By Sunday Onyewonsa
With the unveiling of the Second Edition of the book entitled “Handbook of Skill Acquisition Training and Empowerment Programmes”,Nigeria has joined the league of countries that have produced world class authors that have written books that have worldwide applicability.
The book is capable of facilitating the lifting of several people out of the poverty worldwide and revolutionalising conventional educational systems, globally. This book was unveiled on Wednesday, 17thJuly, 2019 at the Transcorp Hilton,Abuja.
In 1776, a Scottish Economist and Moral Philosopher,Adam Smith published his book entitled “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations”, generally referred to by its shortened title “The Wealth of Nations”. His work is the foundation of the free market economy till date.
In 1798, Thomas Malthus was the first economist to come up with a systematic theory of population. In his famous book entitled “Essay on the Principle of Population”, Malthus proposed the Principle that the human population grows exponentially (i.e. doubling with each cycle) while food production on an arithmetic rate (i.e. by the repeated addition of a uniform increment in each uniform interval of time). His work is generally referred to as “Malthusian Theory of Population”.
Also in 1726, the world famous Physicist, Isaac Newton, published the three (3) laws of motion which was called by Newton as “Axiomata Sive Leges Motus”, meaning the Laws and Axioms of Motion.
In 1859, the famous Scientist, Charles Darwin published his theory that is known as “Origins of Species by Means of Natural Selection”. The scientific work by Charles Darwin is considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology till this day.
The Second Edition of the “Handbook of Skill Acquisition of Training and Empowerment Programmes” by Dr. Benjamin Onoriode Irikefe stands out in the sense that, it is undoubtedly the first work that has been published in the twenty-first (21st) century that has a global applicability to the actualisation of skill acquisition of training and empowerment as stand-alone domain of human capital development.
The state of the art until now, has a more or less topic of coverage only; such as books on fish farming, poultry farming, bead making, fashion design and tailoring, carpentry, plumbing and pipe fitting,etc., but not a holistic one like this. From the content of the book, it has not only simplified skill acquisition training and empowerment, but has also totally demystified it, in to-to. The publication is also intended to popularize the science of skill acquisition and empowerment.
In the 1074-page book, which chronicled over a quarter of a century (26 years) involvement of the author in the training and management of non-militant, restive and ex-militant youth and persons, the author is of the view that: A holistic skill acquisition training and empowerment programme should comprise of a four (4) fold components of vocation specific training; soft and life skill training; Entrepreneurship development training and post training empowerment; starter packs for beneficiaries of skill acquisition training programmes should be provided and be made available to trainees before they exit their trainings and should be given specific training in the usage and the application of the starter packs; A standard starter pack package should comprise of a full complement of support and vocation specific components/items; and Vocational and Technical Education should be taught alongside and within conventional academic curricula so that Graduates can be equipped with Vocation Specific Trades they can eke a living with, after graduation.
Others views of the author include: All departments in academic institutions should develop vocation specific trades or MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) out of the various academic curricula, the students can get engaged in, after graduation; Graduates enskillment programmes should undertake to help graduates of tertiary institutions to unlock the creative and vocational potentials so that they can involve in vocation specific trades or MSMEs;
Operationalisation and reporting templates are needed for effective and successful training programmes (over 100 templates are provided in the book) and Continuous provisions should be made to re-integrate and empower ex-militants, Civilian JTF (Joint Task Force) members and deradicalised Nigerian repentant ex-Boko Haram operatives to enable them lead self-reliant, productive and wholesome livelihoods.
A full chapter titled “Skill Acquisition Training and Empowerment, Resettlement of IDPs, Refugees, Indigenes and Residents of Insurgency Devastated Territories and Rehabilitation of their communities.”
This new edition also provided the frame work on how a Sambisa Joint Development Territory (SJDT) can be developed using Public Private Partnership (PPP) models to make the Sambisa Forest a security fortress and economic powerhouse for Nigeria rather than leaving it to degenerate into a safe haven for terrorists and other criminal elements to ply their trade.
When the author was asked his view about the book, he said he is just a bead-maker, as most of the materials in the book have been existing. What he has done is to weave them together. And that what he owns is only the thread. The beads have been there. He just wants to organise and make them available to humanity. He also concerned with the spate bastardisation and commoditisation of training programmes and trainees in general.
If the prescriptions in the book are adopted, it will go a very long way in revolutionalising conventional academic curricula for good and facilitate Nigeria’s exiting the economic recession. In fact, the book is bound to be a game changer, if its contents are greatly utilised and applied. With the publication of this book, Dr. Benjamin Onoriode Irikefe has undoubtedly established himself as a national authority on skill acquisition trainings and empowerment.
The year 2019 is an epic year of significance in which another Nigeria citizen attains world class recognition in literary communication.