The need for good leadership, sound and stable government policies to lay the framework for sustained growth in all sectors of the Nigerian economy has become the main issue of discuss amongst well meaning stakeholders in what is now referred to as the Nigerian project in general and theÂ Oil and Gas industry in particular.
The importance of qualitative Human capital in national development and societal transformation has become obvious to all and sundry in Nigeria. We have now become very interested in the characteristics of leadership, process of evolution, criteria of selection as well as the systems that must be in place to improve on the quality as qualitative education and talent development forms the backbone for innovation and sustainable development.
The about to be signed Nigerian Content and Petroleum Industry Bill focuses on the Oil industry becoming the engine for economic growth in Nigeria and as such human capital development, vendor development and domiciliation of projects in-country to create jobs and wealth have been identified as key success factors.
Nigeria as Nation, have a lot to learn from the evolution processes in Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) economies. Nigeria requires improved infrastructure similar to that of these economies and must demonstrate its commitment and strategy to develop talent for all the possible job positions required in a challenged and emerging economy. Investors would require aside from good infrastructure and security, access to a pool of highly skilled trained employees and an expanded and competent supplier base as a minimum requirement.
Since petroleum was discovered in Oloibiri over 50 years ago, Nigeria has not engaged in sustained development of locals and communities where exploration and production activities are undertaken. Large gaps in the well-being of people have left room for huge socio-economic divisions and militancy in some cases. According to the UNDP, Human Development Report 2009, the HDI recorded in 2007 for Nigeria is 0.511, which gives the country a rank of 158th out of 182 countries with data. Also, the Federal government is not compliant with its own policy thrust for Education in the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy which is to:
Â·Provide unhindered access to compulsory universal basic education to all citizens as a bridge to the future socioeconomic transformation of Nigerian society.
Â·Establish and maintain enhanced quality and standards through relevant, competency-based curricula and effective quality control at all levels.
The failure to proactively invest in the human capital required for project implementation ahead of setting achievable targets can be diagnosed as one of the primary reasons why government pronouncements of targets are not being met. The Oil and Gas industry must develop people to provide quality goods and services that are relevant to the Nigerian and global Oil and Gas industry.
Addressing the root causes of the failure of our students at the various levels of educational examination must be escalated to become a major concern of all the Nigerian Content managers in various stakeholder organisations. An educational system that produces only 4,223 successful candidates out of 234,682 candidates should be questioned.
All hands (Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Youth Development, NGO’s and Local Governments etc) must be on deck to address the disgraceful result of 1.8 (Students who scored five or more credits in subjects that include English and Mathematics) percent pass mark in the NECO examination. Drastic steps need to be taken for Nigeria to have a better workforce and leadership through talent development and management.