Mazeed Mukhtar Oyeleye writes,
Envisioning a society where academic excellence enjoys due priority and a restoration of the faith of the populace in it, the duo of Professor Jimoh Olaiya Amzat and Dr Kazeem Aremu, lecturers at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto’s Departments of Sociology and Mathematics, respectively, founded the Greenline Nurture Initiative. The initiative, which first appeared in the public domain in July 2021, prides itself as a platform for grooming and nurturing young minds aspiring for greater heights.
According to the co-founder, Dr Aremu, ‘Greenline’ represents the patriotic commitment of the founders to the development of Nigerian youths into reputable ambassadors of Africa who will work towards keeping the #NIGERIATOTHEWORLD movement alive. ‘Nurture’, on the other hand, captures the mission of the initiative to groom young people to maximise their potentials, support them in their academic pursuits and mentor them on the navigation of international academic exploits, like scholarships, fellowships and more.
True to its commitment to cultivating the next crop of visionary minds in Nigeria, GNI initiated its mentorship programme in November 2021, calling for applications for its first cohort. While the initiative aims to put Nigeria and Africa on the global map and rewrite their stories, the first cohort focused on the universities in Sokoto State, the home ground of the initiative, with plans to spread to the Sokoto-Kebbi-Zamfara region, Northwestern Nigeria, Northern Nigeria and the whole country in the near future.
After the application period, which lasted between November 15 and 28, a total of 32 undergraduate finalists with a minimum of 4.0/5.0 GPA emerged as mentees for the first cohort through a selective screening process aimed at ensuring that only candidates committed to their personal growth got into the programme. Whilst a chunk of the candidates were students of the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto, two of them were from the Sokoto State University.
The GNI mentorship programme started in full flare in January 2022 and lasted for six months, within which the mentees benefited from the knowledge and experience of the mentors and likewise other facilitators that joined them during the programme. The maiden edition delivered its promise to inspire the mentees to achieve greatness through their individual intellectual capacity and exposure to the nitty-gritty of bagging opportunities.
The founders expressed their confidence in the guidance and information they shared with the cohort, who they refer to as ‘GNI Ambassadors’, and that they have great expectations from them in the nearest future.
In the words of Dr Kazeem, “we are hopeful that in the nearest future, these GNI ambassadors will be doing great things to pay this privilege forward. I believe we’ll see some of them sponsoring the GRE of the younger generation”.
The mentees were also full of praise for the brains behind the initiative.
Abdulrasheed Kayode Ayuba, a final-year student at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto’s Department of Science and Vocational Education and a GNI ambassador, expressed his delight at passing through the initiative’s mentorship programme.
“I am delighted with what our mentors, Dr Kazeem Aremu and Prof Jimoh Olaiya Amzat, have accomplished with the university’s first-ever mentorship program, Greenline Nurture Initiative (GNI) and I am glad to be a part of it. I gained a lot of knowledge through the GNI Mentorship Program’s First Cohort. I learnt about available local and global opportunities and how to take advantage of them by applying for jobs, internships and scholarships,” he revealed.
“I got to know how to write a strong statement of purpose (SOP), a standard curriculum vitae (CV), research proposals, how to ace job and scholarship interviews and how to source for local and international scholarships. This program has sharpened my writing and research skills and equipped me with the knowhow of hunting for and turning in strong applications for opportunities. With the knowledge I gathered through the fellowship, I believe better days are closer,” Ayuba expressed his confidence in the knowledge he gathered through the programme.
Ayuba’s words lend credence to the words of the Program Secretary, Uchenna Emelife, at the earliest stages of the mentorship programme, that “the cohort would offer an intensive training on processes and procedures of securing international scholarships and fellowships”.
Anas Ahamed, a recent graduate of Sociology from the Sokoto State University and a GNI ambassador, also relayed the impact of participating in the first cohort.
“The GNI mentorship programme was great and indeed vital to me in many ways as it cut across several spheres of personal and professional development. Through the fellowship, I got acquinted with ways to attempt scholarships. I learnt the approaches, tactics and how to access scholarship opportunities. The mentors there are great. They did great. They devoted their time, effort, energy and even their money to our own benefit.”
Another member of the first cohort, Balqees Monisola Maiyaki, a finalist of Education and Chemistry at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, was short of words to describe her breathtaking experience as a GNI mentee.
“The experience is beyond what words can express. From the enlightenment to the guidance we enjoyed, and likewise access to timely information and opportunities, I tell you the experience was worth every bit of the time we spent,” she managed.