After over a decade of team leadership as the Executive Director of WANEP, it
is now most appropriate as the time has come for me to step aside and provide my support to a new leadership that will bring to fusion the vision of
WANEP and take it to a higher level.
At a personal level, this report undergirds the significance of the WANEP Story in West Africa. It is also the report that marks the transition of leadership from the time of the founding of WANEP to next generation of leadership. Looking back at the efforts in 1996 and 1998 when WANEP was conceived and formally started operations respectively, I can say with all sense of humility that I am gratified and indeed delighted with our contributions to reshaping the landscape of peace and security in West Africa, in Africa and at the international level. It all started as an idea to take ownership and responsibility of responding to West Africa’s challenges following the vicious civil wars that plagued the region in the early 90s. That seed that was sown has now emerged into a brand that all could vouch for its professionalism and expertise in peace and security.
It has truly been a privilege to serve in the role of co-founding, first Director of Programs
and the second Executive Director of WANEP. I am most grateful to the Board of WANEP for the opportunity and great support in service to the contributions to the peace and stability of West Africa through WANEP. I have always believed in collegial leadership and that is why I am truly grateful to my colleagues on the management and all staff for incredible support, encouragement and confidence in my leadership. The last 15 years at the helm of affairs in WANEP have truly been fulfilling. The best environment for learning in peacebuilding practice and international cooperation with the valuable experience thereof has been provided by WANEP.I will forever cherish this.
Just as in many institutions experiencing growth, we have had to deal with institutional challenges over the past years, in which a number of important events and challenges occurred. From the various crises in the region to the
very many challenges of nurturing a young African institution amidst perceptions of ineptitude, lack of transparency and unprofessionalism, we have responded to these challenges and used every challenge as an experience to strengthen our resolve for African Solutions to African Problems, while providing the impetus and platform to become stronger and with the conviction that we can make the difference. I commend all the member organizations, national networks, staff at all levels, the national boards and the Regional Board of WANEP. I salute the tenacity of our partners who have stood by us all these years, and I ask for continued support for WANEP. The strategic position of WANEP today in West Africa is significant in overcoming the challenges of strife, instability, extremism and hatred
This is also the time to appreciate colleagues as I look back to my leadership in WANEP and what we have accomplished together. I mention my former colleague and co-founder who served as first Executive Director, Mr Sam Doe in much appreciation of our collective efforts that has brought WANEP to where it is today. I owe a large debt of gratitude to my mentor, great teacher and inspiration who is humble but stands very tall in the peacebuilding community globally; Professor John Paul Lederach. He opened the doors for us in academics, the entry into the field and grant making to establish WANEP. It will be difficult to list all the names we must appreciate. I must however express much appreciation to Professor Hizkias Assefa, Cynthia Sampson, Lisa Shirch and the great people of the Centre for Justice and Peacebuilding of the Eastern Mennonite University. I pay tribute to the high quality and professionalism of WANEP staff. Their depth of knowledge, initiative and understanding has always been impressive.
Let me use this opportunity to wish my brother and good friend – Chukwuemeka Eze a very successful and exciting career as the Executive Director of WANEP. I know him very well and his capabilities as WANEPNigeria National Network Coordinator and later Director of Programs. I have no doubt in my mind that together with his team, upholding our principles, the sky is the limit of WANEP. Finally, let me thank all of you for
your friendship and the honour of having worked with you. As for me, one part of a very challenging and illuminating experience is coming to an end, one that I will treasure for the rest of my life. In closing, let me echo
Saint Paul that “I have run with perseverance and have finished the race”. Whether I have finished the race successfully or not is not for me to say.
Happy New Year and God bless Africa!