By David Onmeje
There are indeed some Nigerians that can be labeled as quiet achievers. These sets of individuals are media-shy, but their level of competence is astonishing, so much so that a peep into their activities would reveal tales of achievements that would make every doubting Thomas’s green with envy.
This is indeed the case of Mr. Olabode Fakuade, the chief executive officer of the Metallurgical Training Institute, an agency under the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology. Since assumption of office, Mr. Olabode Fakuade has transformed the operations of the agency. But one of his undoing is the fact that he is one that chooses not to blow his trumpet.
According to insider sources, the agency has a meager allocation for publicity. The time the agency has been in the news is when it is calling for prospective candidates for admission into its various training programmes. As a background, the agency offers a modular 3-year intensive study programme 70% practical and 30% theory and supervised practical training in 6 specialized courses Mechanical Maintenance Engineering, Industrial Electrical Engineering, Instrumentation and Control System Engineering, Steel Fabrication and Welding Engineering, Heavy Mobile / Automobile Equipment, Maintenance Engineering and Industrial Metallurgy and Foundry Engineering.
The agency also runs short term programmes ranging from 1 week to 12 months in the following courses: Auto-Mechatronics (Computerized Vehicle Diagnosis/Repairs), Foundry & Casting Technology, Special Welding (MIG, TIG, MAG), Advanced Machining Processes, Information & Communication Technology (ICT), and Electrical Equipment Maintenance/Installation Refrigeration and Air Conditioner Repairs (Cooling Systems).
Quite a sensitive agency you would want to agree and the more baffling is why it has remained anonymous in a clime where publicity stunts is the order of the day. This fact was what ignited my interest and the decision to pen this article.
I consequently researched on the agency that included on the spot assessment, interviews, and interactions with students and stakeholders in the industry. I must state that the consensus was the same; a trail blazing agency that is contributing to the training of Nigerians in the area of maintenance engineering with the aim of fast-tracking technological development in Nigeria.
Mr. Olabode Fakuade is a rare gem. He is one that devotes a substantial part of his life to service. Upon close interaction with him, I discovered a man that is passionate about what he does, and this much he has exhibited in the operations of the agency. Some reading this piece would be wondering the rationale behind this piece. I would consequently like to state that my fascination was occasioned with what I saw on the ground in the MTI.
On a first visit to the institute, you would be confronted with an ambiance that speaks volumes of hope for Nigeria. It was a common sight to see young Nigerians that are actively engaged in their studies and with promising prospects in contributing to the technological development of Nigeria. The array of courses offered by the institute is indeed strategic in the sense that Nigeria would experience phenomenal growth in our quest for technological advancement.
The MTI as an agency is primed to provide the required workforce in the technological development of Nigeria, and I must commend the rationale behind the establishment of the agency since 1981. The impact of the MTI in the technical space in Nigeria has been indeed felt in this critical sector, but for the fact that it has not been engaged in publicity stunts makes this silent.
Just maybe it is a strategy. But overall, I think it is a function of the leadership style of the Chief Executive Officer that believes in getting the task done without funfair. Those in the know of the leadership style of this unassuming chief executive officer attests to the fact that since his appointment, he indeed hit the ground running and turned around the fortunes of the institute.
The highlight amongst the numerous feats recorded is the fact that the MTI avails various calibers of Nigerians the opportunity to acquire technical education that provides for necessary skills for gainful employment, self-employment, and job creation. The construction of about 600 meters of deep concrete drains to link the tunnel adjoining Onitsha-Owerri Expressway to channel erosion water is one worthy example.
The impact of this feat cannot be overemphasized given the fact that soil erosion has been a considerable challenge in the southeast region of Nigeria. This is also aside from the fact that the institute has witnessed unprecedented facilities upgrade for maximum efficiency.
I dare to say that all of these were made possible by the leadership acumen and sagacity of the chief executive officer whose antecedent speaks volumes of a man on a mission to make an impact wherever he finds himself.
The students of the institute are full of praises for the chief executive officer whose tenure they have described as innovative and transformative. For the chief executive officer, it is about service. In his words, “It is evident, from the growing rate of unemployment and the effect on the overall economy of Nigeria, that technical skill empowerment plays a pivotal role to ensure that young Nigerians are well trained and given adequate skill to run the machinery of our nation’s economy.”
Lest I forget, the institute is taking advantage of the solar power system as an alternative source of energy supply to run its various departments. There is also an emphasis on training and retraining that has seen to the organization of workshops for members of staff of the institute to improve their efficiency at the workplace.
There is also strict compliance for transparency and accountability in the operations of the institute. Those conversant with the leadership style of the chief executive officer would always say that with Olabode Fakuade, every penny must be accounted for because he is not one that encourages frivolities.
If this is the case in most agencies of government, then Nigeria would be better for it. For me, Olabode Fakuade has indeed raised the bar in administration and an example of how public office holder should conduct their selves.
I can go on non-stop on the exploits of this unassuming administrator that has indeed redefined what service to fatherland ought to be. His infectious administrative style should serve as a reference point to those desirous of contributing to the development of Nigeria. His zeal for excellence is worthy of emulation. I salute this man of uncommon feat, and I desire that the country is blessed with such administrators that would assist in our quest for development. Olabode Fakuade is indeed a silent achiever.
Onmeje is the Group Managing Director of TheNigerian News Group and wrote this piece from the United Kingdom.