WEST AFRICA CIVIL SOCIETY INSTITUTE
“Good Night” to one of the best among us – Innocent Chukwuma
We received, with shock and unbelief, the filtering-in news of the passing of Innocent Chukwuma, former Regional Director for the Ford Foundation, West Africa, and Founding Executive Director of CLEEN Foundation in Nigeria.
For the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI), an organisation that focuses on strengthening civil society’s effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability in West Africa primarily, Innocent has been an ally and often shared brilliant ideas with us on nurturing leadership in the civil society space. It was with Innocent that we discussed and improved on the idea of a leadership programme for middle management in civil society and discussed different ways of strengthening local philanthropy, not only in West Africa but the continent.
Innocent was himself a leader par excellence, and showed the way in practice, what he preached. He was, to WACSI, a shining example of what we saw as a benchmark for leadership within civil society and he generously dished out his knowledge in a way that not only showed depth of thought but impressive humility.
With Innocent’s departure, Civil Society in Africa has suffered a huge loss and one that wounds deeply. Yet, at the same time, the many ideas that he ignited, nurtured and helped develop will keep his legacy alive. Although Innocent is not physically present with us, his ideas live on. We will miss him: his warmth, his essence, his brilliance, his calm demeanor and excellent leadership. We thank God for the gift of his life and the immense contribution he has made.
We ask for God’s comfort for his dear wife, Josephine, a true partner of Innocent’s in every sense, including in their contribution to social justice and exemplary leadership within civil society, and for their daughters.
We trust that this is not “goodbye” but “goodnight” .
May the Lord keep him in His bosom till we meet again.