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Government & Politics

Nigerian Governors Set To Acquire Vocational Skills In Germany

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I am not sure the governors would think of travelling to Germany to acquire vocational skills for themselves. Their intention might have been misinterpreted. They may have planned that for their people. Otherwise, it is difficult to understand how that would add value to the economy.

What I think is needed now is what the former Governor of Lagos, Babatunde Fashola, did when he was a governor. He set up a vocational training board and exposed the members of the board to vocational training models of different parts of the world. That was the reason he achieved a reasonable level of success in that area.

We don’t expect governors to travel abroad to understudy other countries’ approaches to vocational training. Why should they go there when they are not the people who would implement their programmes? They are expected to send to relevant countries people, who would oversee the implementation, by studying their models.

What Fashola did should guide other governors. He brought trainers to Lagos to teach those were in charge of the initiative after which he sent them to Germany to understudy other trainers, learn work ethics and know what it means to transfer the skills.

Of what use would travelling to Germany to learn vocational skills be to the governors and their states? That would be more like going on an excursion, which, I don’t think, they need. There is so much work to do; we don’t expect the governors to embark on such a trip. The educators are the ones who should go. There may not even be the need for the trip at all if they recruit the right people to handle their respective skill acquisition programmes.

Generally speaking, there is no stage in life when an individual does not need an improvement. But I don’t think any governor needs a vocational skill, which is more of science than art. What our governors need are the appropriate attitudes needed to lead. And there is no school that teaches those attitudes. The governors are just being frivolous. What vocational skill does a governor need? That is absurd!

They could train in general art discipline. Leadership at the level of a governor is not a vocational exercise. Leadership, especially in a democratic setting, is a situational thing. If they are going to leadership centres to know the set of attitudes required to lead in a modern democratic political entity, that is a different thing.

When it comes to training, the governors should be thinking about centres that groom people in public service ethics and principles. The nation needs more information on the planned trip. What institute are they going to in Germany? What specific skills are they going to learn there? The governors should be warned to stop wasting public funds on frivolities. They do not need vocational skills but the right attitude to lead their people.

What would our governors do with vocational skills? Even if they need skills, should they go as far as Germany to be trained? Are there no consultants in this country who could train them?

The plan amounts to a waste of resources. There are governors who have not paid salaries for six months. Shouldn’t they worry about how their workers would be paid? They should get whatever skills they need in this country. That should not even be a priority now. Our governors should focus on sourcing for funds to pay their workers.

Overseas training of whatever form is not what we need now. No governor should even consider sending people abroad for a vocational training. Even at the federal level, that should not be a priority. First, the governors should find out what the people are saying about their style of leadership. People want to have food to eat; people want the prices of fuel and food items to be stable. The government should be looking for solutions to these challenges. If there is the need for a vocational training, the governors should look inward for resource people.

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To think that the governors themselves are the ones who would embark on the frivolous trip is worrisome. That is another way of siphoning our resources. Whose money are they going to spend? Money meant for public projects or their personal money? Have they taken a tour of the country to see the deplorable state of our roads? Have they visited the schools?

This is not the right time to do such a thing. In short, there has never been a right time to embark on such a project. Where would they use the skills they are going there to acquire? Have they not been travelling? What single good thing have they copied from there? Nigeria cannot afford such a wasteful trip.

I don’t think the governors need vocational skills. That appears like a wasteful exercise. I don’t think vocational training for the governors is a worthwhile venture. Younger workers are the ones who should go on the trip assuming it is important.

If a governor embarks on such a trip, who would benefit when he returns? What would he go there to learn?

Vocational training is something that should be included in our schools’ curricula. The government is not doing that; it is rather pursuing things that are not necessary. The 6:3:3:4 educational policy was meant to address the vocational skill gap in the system. But it was not implemented. The teachers were not trained. The needed tools and equipment were not there.

The skill gap created by the defective education is responsible for some of the challenges we face today. Everybody wants a white-collar job because of lack of skills. This should bother the governors more than how they would travel to Germany to acquire skills. Who would benefit from their trip?

The governors should go to the Industrial Training Fund to present their plans. That is the federal parastatal that is charged with the responsibility of handling vocational training. I worked in the ITF for 15 years, and I know that vocational training is its core responsibility.

If they are in doubt as to how to go about vocational trainings for their people, the ITF would be able to advise them. That should be the first port of call. If the ITF is unable to guide them, they should consult people in the private sector. There are a number of individuals in the country who are good in vocational issues. Such people should be able to help. Such individuals could set up a committee to work with the governors.

If they go abroad for a vocational training, how long would they be there to learn substantial skills? Is it going to be an awareness-training programme? I strongly believe that there are competent Nigerians in different industries that could guide the governors if they actually need help.

Besides, they are not going to execute their vocational programmes. If there is the need for training, it should be given to those who would execute the programmes, and not the governors. The governors are supposed to focus on policy issues and pass execution to various ministries. Heads of relevant ministries and agencies should only report to them if there are challenges or important updates.


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