August 15, 2021, we resumed the fellowship with a two-week quarantine. 24 fellows from across the country, diverse in age, ethnicity, religion, background, and career, but united by a shared vision and aspiration. We were accommodated in a 5-star apartment, well furnished, equipped and serviced to ensure adequate and reliable comfort. This, of course, is required to ensure that fellows focus on the main goal and are not distracted by frivolities. Also, it enabled us to relate with one another quickly and nurture relationships.
The activities started with a Virtual Scholarly Writing Workshop. An intense writing and leadership training with Dr Ted Sun of Transcontinental University, USA. The workshop set the tune for the Fellowship. Dr Ted corroborated the linkages in writing and personal values and how to utilise the brain for effective and efficient mastery. His psychological and psychosocial approach to learning and writing helped me to look inwards, understand myself, my purpose, values, and beliefs.
Like a marathon, the writing workshop was followed by a two-day microeconomics and Macroeconomics workshop (Mi-Ma Workshop). It is, indeed, a crash course that enabled fellows to learn from themselves. Unlike the writing workshop, the Mi-Ma Workshop took a Learners-centred approach, with the facilitators taking the seat while fellows presented our understanding of economics focusing on both developed and developing countries.
The workshop enabled us to engage Dr Sani Dahiru, the Founder of Kaduna Business School and other excellent facilitators, including Professor Seth Akutson, Hajiya Maryam Aliko Muhammad, Mrs Helen Andow, Fatima Aliko Muhammad and Hadiza Aliko Muhammad. The facilitators shared their institutional and industry expertise and experience with us, adding flavour to our presentations.
As we ended the workshop, we started preparing for our first quarterly seminar titled, The Challenge of Leadership.
Mr Abdulhakeem Abdulkareem
The Seminar was anchored by Dele Olojede, the First African-born Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Journalism, and Orode Doherty, founder of Ingress Health Partners. We started the seminar with a session on the History of Nigeria, facilitated by Asue Ighadalo before swinging into the discussions of the seminar.
As a student of history, I felt the nostalgia as we analyse books and historical events/ anecdotes like “The Prince” by Niccolo Machiavelli, Nelson Mandela’s “Rivonia Trial Speech” and Lee Kuan Yew’s “From Third World to the First”, among others. We studied the attitudes and attributes of leaders, decision making, and the test of loyalty and royalty. We realised the purpose of the fellowship as we share personal stories and ask tough questions (sometimes requiring no response).
Beyond the workshops and seminars are the relationships we developed. I related with all the fellows and tried to know more about them. Of course, I am closer to some than the other, but we have all built a bond based on the understanding of what has united us.
Despite being together for just two weeks, we have developed a strong connection and I am amazed at the things they do. On my Mum’s birthday, they sang her a birthday song which I shared with her. This is the kind of relationship the Fellowship aims to build; a brotherhood, where everyone is involved in our lives and can lean on support from colleagues.
The quarantine, though, necessitated by COVID-19, served a bigger purpose in uniting us, despite our large number. It helped us to bond quickly and understand our uniqueness and differences. The quarantine ended on a high note with the gift of books from the Governor, Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai. The books were another affirmation of the rigorous intellectual drilling the fellowship offers.
Abdulhakeem Ibraheem Abdulkareem (AiA) is a fourth Cohort Fellow of the Kashim Ibrahim Fellowship and Special Assistant to the Governor of Kaduna State.