The NLI story

Segun Aganga

Olusegun Aganga, NLI Founder

A major factor that inspired the founding of NLI was the absence of a credible platform for highly accomplished Nigerians in the Diaspora and Nigeria to play a significant role in helping to transform our country/societies. So many successful Nigerians have a lot to offer as critical stakeholders in our country’s development.

Another inspiration for the idea was the remarkable progress the country had made in certain areas during the Olusegun Obasanjo administration. There was a sustained and effective fight against corruption at the time and the country had some very technically competent, enthusiastic, dedicated reformers in the Government. In spite of all the odds, these individuals were committed to playing a major role in transforming our country. It was felt that they needed the support and help from a group like the NLI. Those were the two main inspirations for the initial idea.

The concept of NLI was discussed by the founder, Segun Aganga with a few friends and Dr. Christopher Kolade (our NLI Patron). A few months later, Mr Aganga was nominated to attend the Africa Leadership Initiative (ALI) South Africa class as a Goldman Sachs-ALI fellow. The experience with the Aspen Institute and the ALI helped shaped his thoughts and was a major catalyst for the NLI class.

Dr. Christopher Kolade, NLI Patron

So far, NLI’s contributions have not only been recognised in Nigeria but by international organisations. For example, the World Bank sponsored one of our initiatives to set up a similar leadership program in Rwanda.  And in May 2007, the World Bank co-sponsored our Future Leaders program. The UK All Political Parties Group identified NLI as one of the most credible and effective Nigerian organisations in its report on Nigeria.

Overall, we have made very good progress and the Initiative has been sustained by the passion, sacrifice and commitment demonstrated by the Fellows and Associates in class discussions and leadership projects. They, like many other Nigerians, remind us of the incredible accomplishments of Nigerians globally and give us pride and hope that we can and will transform our country. In addition, Goldman Sachs and other local Institutions have been very supportive of our efforts and deserve due recognition.