It was Jim Collins who once said that “great vision without great people is irrelevant”. As true as this assertion is, it therefore means that the foundation and starting point of achieving the vision and mission of an organisation is “effective leadership”. A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done and his aim and objectives fulfilled. If one’s actions inspire others to think and dream more, learn, do and become more, then he is a leader.
Umpteen times, leaders in our contemporary society are seen and known to be rational economic people. They lack ideas, competence and grit, talk less of vision and passion necessary for the needed transformation and development. They do not plan, and therefore leave the people and the society with failure and backwardness as the ultimate outcome.
Though human capital is part of the factors of production, they are different from others and they are the most important asset. Human beings are not things and are not creatures of logic. They are creatures of emotions, creatures that are bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride, though sometimes vanity. They are four-dimensional in nature: body, mind, heart, and spirit. With these four dimensions or mix, human capital has the capacity to operate to guarantee the much needed transformation and advancement in our society and our world at large.
When the right talent meets the right opportunity anywhere, with the right philosophy and vision, amazing and sustainable transformation can happen. NIMASA under the leadership of Dr. Dakuku Peterside epitomises this. But then, a good and visionary leader must pave the way! He must define the path and the roadmap. He must give direction. He must not be a mediocre, but someone who has a date with destiny.
Nigeria is blessed in all ramifications. Nigeria has all the potentials and the resources to be great. Planning is an essential and a necessary activity, but planning without investment in human capital amounts to exercise in futility, because whatever is achieved is ephemeral that cannot stand the test of time, but meets short term purposes.
The onus lies on the Nigerian leaders in all fronts to tow the path of investment in human capital because it is a sure way to make Nigeria great. The progressive and creative tendency of the leadership of the Agency in handing human capacity building and development, galvanised through knowledge transfer, Nigerian Seafarers Development programme (NSDP) as well as other training-oriented initiatives has guaranteed hope for the maritime sector and the nation at large.
In line with the diversification agenda of the current government, it is a known fact that the maritime sub-sector and indeed the transport sector have that capacity and potential to transform our economy.
However, the challenge has always been human capacity enabler culminating in the dominance of the industry by foreigners.
The Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme is a major intervention aimed at addressing the concern of foreign dominance of the Nigerian maritime and shipping business. Its root causes can be traced to years of neglect, lack of vision, and limited capacity to train and update Nigerians’ skills in maritime as well as shipping and their related businesses.
The programme which was designed to encourage Nigerian youths to take interest in Maritime and shipping business has been a success thus far. About 2,500 youths have benefitted from the programmes and some are currently being trained in various countries around the globe. While some of them have graduated as full-fledge professionals, some are still undergoing the necessary trainings. The Agency is now partnering with maritime giants around the world to complete the process of developing the Nigeria’s Seafarers through the compulsory sea-time training.
Though the Agency believes in cross-fertilisation of ideas as well as in knowledge sharing, it is hoped that the training and development of indigenous seafarers will boost Nigerians’ participation in shipping, and also generate employment as it will afford Nigerians the opportunity to take over jobs that were hitherto done by foreigners, thus impact the economy positively.
–Ekpo wrote in from Abuja