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Senior Special Assistant to President Tinubu Commends Ford Foundation’s Darren Walker During Farewell Reception

In a heartfelt farewell reception, Hon. Mohammed Abba Isa, Senior Special Assistant to President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Special Needs and Equal Opportunities, joined other notable figures from Civil Society Organizations and development partners to bid adieu to Darren Walker, the President of the Ford Foundation. Mr. Walker, who arrived in Nigeria on May 19, 2024, concluded his visit with a cocktail event held in his honor by the Ford Foundation Office of West Africa.

Darren Walker’s visit, part of his routine check-ins with the Foundation’s regional offices, was aimed at strengthening ongoing engagements with critical stakeholders in the region. His trip provided a significant opportunity for the Ford Foundation’s West Africa office to further its mission and connect with partners in the development and social justice sectors.

The farewell reception saw Hon. Mohammed Abba Isa reflecting on the profound impact of the Ford Foundation’s initiatives, particularly those that have transformed the lives of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in Nigeria. Addressing the attendees, he lauded the Foundation’s unwavering commitment to inclusivity and empowerment.

“Under the leadership of His Excellency President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR, we acknowledge and appreciate the Foundation’s tireless efforts to promote inclusivity, accessibility, and empowerment for all. Your commitment to social justice and human dignity is a beacon of hope for our nation and the world at large,” Hon. Abba Isa remarked, setting the tone for an evening filled with gratitude and reflections.

He emphasized the unique opportunities presented by Walker’s visit, which enabled the Ford Foundation’s West Africa office to deepen its engagement with regional stakeholders. “Mr. Walker’s visit to Nigeria has provided a unique opportunity for the Ford Foundation’s West Africa office to engage with critical stakeholders in the region, fostering meaningful partnerships and collaborations,” he noted.

The event, attended by a diverse group of development partners, civil society leaders, and government officials, highlighted the collaborative spirit that has driven many of the Foundation’s successful initiatives. Attendees shared stories and insights, celebrating the strides made towards social justice and equitable development under Walker’s leadership.

Hon. Abba Isa’s address underscored the tangible benefits of the Foundation’s work. “I had the privilege of witnessing firsthand the transformative impact of the Ford Foundation’s development and humanitarian interventions, and support for the less privileged, particularly Persons With Disabilities in Nigeria,” he said. This statement resonated deeply with the audience, many of whom have seen the direct effects of the Foundation’s efforts in their communities.

As the evening progressed, Hon. Abba Isa expressed his office’s readiness to continue partnering with the Ford Foundation. “My office is very much disposed to partner with your organization to deliver on our shared vision of social development for people with special needs,” he pledged, emphasizing the importance of sustained collaboration.

In a poignant conclusion, he paid tribute to Walker’s vision and dedication. “Thank you, Mr. Walker, for your vision, your compassion, and your tireless dedication to making the world a better place. We wish you continued success in all your future endeavors, even as we look forward to continued collaboration and partnership, knowing that together, we can create a more equitable and just society for all.”

The reception was not just a farewell, but a celebration of achievements and a reaffirmation of ongoing commitments. Darren Walker, known for his empathetic leadership and strategic vision, leaves behind a legacy that will inspire future efforts in social justice and development. His visit and the interactions it spurred have set a new benchmark for engagement and partnership in the region.

As attendees bid farewell to Walker, they did so with a deep sense of appreciation and a renewed commitment to the cause. “Farewell, Mr. Walker, and may your legacy continue to inspire and uplift generations to come,” Hon. Abba Isa concluded, capturing the sentiment of the evening.

This event, marked by heartfelt speeches and a shared vision for the future, exemplifies the power of collaborative efforts in driving social change. The Ford Foundation, under Walker’s leadership, has not only supported the less privileged but has also paved the way for more inclusive and equitable development practices.

By Lanre Oloyede
Director Media and Communication OSSPOSNEO



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