With heaviness in our hearts and a deep sense of loss, we, the board and secretariat of the Association for Research on Civil Society in Africa (AROCSA) regret to let you know of the sudden passing of Innocent Chukwuma, the immediate past Regional Director of the Ford Foundation West Africa office. Innocent left us on Saturday, April 3rd after a brief illness.
Innocent was known and recognised both at home in Nigeria and the world over as a champion for human rights and democracy. He was also regarded as an institution builder of note. This is demonstrated through the number of organizations that he helped set up and founded including AROCSA; through which he sought to deepen the impact of civil society organizations all over Africa.
His involvement in the establishment of the AROCSA African NGO Leadership Transition Fellowship Program whose purpose is to pass down to younger generations of NGO leaders, the requisite knowledge and skills needed to run successful NGO’s in Africa, is testament to his championship of good leadership.
Innocent was equally recognized internationally as a strategic thinker leading to many honours and awards including one for ‘Distinguished Service’ from Washington based Association for Research on Non-profits and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA), an organization he worked with to create AROCSA.
He was generally regarded as a father to all and a mentor to many within the civil society space in Nigeria, Africa and indeed the world.
The entire board, secretariat and friends of AROCSA commiserate with Innocent’s family, close friends and colleagues in all the institutions he was associated with through the years, most recently the Ford Foundation.
He is survived by his wife Josephine and three children: Chidinma, Amarachi and Nkechi.
Tributes in honor of Innocent and his life of service can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.