Roudo Boss, Chief Tony Chukwu Launch President Jonathan's Biography in Style
By Demola Quadri, Editor
Unveiling ceremony of MOVING FORWARD, from left front row, Chief Dr. Reuben Jaja, book author, Dr. Mathew Uzukwu, and Mr. Chukwuma Nwachukwu, representing chief launcher, chief Tony Chukwu

The venue was the famous TAJ Hotel, The Pierre, Manhattan, New York. The event was the official launch of MOVING FORWARD, the biography of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, President and Commander in Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The book launch and transformation agenda forum hosted by the House to House Campaign for Democracy, a political organization that promotes democratic culture in Nigeria, was strategically scheduled to commemorate President Jonathan’s two-day visit to the 69thsession of  the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 69) in September 2014.

The chief launcher, Chief Tony Chukwu, Chairman of the marine and construction giant ROUDO Nigeria Limited, ably represented by Mr. Chukwuma Nwachukwu, coordinating director of ROUDO, bought a copy of Moving Forward for $50,000.

“My job here today is to drop the check and walk away,” said Nwachukwu, who did not walk away but spoke eloquently about his company’s support and public work partnership with the Jonathan administration.

In his opening remarks, the chairman of the book launch and transformation agenda forum, Chief Dr. Reuben Mietamuno Jaja, the Ama-Opu-Senibo of Opobo Kingdom, said that the need to educate the international community on the many achievements of President Goodluck Jonathan bore heavily on the decision to launch the book in the United States. “The best place to share this knowledge is the Diaspora, and of course the author is a Diaspora Nigerian,” he said

Unfolding the inter-continental launch schedule of MOVING FORWARD, Dr. Jaja said, “Europe is the next destination of the book launch and transformation forum, and London is the city of choice. The grand finale will take place at Abuja.”

Moving Forward is a compelling narrative about Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, one of the luckiest men on earth, who was at the right place at the right time. The 17-chapter book reveals Jonathan’s life, and includes his childhood, youth, academic preparation and career, as well as his love for, and marriage to, Dame Patience Jonathan. The book also covers Dr. Jonathan’s  political career – the Bayelsa crisis and his ascent to the governorship of the state, the national constitutional crisis, and how he became the acting president of the federal republic. The book goes on to cover his election, his victory and ascent to the presidency of the federal republic, his macroeconomic policy, foreign and national security policy, and various challenges he has faced.

In an exclusive interview with the author, Dr. Mathew Uzukwu, I asked if it was fair to describe MOVING FORWARD as an unauthorized biography of President Jonathan. “I did not seek the consent of President Jonathan because my goal was to do an unbiased, factual narrative of his personal and political life,” Uzukwu said.

The Transformation Agenda forum and book launch formalities were delayed until the arrival of President Jonathan, who was accommodated at the executive suite of The Pierre Hotel. He could not attend the launch as he was preparing for his address at the United Nations General Assembly the next day.

Dignitaries who honored the occasion included the Energy Minister, Professor Chinedu Osita Nebo (represented), the Chairman of the PDP, USA chapter, Dr. Molokwu, and a book reviewer, Dr. James Gaius Ibe, Professor of Economics and Business Administration at the University of South Carolina and Morris College, South Carolina, USA. The book’s author, Dr. Mathew Uzukwu, is an adjunct Professor of Operations Management at Bowie University, Maryland, USA. Dr. Uzukwu is also Executive Director of the House to House Organization for Democracy, Diaspora chapter.



The Mandela Washington Fellowship for African Leaders

On July 28, 2014, in front of 500 exceptional young leaders, President Obama announced the renaming of the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders in honor of Nelson Mandela. He also announced that the United States intends to double the number of annual participants in the Mandela Washington Fellowship to 1000 by the summer of 2016.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) and embodies President Obama’s commitment to invest in the future of Africa.  The first class of Mandela Washington Fellows arrived in June 2014 for six weeks of intensive executive leadership training, networking, and skills building, followed by a Presidential Summit in Washington, DC.  Through this initiative, young African leaders are gaining the skills and connections they need to accelerate their own career trajectories and contribute more robustly to strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth, and enhancing peace and security in Africa.

The Class of 2014

Selected from nearly 50,000 applications, the 500 Mandela Washington Fellows represent the extraordinary promise of an emerging generation of entrepreneurs, activists, and public officials.  Mandela Washington Fellows are between 25 and 35 years old; have proven track records of leadership in a public, private, or civic organization; and demonstrate a strong commitment to contributing their skills and talents to building and serving their communities.  The first class of Fellows represents all 49 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and includes equal numbers of men and women.  Despite their youth, more than 75 percent of Fellows already hold a mid-level or executive position, and 48 percent have a graduate degree.  Twenty-five percent of Fellows currently work in a non-governmental institution and 39 percent of them operate their own business. Nearly all Fellows are the first in their families to visit the United States.

Washington Fellow - Nigeria
Oluwakemi Catherine Onabanjo

Catherine Onabanjo is currently a Consultant for McKinsey & Company’s Lagos office where she serves public sector, social sector, and corporate clients across West Africa on their growth, strategy and transformation programs. In addition to her client work, she is a member of the Board of Trustees for Helping Other People Excel (HOPE), an NGO whose theory of change is that developing leadership skills in Nigeria's teenagers today will cultivate change agents who will drive social change in the country. Kemi holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Covenant University and continues to closely engage with the university as Welfare Secretary and Community Outreach Coordinator of the Covenant University Alumni Association. Upon completion of the Washington Fellowship, Kemi plans to focus on capability building and development of her public sector clients, as she believes that the enhanced capability of public sector employees is a critical enabler to unleash Nigeria’s great potentials.

President Jonathan at a Pre-Summit event in Washington DC
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