From left: The Outgoing Vice President 2018/2019 cohort, Dr Anita Benson, President Lamide Johnson, Mr Sterling Tilley Cultural Affairs officer US Embassy, Grace Lamon Alumni Outreach Coordinator US Embassy, Prof. Abdulkarim Mayere incoming President, and other executives during the handover to the new Executive members of the Alumni Association recently.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship Association of Nigeria (MFAAN) has elected new leadership to pilot its affairs for the next one year.
The keenly contested elections at the reunion conference for the 2019 cohort held recently, saw the emergence of Abdulkarim Mayere, a Professor of Renewable Energy at the Kaduna State University as President.
Other executives who emerged are Folajogun Akinlami Vice President, Wuraoluwa Ayodele Legal Adviser/National Secretary, Nnenna Ozuzu Financial Secretary, Hannah Essien Welfare Secretary, Olawunmi Ogunde Special Duties Secretary, Okorodudu Austine Publicity Secretary, ‘Dupe Darabidan Zonal Coordinator (South), Hamza Waziri Zonal Coordinator(North), and Timothy Undiandeye Marketing and Communications Officer.
In his address, the outgoing president of Mandela Fellowship Association, Lamide Johnson called on the newly elected officers to lead with integrity and never to betray the trust reposed in them by other members of the group. In his words ” we have done our part, now is the time to show the stuff you are made of, leadership is hard and can be challenging, but be focused and work together as a team” he said.
In his acceptance speech, Mayere said he was extremely excited about the opportunity that is given to him and his team to serve the good of the association promising not to let down the association.
” I and my executives will continue to count on your support and draw from your individual and collective wealth of experiences to take this prestigious association to a greater height,” he said.
The government of the United States of America instituted the Mandela Washington Fellowship program for young African leaders to bring exceptional young leaders from all over Africa to the United States for the purpose of honing their leadership skills, germinating ideas and broadening of visions as well as a worldview.
It is also the prerogative of the US Department of State and other implementing partners to select participants to represent Nigeria annually for the fellowship. So far the Fellowship has produced over 400 Fellows in Nigeria alone amidst stiff competition. Forty-Three participants represented Nigeria in the first class of Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders in 2014, forty –nine in 2015, one hundred in 2016 and 2017 respectively, 60 in 2018.
In 2019, over eleven thousand applications were received and 56 were selected, with many more expected in the coming years.