Members of the Abuja Hub of the Global Shapers Community have paid tribute to the founding curator, Ken Saro-Wiwa Jr. The Shapers described the late activist as kind, witty, intelligent, humble and loving as they reminisce on the impact and memories he left behind. The tributes, collated by past curators of the Hub, was done to mark the sixth anniversary of Mr Saro-Wiwa’s death.
Besides serving as advisers to three presidents, Mr Wiwa was a seasoned journalist and author. He wrote for international papers like the Guardian UK, the Washington Post, the New York Times and National Geographic, in the United States. He was also an editor-at-large for Arise Magazine while he authored columns for magazines and newspapers.
In 2000, he wrote a memoir in honour of his father, Ken Saro-Wiwa, an environmental activist and co-founder of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), a popular playwright and the symbol of the movement for justice for the Ogoni people – who was executed by the dictatorship government of General Sani Abachi in 1995.
In the memoir titled “In the Shadow of a Saint”, Mr Saro-Wiwa Jr narrated his family’s stormy history, its struggle and endurance.
And in 2005, he was selected by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader and on the 18th of October 2016, he died in London, after suffering a stroke.
Some of the Hub’s past and present curators penned down their thoughts and goodwill messages to the late founding curator and family.They expressed gratitude for the quality leadership and mentorship he gave the hub.
“That family you started in your house in 2011 has gone to birth amazing children who won’t know the great Oga Ken we knew but your spirit and culture is still seen today and for that I thank God,” part of a statement read. “I cannot thank you enough for the selfless way you served us, allowing young inexperienced one’s stand on your shoulders and benefit from your connections and access to opportunities. I truly thank God for your life and the blessing of knowing you.”
Simi Fajemirokun, Curator (2012-2013)
The one and only Ken Saro-Wiwa Jr, as your soul rests in perfect peace, I consistently celebrate your life and all you represented. I will never forget how you paved a way for me in a new land Nigeria when I first moved. As God would have it, you were one of the first people I met and you took it upon yourself to ensure I felt at home in Nigeria.
You always were a community man and that is what you embodied – community, togetherness, impact. Thank you for introducing me to the World Economic Forum, Global Shapers community and pushing me into leadership. Thank you for the heartfelt conversations over dinner and lunch speaking about the future of Nigeria. I pray that you would look down and be proud of the strides being taken. We still have a long way to go but posterity is grateful for all your sacrifices and we will continue your legacy.
Joycee Awosika, Curator (2013-2014)
“As a generation that has greatly suffered from the collapse of a systems-utility, Ken Saro-Wiwa Jr was bold enough to establish a movement of young people who are willing to undertake the Herculean task of engineering a new nation. Several years later and even in his death, I still embody his impact: to constantly judge myself not by what I have but what I am willing to give”
Jake Effoduh, Curator (2015 -2016)
I got to know Ken in 2014. Sent an email to the Abuja hub and he got my details and asked that we meet, he wanted to know everything he could about cybersecurity. Ken was passionate about impact and lifting young people. He was writing a new book at that time and always called me for random conversations about technology, cybersecurity and media. Ken became a big brother and a mentor to me. Talking about Global Shapers, he always said: “The people who will be successful in 10 years are already working towards it. It is important to see the world as connected nodes and it is important to have a good network everywhere and in every sector”. I am thankful to have experienced knowing him and learning from him.
Andy Madaki , Curator (2017-2018)
Thank you Ken Saro Wiwa jr. for blazing the trail for the Abuja Hub. I saw the profound impact your mere presence had on the first set of shapers whom you handpicked for this oasis of excellence. Your consistent flame triggered reverence and awe that such a light could exist among us. Your quest for justice and truth, and for a brighter tomorrow in Nigeria’s seat of power, lives on. Thank you for igniting the fire in our bones; we will make you proud.
Olajumoke Adekeye, Curator (2018-2019)
One of the most fascinating aspects of the Abuja Global Shapers is the obsession over impact that each member has regardless of the intensity of their personal careers. A lot of this can be traced to the foundations laid by our founding curator in 2011, the late Ken Saro Wiwa Jnr. The intentionality of how the first set of shapers were selected, to the conscious indoctrination of the values of impact. The beautiful stories abound of the immeasurable impact that he had on many lives, his philosophy of life & the sincerity with which he pursued positive change while encouraging others to dedicate their lives to the same. Keep resting Ken, in the assurance that the Abuja Global Shapers whose foundation you set has been blossoming for 11 years,and is only growing stronger. Keeping resting in power!
Adetola Onayemi, Curator (2019 – 2020)
When the late Mr. Ken Saro-Wiwa Jnr, pooled a few young men and women of like minds to found the Abuja Hub of the Global Shapers Community, he sought to transform the world from the base of a little community. He laid a foundation for what has become home to many—and for the visionary that he was, I am sure he had a grasp of the endless possibilities the Abuja Global Shapers could do. That seed, a tiny but heavily potent dream, has today birthed a buoyant, powerful, and eclectic family who are shaping their world, one community at a time, even beyond the boundaries of the Federal Capital Territory.
For every project conceived and carried out; for every life touched; for every community transformed; for every idea nurtured and birthed, under the auspice of the Abuja Global Shapers Community, the breath of the Late Ken Saro-Wiwa is felt. What better way can worth be measured, even in death. Rest in Power, Kenule!
Johannes Wojuola, Curator (2020-2021)
Dear Ken, even though you are no more, Your sacrifice lives on, For your courage was way beyond normal, You led us to a new dawn. You are a true example of being patriotic. Regardless of tribe, colour, or religion, you strived for a better Nigeria & a peaceful world. On behalf of a grateful Abuja Hub, we salute you and pledge that we will never forget the sacrifices you made.
Umar Naveed, Curator (2021-2022)
While I never had the honour nor privilege to meet you, you were without any doubt one of the most visionary leaders ever to have lived on this earth. You really made a difference for the better! If you had taken a different route other than what God directed you to do, perhaps there would have not been the Abuja Hub of the Global Shapers Community! Your beautiful heart will remain a moral compass for all and your legacy will continue through us.
Princess Ifeoma Ike, Curator (2022-2023)
As we observe the sixth year remembrance of late Ken Saro Wiwa Jr this year, we ponder the impacts he made during his short but dynamic life – one of which is the birth of the Abuja Hub of the Global Shapers Community for young leaders.
Since its creation in 2011, the Abuja Hub has not only nurtured young and vibrant minds – over 100 of them – who are championing multiple sectors across the globe, but these leaders have also conducted community-driven and impactful projects that have attracted commendations and generated the right kinds of conversations.
Credit: Leadership Newspapers