Honourable Kingsley Kemebradigha Kuku was born on February 14th 1970 into the famous and humble family of Kuku in Arogbo the traditional Headquarters of Ijaw ethnic nationality in Ondo State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The awardee attended the St. Patrick Catholic Primary School Arogbo in Ondo State and later Ijaw National High School Arogbo where he obtained his school certificate. Honourable Kuku has a Bachelor’s Degree in English Language, Master of Science Degree in International Relations and Strategic Studies. Kuku also holds an Executive Graduate Certificate in Public Leadership of the prestigious Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Harvard, Boston; a Masters Degree in International Human Rights Law from the Emory School of Law, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA and he is currently pursuing a Ph.D. Degree in International Relations with concentration in Peace Studies. Indeed, he has since submitted his Ph.D. thesis. Permit me to also add that Honourable Kingsley Kuku holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Dispute Resolution from the equally prestigious university of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. In recognition of his role in the advancement of Nigeria’s fledgling democracy, Hon. Kuku was in November 2013, conferred with an Honorary Doctorate in Political Science (Ph.D., Honoris Causa), by the nation’s foremost private University, Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State.
It may also interest our guests here to note that The Honourable Kingsley Kuku is an Honorary Citizen of the State of Georgia, United States of America. An honour that was bestowed on him in recognition of the series of peace and conflict resolution work he has carried out across the world. During his undergraduate years in the university, Kingsley Kuku was a committed student leader per excellence and at one time, this illuminating star of hope was the National Mobilization Officer of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS). Our awardee of today was a pioneer member of Ijaw Youths Council (I.Y.C) where he served in various leadership positions; at a point he became the spokesman of the council. Honourable Kingsley was a signatory to the historical and famous “Kaima Declaration.” As part of the recognition of his honest and diligent input in the Ijaw Youths Council (I.Y.C.), Kingsley was elected into the highly rated Ondo State House of Assembly where he served meritoriously for four years as chairman, House Committee on Information. At various times, Hon. Kuku was Special Assistant and Head of Conflict Management Unit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (N.D.D.C.); member of the Presidential Committee on Amnesty and Secretary on Peace and Conflict Resolution in the Niger Delta. Honourable Kingsley Kemebradigha Kuku – a colossus of sorts, was appointed in January 2011, the Special Adviser to the President of Federal Republic Nigeria on the Niger Delta and Chairman, Niger Delta Presidential Amnesty Programme; a position he held until the tenure of that government elapsed in May 2015.
This great son of Africa and world citizen is a member of International Dispute Resolution Institute; Chartered Management Institute; British Institute of International and Comparative Law; Chartered Institute of Arbitration; Royal African Society; Chatham House of United Kingdom among others. In his capacity as the Chairman of Presidential Amnesty Programme, Honourable Kuku oversaw and supervised the disarmament and demobilization of 30,000 ex-agitators in the oil producing communities of Niger Delta. This harbinger of peace then commenced the skilling and reintegration of these youths into civil society. Honourable K.K.K.’s mandate at the Amnesty Office was three-fold. First, the disarmament; secondly, to demobilize the disarmed ex-agitators and thirdly, to reintegrate into civil society, the 30,000 former Niger Delta agitators enrolled in the Presidential Amnesty Programme. It is with all sense of responsibility that I inform this August gathering that before he left office in May 2015, our our awardee through the unalloyed support of the government of His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and his able assistants achieved 100% of the first and second mandates – disarmament and demobilization. A huge percentage of the final lap, the rehabilitation and reintegration mandate was completed. The demobilization mandate which was carried out in Obubura in Cross River State entailed biometric documentation, wellness check, non violence transformational training, series of counseling and career classification for the ex-agitators. This phase or mandate was concluded in December 2011. One of his cherished guiding thoughts, principles and philosophy is that what makes the difference between the rich and the poor nations of the world is the quality of the people not just the resources buried under the ground or water because it is the people that will explore the resources to usefulness and utility levels, no wonder he vigorously pursued the third mandate which is reintegration through education – formal and informal and acquisition of skill. The Amnesty office under Hon. Kuku placed over 19,000 demobilized ex-agitators in either formal education or skill acquisition centres both within and outside the country. Over 10,000 Amnesty Programmes delegates completed their training and a good number of them became gainfully employed under Hon. Kuku. It is also on record that all the delegates enlisted in the Amnesty Programme who have thus far completed their studies from reputable Universities, both within the country and offshore; as well as the several Pilots who received first class training in the best aviation academies in the world and are currently gainfully employed in reputable airlines either within the country or abroad, are products of the stewardship of Hon. Kingsley Kuku while he served as the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and the Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme. Honourable Kingsley Kemebradigha Kuku is truly a man of the people, a fearless human rights defender, a bridge builder, a beacon of hope for the defenseless people; a problem solver and an achiever without excuses. It is no surprise therefore that the Ekiti State University (former Ondo State University), Kuku’s alma mater, decided to name its Student Union Building after him, in honour and recognition of his selfless activism and service to humanity. Kuku is one of the recipients of the GbaramatuVoice Lifetime Achievement Award 2019 and member of the GbaramatuVoice Hall of Fame.