MANAGEMENT TRAINING FOR NIGERIANS
A response by President Ibrahim Babangida to the delegation of the Nigerian Institute of Management on December 11, 1985
I am pleased to welcome you and the delegation of the Nigerian Institute of Management. Your chairman has given me a succinct account of the functions of the Institute and its contributions to the practice of management in Nigeria. I am also aware of your activities in the training and retraining of Nigerians in order to expose them to modern management concepts, practices and ideas. The seminars, conferences and consultancy services which have been organised under the aegis of your Institute have also served to keep your membership up-to-date in the latest management techniques. Indeed, the details of your activities have been impressive to the extent that you can now boast of your claim as the foremost management institute in Nigeria.
Taken together therefore, your activities have proved to be in conformity with the objectives and goals for which you have set yourself implore you to strive harder to make yourself more relevant to the pressing needs of our country, especially during this period of economic depression. Times, such as we found ourselves, provide the acid test of your relevance. It puts to test the soundness of your managerial analysis, it puts into focus the social responsibility of managers and companies and their ability to cope with social dislocations resulting from economic depression.
I believe, the capacity of the individuals to adjust to the situation in itself poses a challenge to your training programmes. In short, your proffered solutions to the problems that faces the nation shall determine, to a large extent, how thoroughly and quickly we can pull through the present battered state of our economy.
I believe that the time is appropriate to examine dispassionately the role of management in our concerted efforts to restructure and revamp the economy. As you rightly pointed out the present situation has turned every individual into managers; we are all managers of austerity. You are also aware, that the most significant factor in the whole process of production is the human capital — the man, as the agent of change. He is the manager and the focus of your attention for training. The ratio in which the factors of production are mixed to produce goods and services is the exclusive responsibility of the manager. You should endeavour to turn him into good manager.
To my mind, the good manager, in our context today, is that person who turns the resources available to him to good advantage. He is that Nigerian who maximizes those factors of production of which the nation has natural advantages, to good and proper use. He is that Nigerian who talks pride in our produce and products and, given the opportunity, can compete with any other producer in the world. A great responsibility lies therefore on your institute and its members as well as those who, by virtue of their managerial positions, are called upon today to contribute to the resumption of growth of our economy and the progress of our nation. It is a task that cells for personal sacrifice and our sense of mission.
I would like to seize this opportunity to thank you for bestowing on me the honour of the Grand patron of your institute. I feel most honoured by this award. I assure you that I shall always look forward to hearing from you, particularly on, the problems and issue which face the Institute in its endeavour to achieve its noble objective. I urge you to ensure that the positive impact of your activities can be felt by the big company, the small scale business, the one-man business and indeed the government. It is through this means that your institute can affect the number and quality of management in this country.