“Transformation” was the theme
of our inaugural TEDxOguiRoad in 2018. We chose this theme to
highlight what we hoped TEDxOguiRoad will represent: the beginning of a long process of
transforming people to broaden their imagination and see beyond what they think is possible, in
order to create a community that thrives. The theme for our November 2020 edition was
“Reimagine”. To drive the conversation, we had asked, “what will our communities and the rest of
the world look like post COVID-19?”
Looking back today at both themes, we see Innocent Chukwuma; a man who constantly used his
various platforms to provoke deep thought on important issues that affect his various
using those platforms and the derived solutions to transform our society for the better, always
searching, always helping, never tiring, never asking for anything in return other than for
to play their part.
As the Regional Director of Ford Foundation in West Africa, the TEDxOguiRoad team can
unequivocally say that Innocent was one of our most dependable collaborators and sponsors. In
personal capacity, he was one of us, a coach, ally, partner, hands-on team member and co-host of
the 2020 edition of our event.
At one of the TEDxOguiRoad team’s traditional lunch meetings to discuss the strategic directions
our various interventions (this was shortly after Innocent retired from Ford Foundation late
2021) Innocent was asked the question, “What next?”. He discussed the fellowship he secured to
teach and write his memoirs at Oxford University’s Blavatnik School. And then there was the
Chilli event of March 27 th 2021, where a host of Innocent’s friends came together to send him
from Ford Foundation, oblivious of the fact that he will depart the world exactly a week later.
think that this was the answer to the “What next?” question is both bewildering and
At his passing, a common refrain from all the tributes flowing in from various bodies and
organisations is that “Innocent was one of us”, everybody claiming a whole or part of him. In
Innocent Chukwuma was one of those rare individuals that belonged to everybody and belonged to
nobody. Driven by a relentless desire to improve people’s lives, he spent his life provoking
discussions in matters that affect our community, determined to play his part in fixing a
system. All this he did with humour, humility, always wearing his heart on his sleeves.
Innocent was an inspirational figure and he will be fondly remembered and greatly missed at
Our hearts go out to his wife, Josephine, and three daughters, Chidinma, Amarachi and Nkechi.
Paddy Anigbo, Uloma Ike, Jekwu Ozoemene
For the TEDxOguiRoad Team.