“Leadership is behavioural, not positional: the capacity to integrate, innovate and mobilize others to bring a common aspiration to life is what leadership is all about, not holding positions of formal authority”
The above thought of Late President Nelson Mandela was re-echoed in NAPTIP when a batch of public servants comprising 40 NAPTIP officers, Staff of NABDA, Ministry of Health, National Assembly and Civil Society, underwent an intensive two-day leadership course tagged ‘Rethinking Public Service in Nigeria Through Servant Leadership’ on 11th-12th September, 2018. The training which took place at the Agency’s Training Resource Centre, Federal Secretariat, Abuja was a partnership between NAPTIP, 2018 Mandela Washington Fellows (MWF) and the U.S. Embassy, Abuja.
The workshop offered a platform for an officer from the Reforms Unit of the Agency, Igoh Lawrenta Jacinta, who was a beneficiary of the just concluded US government sponsored 2018 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, to step down the training and share knowledge acquired from the Fellowship’s Public Management Tract, where she was trained for six weeks at Bridgewater State University Massachusetts, with some leadership sessions at the Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Kennedy Centre for African Studies .
The workshop was also attended by the new Public Affairs Officer of the US Embassy Abuja, Sterling Tilley and the Counsellor for Management Affairs of the US Embassy Abuja, Ray Crawford, NAPTIP Director of Intelligence Training and Manpower Development and other Senior Officers and men of NAPTIP. The forum offered participants the opportunity to explore the inestimable values of networking in developing their leadership skills via peer mentoring on various aspects of leadership in the public service spanning through organizational synergy, ethical leadership, servant leadership, civility and respect. Other leadership principles that featured during the event include responsiveness, accountability and transparency, networking, commitment, result-oriented approach to tasks, gender and disability inclusiveness.
The training programme was also part of the Reforms Agenda of the current management of NAPTIP under the distinguished leadership of the Agency’s vibrant Director General; Dame Julie Okah-Donli who had earlier directed that Officers who attend both local and international training should step down for the benefit of other. Representing the DG, was the Director of Intelligence; Training and Manpower Development Department – Mr. Olubiyi Olusayo who congratulated the participants and facilitators, and specially commended the Anchor of the Programme; Ms. Igoh Lawrenta (a staff of the Agency and a 2018 Mandela Washington Fellow) for working out the logistics that brought the programme to reality.
The following 2018 Fellows of the prestigious Mandela Washington Fellowship engaged NAPTIP officers during the panel discussion sessions: Lawrenta Igoh: NAPTIP Reforms Unit Officer, Idada Shawn Edosa: Legislative Aide at National Assembly, Lamide Johnson: Story Teller/Creative Writer/Strategist at Ventures Park, Umar Faruk Kabir: A Magistrate Judge of a Lower Court in Katsina with passion for Alternate Dispute Resolution and Anti-Corruption, Mr Timothy Tinat: Reforms Unit and an alumni of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) of the U.S. Embassy, Dr. Francis Ayomoh; Federal Ministry of Health, 2018 Mandela Washington Fellow and 2018 Commonwealth Scholar, Onyenkachi Kingsley Anumata, Current Deputy Coordinator of the Young African Leaders Initiative (Face2Face) Abuja and Founder of Greenlane Universal Foundation. This Panel discussed several factors enhancing effective service delivery in Nigerian public service in general and NAPTIP in particular and barnstormed on ways to fill the gaps of vulnerability, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity etc that hamper progress for public leadership globally.
A live skype networking session also ensued between NAPTIP participants in the course and Founders of the South Shores Coalition Against Human Trafficking in the U. S – Merilee and Frank, a new US contact from the Fellowship, also shared their American experiences in the fight against human trafficking. They indicated their Organization’s willingness to partner with governments and civil societies in combating human trafficking; especially on awareness creation.
In the course of the programme, Kay Crawford; the Counsellor for Management Affairs of the U. S Embassy Abuja who engaged the NAPTIP officials in an interactive session, discussing the U. S model of Public Service operations, democracy and election, and responded to questions relating to public leadership in the Nigerian context. She encouraged participants to always demonstrate competence and passion in areas they care very much about “what you do in NAPTIP is incredibly important and valuable and you have to work hard to keep your Agency relevant and maintain a high profile” she noted. It was a great honour to listen to Sterling Tilley, the new U. S Cultural Affairs Officer of the Embassy , who is barely two weeks in office, as he took the participants through US-Nigeria cultural affiliation and expressed his joy coming to serve in Nigeria and contribute in advancing shared goals of both nations.
The program climaxed into moment of deep reflection on “rethinking public leadership in Nigeria through servant leadership”. Participants were streamed into discussion groups on Servant Leadership, the Deciding Factor administered online by Sandra Edmonds Crewe, Ph.D., ACSW, Dean, Howard University School of Social Work MWF Institute Instructor, Howard University – Public Management Institute.
Accordingly to her, “Servant leadership seeks excellence in management through an organizational culture of civility and community building. It seeks to tap into individual strengths and collective efficacy”. Stating the nexus between public servants and servant leadership. Former U.S. President Harry S. Truman once said, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.”
At the end of the programme, Certificates were presented to participants who could not withhold their excitement for the exposure they gained from the training. A beneficiary; Mr. Jonathan Ukpai – NAPTIP Assistant Director of Intelligence, on behalf of the participants, commended NAPTIP Management, Facilitators and participants for making the programme a reality. The event climaxed into a successful end with participants rising up their red cards, with a new resolve to make unique impacts in NAPTIP and Nigerian Public Service.
Judging from the overall comments on the feedback evaluation form from those who attended, the training, “Rethinking Public Service in Nigeria through Servant Leadership” was highly engaging, interactive, participatory and very relevant to 21st century public servants in Nigeria and should be extended to other Ministries, Departments and Agencies.