Noble Ihezue is a chief consultant for National Directorate of Employment as well as the CEO of Global Human Development and Logistics Procurement. In this exclusive interview with O’star Eze, he gives an insight into the problems of the Nigerian society pinpointing human capital development as crucial.
could you please tell us more about your company?
Global Human Development and Logistics Procurement started with conducting trainings in security. We have expertise in security. Under my US academy, we have done training under my US academy for SSS on detection of deception and interrogation. I am a consultant for a German government NGO called GIZ, that takes care of a lot of NGOs in the country and I train their security outfit. I have done a lot of trainings for ministry of finance.
What I do for ministry of finance is on entrepreneurship and employability skills. In the US, they train you to be holistic. You go up to become a director, you learn leadership. In criminal justice, there are people that are out into prisons, you have to release them. When you release those in prison, you have to give them a soft landing. If you just push them out there like they do in Nigeria, they will come back. We understand the system.
Here, what we try to do is apply what I did in the United States. Train people to be employable. And when we do that, teach them soft and hard skills. Interview skills, what you are supposed to do when you go for interviews, how to prepare your CVs, how to prepare for your interviews. When you get the job, how to behave at work.
Because the rapport of Nigerians in their work place is not quite ok. When you go to civil service, you find out that they are not civil. When you come to them to assist you, they look at you like you are bothering them.
These are the things that we teach these people. Whether you are working for yourself or for someone, you need to treat your customers right to retain them. That is what we do.
We train mostly on entrepreneurship, security, everything, but we supply equipments too, on the side. We have experts that have had trainings here and abroad that we use to conduct this training. We have people that that have been trained in different part of the world as part of our workforce in this outfit so we give professional service.
How financially rewarding is your job?
Well, when I used to come from the US to conduct these trainings, I was paid so well. But since I came back, I have been doing it at low costs to reach more people.
It is my own way of contributing to public service. They give you peanut you take it, our satisfaction is that we are improving lives. So, Ministry Of Finance, National Employment Directorate, Industrial Court, you name it, we have gone through them.
I also consult for some of honurable members here in Anambra; Orumba North and South, Ogbaru. I have done trainings in Bayelsa, Lagos, Akure, Umuahia, Zamfara, Abuja, and places.
Do you share the view that Nigerians have a lazy attitude to work?
Let me put in another context. Generally, Nigerians are very bright people.
You can’t argue about that. The only thing that I found out working in the criminal justice system, where I joined in making decisions to send Nigerians back home, is the get-rich-quick syndrome by Nigerians. They are not patient. They see someone with a good car or mansion, they want to be like him.
They don’t know how that person processed himself to get there.
They want to get money quick. And how do they get that money; rob people, sell drugs and such vices. An average Nigerian is so bright.
When we were in Nigeria, we weren’t the best students but when we got here with other races, they work for us. We are not lazy; we are impatient and very greedy. When you factor in greed and impatient, you start seeing those unpleasant things that give us a bad name in other countries.
Our leaders don’t do what they are supposed to do. They look at wealth as a means to an end.
So our youths see someone with G wagon and they want to have it. It makes them derail.
If they had the kind of training which we had, they won’t be like that. I know some medical doctors from Nigeria that started getting involved in criminal activities. If you are focused on what you want to be and you have strong heart that your friend is not going to lure you into what you won’t want to do, you will make it.
I have some boys I brought to the US who worked hard and attained good success. Some even went to Harvard. The owner of Konga is one of them. So, we are not lazy, it is just that we are not focused.
What is your take on the argument that Nigeria should move from a physical capital based economy to a human capital based economy?
Nigeria has a problem; they talk a lot but they are not sincere. That is the bottom line. Nigeria should not be where we are today. I left Nigeria in 1978. I went to Switzerland. That time, I would watch white security personnel bring down Americans to search them for drugs but don’t touch us; they respect us because of our oil.
They would hassle Americans and Europeans. We had prestige; when they ask you where you are from, you would be proud to say you are from Nigeria. But it is not so anymore. This is because some of our leaders have not fulfilled their promise. They have not shown good leadership. I wasn’t expecting to still come back to Nigeria and be sweeping my house with a broom.
That was what I used in the 60s and 70s. You have Nigerians in Europe and America that design these cars. If you go to Canada, the best in rail is a Nigerian. But here in Nigeria, we don’t even build a bicycle. So, we are not sincere. Who is going to take us through this paradigm shift? That should be the question. It is not having summits and workshops with several doctors. You know Nigerians like titles; doctors of engineering, etc. who don’t even know the inside of a cell phone to be able to fix it. We have several Ph.D holders but we are yet to know how to fix a car right. And that pride in us; a white man, regardless of his status can pull of his shirt and get under his car to inspect it or fix it, but not a Nigerian Ph.D holder. He would take it as demeaning.
What is your take on the influence of religion in this issue?
We have gone into religion in a wrong way. I remember when I used to enter a church it was serene. Now, it is no longer so.
Even religious leaders get involved in the nasty mess of corruption. So, the people that we look up to are messed up. So, what do you expect the young people to do? Back then in the secondary school, our crime used to be sneaking into town to party.
But these days in the secondary school, you find young people in gangs, killing people. There are also a lot of talks about human sacrifice; you see corpses without heads or limbs. So, Nigeria has gone the wrong way. We have to be sincere first before we can talk about fixing this country.
Look at our roads and see how selfish our drivers are. So, those fundamental things that make a good society are not there yet. Government officials are only seen at the grass roots during elections. This has to be fixed. Countries like Saudi Arabia and Dubai are doing better with their oil, but not Nigeria. There are countries like Japan that don’t have oil, yet they are doing great. Leadership at the local level needs to show example and empower the people. Not the kind of empowerment they see only when election is around the corner.
What solutions are you proffering?
What some honourable members are doing; empowering locals, is a good start. There is this old saying that “charity begins at home.” The leaders need to work on restoring trust in governance in the heart of the masses. There also need to be healthy competition among the governors. If Nigerians are what they ought to be, if I am in Anambra and I find out that Imo is doing better, I work on doing better than them. So, the paradigm shift should start from the mind; remove selfishness, wickedness, greed and imbibe patriotism and progressive mindedness.
An average Nigerian is so bright. When we were in Nigeria, we weren’t the best students but when we got there with other races, they work for us. We are not lazy; we are impatient and very greedy