the immediate disarmament and demobilization of more than 30,000 former agitators.

This effort was doggedly and promptly followed up with the foundational training of the former combatants. It is noteworthy therefore that a good number of the trained former agitators have since graduated and turned out as highly responsible citizens that have also been giving back to their various communities.

It was to the credit of Dr.Kingsley Valentine Kemebradigha Kuku that a good percentage of theex-agitators got enlisted in flight training schools at Oxford, England , DNATA Emirates, UAE and in Lufthansa, Germany. He also ensured that some of the former agitators undertook helicopter training in Italy and Florida, USA. Notably, several of the ex-agitators that were enrolled for flight training have since became qualified pilots and aviation Engineers. Most are gainfully employed.

It is important to state that Hon. Kingsley Valentine Kuku had the clearest course of activism pursuits chatted for himself early in life. He had gotten himself involved in conscientious activism since his days as a university undergraduate.

Kuku was also a student leader in the university and a National Mobilization Officer of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS). He was one of the few Student Leaders committed to returning the nation to democratic governance from draconian military misrule.

A tireless lover and singer of alutaristic gyration. It is therefore important to assert that the experience garnered by Kingsley Kuku over the years in his cause of students unionism came handy when he was eventually saddled with crucial national assignments. Moreover, the widespread exposure of Kuku to theshortcomings associated with governance in the nation also helped him to stay resolute in his fights against injustice and maladministration within the socio-political space of Nigeria.

KKK once served as the second spokesman of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) and also doubled as one of the pioneer members of the Council. Kuku , one of the signatories to the historical Kaiama Declaration, later contested and won election as a member of the Ondo State House of Assembly.

He deservedly served as the House Committee Chairman on Information. At various times, K3 served as Special Assistant and Head of Conflict Management Unit at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), a position equivalent to a Deputy Director under the historic leadership of Timi Alaibe. Consistently, he has been a very vocal voice and integral stakeholder who championed the need for the development and restoration of lasting peace to the oil-rich Niger Delta region.

Over the years, the passionatelycommitted Arogbo-Ijaw born environmentalist combined his intellectual powers and experience with that of other great minds around the country to birth some critical ideas that eventually helped to engender lasting peace, nurture the nation’s economy and enhance infrastructural developments within and outside of the Niger Delta region. Kuku and his team have since conceived and implemented several interventionist strategies which include the Niger Delta Development Commission, Presidential Amnesty Programme and the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.

Political sentiments and vindictive persecution aside, the leadership of Hon. Kingsley Valentine Kemebradigha Kuku at the Presidential Amnesty Program (PAP) and his remarkable contributions to the human capital development of the Niger Delta remain evergreen, unmatched and unparalleled till date. Comparatively, with the same budget or more administered by his successors from 2015 to date, Kuku’s legacies as Chairman of Presidential Amnesty Programme remain imperfectly angelic.

The highly cerebral Dr. Kingsley Valentine Kuku had also on several occasions demonstrated his deep intellect at various international fora. He was once a guest speaker at the renowned institute for International Affairs, Chatham House in London where he delivered a paper that wastitled, “Amnesty in the Niger-Delta: Sustaining Peace and Surmounting Challenges”. Also, Kingsley Kuku was once a guest speaker at the Global Institute for International Affairs, Wilson Centre USA, where he spoke on “A Briefing on the Niger Delta: Where Things Stand”. He took advantage of the intellectual forum to catalogue his struggles and that of his team at the Amnesty office as well as the efforts to reverse the tide of calamity in the Niger Delta.

The 51 year old Kingsley Valentine Kuku is undoubtedly a man that is well known for his insatiable thirst for knowledge. In less than six years that he left office as the Chairman.

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