‘How tackling impunity will end Nigeria’s numerous ills- CLTC director
Mr. Michael Fawole is the Director-General, Citizenship and Leadership Training center. In this interaction with AljazirahNigeria, he gives an insight into the activities ongoing at the seven training schools under the center. He also speaks on a potpourri of other issues that concern the polity concluding that the various leadership challenges faced by Nigerians are as a result of systemic failings which can only be addressed when the right things are done by various stakeholders in the Nigerian project.
By Tosin Omoniyi, Gbenga Odunsi
CLTC in perspective
Formerly known as MAN O’ WAR’ Bay Training Centre, it later became the Citizenship and Leadership Training Centre.
The school is a product of ‘Outward Bound type of education developed by late Dr. Kurt Hahn, a German, who later naturalised as a Briton.’
Records reveal that the Briton founded the first Outward Bound School in Aberdovey, Wales, in 1941. Ten years after, late Dr Alec Dickson, a Briton, whose special interest was community development, founded the ‘Man O’ War Bay Training Centre in 1951 in Victoria, Southern Cameroon.
It was given a legal status by an Ordinance published in the extra-ordinary Gazette, No. 45 of 10th August, 1960 and modified by Decree No. 38 of December, 1989. The Citizenship and Leadership Training Centre, an affiliate member of the Outward Bound Organization Worldwide, which exist in over fifty countries of the world, is the first in Africa and second outside Europe.
Officials of the school say that the centre has trained more than seven million Nigerians from all walks of life since its inception fifty-six years ago.
‘The Centre is an informal education institution. It uses the challenges found in the environment to confront participants for the purpose of developing the core values of courage, trust, integrity, and compassion for others,’ one of the trainers said in an interview.
The Centre it was further learnt incorporates character development, adventure, challenge, compassion, service, social and environmental responsibility as its core academic schedule.
“The center’s courses help participants to discover and develop their innate potentials and also fashion out ways to care for themselves, others and the community around them through challenging experience in unfamiliar settings. When they leave, they become better persons and for the military and paramilitary students, they relate better with the society,” the trainer adds.
Presently, the centre now has seven training units located in each of the six-geopolitical zones in Nigeria including a women and mobile unit in Delta state.
The DG tells AljazirahNigeria that the center was established in 1951 by an act of the Parliament to train Nigerians generally.
“The act was updated in 1989. Its mandate are as follows. To conduct citizenship and leadership training and thus make Nigerians better citizens and leaders, to establish Man ‘O’ War clubs and associations to groom Nigerian youths and there is a silent one most Nigerians are not aware of which is to conduct research into leadership issue,’’ he says.
He said the center has achieved much progress in recent years. But he is quick to point to a few:
“We have engaged in the trainings of Nigerians and in some cases non-Nigerians to make them better citizens and better leaders. We are all leaders one way or the other. At one point or the other each of us must have played one leadership role or the other. But we also believe that there is always propensity or tendency to improve even if we are leaders,’’ he notes.
He adds that, “Our belief is that when people are trained they are bound to improve. We don’t believe in the ‘born leader.’ Training make the person. The training may be subtle or silent but it makes the person. Our belief is that when people are exposed to any kind of training they will improve naturally.’’
What distinguishes the training offered at CLTC.
“It is physical and practical. We are the only citadel of learning that employs the outward-bound kind of training. The outward-bound training was established by a Briton. Outside the shores of Nigeria it is known as outward-bound schools but here it is called citizenship and leadership training.
“It means training that takes place outside the class. It is unlike the conventional class room training scenario such as lectures, symposium, seminars, lessons etc. Ours is usually practical and physical in nature and takes place right on the field.
“Of course, while in the classroom, we invite academic juggernauts to talk to the trainees, but here we expose our trainees via the field to attributes and qualities that enable them to develop as a leader.
“In seminars that takes place in hotel rooms and classes, the teachers usually dwell on theories of leadership. During such seminars, don’t be surprised that many of the participants doze off or are absent minded. Some just wait for item seven. At the end, they are all issued certificates of participation. No much is achieved.”
He is enthusiastic that the training offered at CLTC has an edge.
“On our part, we expose the participants to practical and physical training that makes them evolve as leaders. We also help them cultivate the relevant attributes. If we are teaching punctuality, we teach it practically. We enforce punctuality to the point that such trainees always prepare themselves ahead of time for any event in order to arrive on time.
