Profiling Hon Kingsley Kuku, Ondo’s Irrepressible Guber Star
Kingsley Kuku is a man of plural caps; a politician of no mean repute, a man of the people.Like many in the world today, he was never born with a silver spoon in his mouth. The frugal talking Kuku, however, determined to have formal education.
Kingsley Kuku was born in Arogbo, the traditional headquarters of the Ijaw Ethnic Nationality in Ondo State, Nigeria. He had his early education in Arogbo before moving out of the community to further his study.
Kuku attended Catholic Primary School, Arogbo, Ondo State (1977 – 1983). He had his secondary education at Ijaw National High School, Arogbo, Ondo State (1983 – 1988). He later proceeded for his higher education and bagged a Bachelor of Education Degree in English Language at the Ondo State University, Ado-Ekiti, now Ekiti State University in 1995; and M.Sc. in International Relations and Strategic Studies at Igbinedion University, Okada Edo State (2011 – 2012). He also had a stint at University of Cambridge where he got a certificate in Dispute Resolution in 2008. in recognition of his role in the advancement of Nigeria’s fledgling democracy, Kuku was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate in Political Science – Phd (Honoris Causa) in November 2013 by the Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State, Nigeria.
Kuku embraced activism early in his university days as one of the socio-politically conscious young Nigerian students who were agitated about the then military rule and dictatorship in Nigeria. He was a student leader and one time National Mobilization Officer of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) who was active in the campaign and struggle for the demilitarization of the Nigerian society and absolute return of democratic governance to Nigeria. Kuku’s experience in the leadership of the apex students’ body in Nigeria set a platform for him to be at the vanguard of many organizations that were set out to tackle injustice and mal administration within the Nigerian socio political structure. He was a pioneer member of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), a notable ethnic rights group in Nigeria; and was the second spokesman of the Council. He was a signatory to the historical Kaiama Declaration. Kingsley Kuku has remained a vocal voice and an active stakeholder for the development and restoration of lasting peace in the oil-rich Niger-Delta region of Nigeria.
After his involvement in the Ijaw Youth Council, Kuku contested and was elected Member of the Ondo State House of Assembly and became Chairman of the House Committee on Information for four years. He was at various times Special Assistant and Head of Conflict Management Unit at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC); a member of the Presidential Committee on Amnesty; and Secretary of the President Committee on Peace and Conflict Resolution in the Niger Delta.
Kuku’s diverse engagements in the listed official designations paved way for him for a greater task. In January 2011, he was appointed Special Adviser to the President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, on the Niger Delta and Chairman Niger Delta Presidential Amnesty Programme. President Goodluck Jonathan reappointed him into the same position in July 2011 after the general elections in 2011. as the Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme for ex-agitators in the oil-bearing communities in the Niger Delta, Kuku oversaw the disarmament and demobilization of 30,000 ex-agitators and he is currently superintending the skilling and reintegration of these youths into civil society.
The on-going reintegration component of the Amnesty Programme, which is geared towards building capacity in the deprived Niger Delta youths that are enrolled in the Presidential Amnesty Programme, has so far attained considerable measure of its set objectives Kuku exerts full management and administrative authourity within the limits of the established budget and government operating policies; and delegates various functions to several departmental heads in a structured organization. On the third anniversary of the Amnesty Programme” in 2012, Kuku confirmed at a press briefing that the peace being restored to the oil producing Niger Delta region of Nigeria, through the coordination of the Amnesty Programme, has significantly increased the production capacity of oil operators in the Niger Delta region and saved Nigeria amount running into billions of dollars in oil revenue within just three years.
Like other patriots and stakeholders in the development of the Niger Delta, Kuku has made postulations for change and demonstration actions toward the growth of the region and advancement of Nigeria being part of the several interventionist strategies such as the Niger Delta Development Commission, Amnesty Programme (headed by Kingsley Kuku), Ministry of Niger Delta and other initiatives that are set out to bring an end to the crisis in the Nigerian oil-producing states, ensure lasting peace and nurture the country’s economic for better.
This is the personality whose leadership credentials endear most constituents to him for the gubernatorial seat, making him one bold star among other aspirants.