“The point we are trying to raise here is the fact that the attributes of a good leader are not acquired easily in the classroom but out there on the field. The same thing goes for humility and tolerance which are relational attributes.”
He says one of the societal ills tackled at the training center is that of youth restiveness. He equally proffers solutions.
“Many of the challenges Nigeria is facing today is systemic. The systems is supposed to be in the position to help the individual put to good use whatever training he or she has garnered. But where the system is not good enough to allow the individual put to use what he or she has learnt, what has been learnt eventually will be lost.
“The major problem of youth restiveness is unemployment. Many of our youths are not employed. An idle mind or hand is a devil’s workshop. The panacea is simple- look for a way to employ our youths.
The major way to engage them productively is through the establishment of new farm settlements that are either agrarian or urban. These settlements which can be established in various parts of the country will specialize in one product or the other and will also generate secondary employment. We need to generate employment at all cost to tackle the issue of youth restiveness.”
Those trained by the center
A lot of prominent personalities have gone through training at CLTC, Fawole notes with happiness.
“Most of the Inspector General of Police (IGPs), many military generals, many ministers, heads of many corporate parastatals and government establishments, the present DG budget, the list is endless…”
Highlights of his tenure
“I grew up inside the system and I have been contributing immensely. I have contributed in the area of training especially in the area of moral instructions. That has come to stay in all our units. Outside that I have tried my best to renovate our structures especially the hostels. This has been achieved even despite the insufficiency of funds.
Like many outfits the basic challenge of CLTC is lack of adequate government financing of its activities. This has crippled the rapid growth of the school.
“There has always been a percentage cut across board for us and most parastatals by the FG for the past few years for both capital and overhead. This has made it very difficult for us to perform optimally but despite this, we are not leaving behind any abandoned structures. We have always completed all our projects.”
What is the functionality of the training schools?
Here he breaks into a wry smile.
“We have 7 training schools within the 6 socio-political zones with the South-South having 2. They are all doing well but not all performing at the same velocity. Two of them are old. We have both old and news customers. Those two are premier units. The land space belongs to us. We manage it and the buildings belong to us. They attract the highest patronage. That is the Mountain school in Jos and the sea school in Lagos. For other units, we are ‘perching.’
“We are tenants. At Aluu, Port Harcourt, for instance we are managing with the Rural Development center. In Ogu, Enugu, we don’t even have a place we can call our own. in Fika, Yobe, the government was magnanimous to give us a place but due to insurgency that place is now redundant. The Zamfara government was supposed to give us a place. They earmarked a virgin land for development. That development is still ongoing. We have not been able to move in. these are some of the challenges we are facing now. Out of seven schools, only four of them have standing structures.
“We have reached out to the governments for supports in the past and when there was a move to have CLTC schools in the different zones, Yobe, Zamfara and Enugu states were the states that volunteered support. But we have been having hitches in implementation. That is why we are not fully settled in these states.”
Collaboration with corporate bodies?
We run programs for UNDP, and other NGOs
How affordable is the training at the school
“All you need is to apply. The training subsidized. No commercial rates are imposed. The government used to pay for participants in the past but the Center was later compelled to charge a token. Usually participants pay between N1000-5000 per day. Sponsors can also negotiate to pay higher to get higher content packages.”
The problem with Nigeria
He speaks on other issues such as the challenges facing the nation.
“The problem Nigeria has is not that of leadership or followership but that of impunity. Any system that tolerates impunity will always have problems in the long run. Nigeria has ‘systemic problems’ that must first be solved before any lasting solution can emerge to its numerous problems.’’
Fawole says that the issue of Boko Haram insurgency is understandable but that of the needless killings by herdsmen is shocking.
“The insurgents are fighting concerning religion and are propelled by indoctrination. But why are the herdsmen killing people for no reason. The baffling thing is why they have not been arrested, are they spirits?’’
He says the only solution is to begin to locate these herdsmen through improved intelligence on the part of the security operatives.
“There is a measure of impunity in the whole scenario. They do it and nothing happens, somebody must be held responsible for these acts of destruction.”
“I am a very simple person. I am also a principled person. That means I am likely to be a disciplinarian. I always want things done right, I abhor deceit and evil. Maybe my tutelage under a Reverend Father influenced me greatly. We were six posted here but I was singled out to serve. That says a lot I think.
Five years down the line
I want to see government pay more attention to our activities here a CLTC. Some categories of Nigerians should also be compelled to attend the trainings. I am hoping that infrastructural development will have reached a peak by then due to increased attention paid to our activities by the relevant actors.