The African Centre for Leadership Strategy and Development has inducted the first set of its Leadership school intakes in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital.
The Ebonyi Leadership School, first in the Southeast, was established by the centre, in partnership with Neighbourhood Environment Watch, (NEW) Foundation, a Nongovernmental Organization based in the state.
The Founding Executive Director of the African Centre for Leadership Strategy and Development, also known as Centre LSD, Dr. Otive Igbuzor, while administering matriculation oath on the 105 matriculants on Saturday explained that the Centre was conceived to bridge the leadership gap in Africa by raising responsible leaders who can stand the test of time.
Igbuzor, also the Chief of Staff to the Deputy Senate President of Nigeria, Ovie Omo-Agege, noted that the Centre with Leadership school branches in Abuja, Warri, Edo and River states, has graduated a total of 1,300 students from its inception in year 2009.
He commended its partner in Ebonyi, NEW Foundation, for providing the enabling environment for the school’s take-off.
Igbuzor explained: “The Centre LSD Leadership school was started in 2009, and we have graduated over 1,300 students.
“We have branches in Abuja, Warri, Edo and River states, but the campus we are opening today in Ebonyi is the first in the Southeast geopolitical zone.
“Our vision is to produce transformative leaders across Africa, because from our study and experience in the development sector, leadership is one of the major problems, and we also know that there are scarcity of leaders across the world.
“There are many managers, supervisors and the like, but there are very few leaders, and from our own research, there are very few centres across Africa where leaders are trained.
“That’s why eleven years ago, we decided to set up the leadership school.”
He further emphasized that the curriculum of the school was formulated based on leadership training programmes across the world, including the curriculum of Harvard, Oxford and other leading universities, from which it developed a comprehensive Nigerian programme for the Centre with quality lecturers, good content, good environment of learning with appropriate tools.
Expressing pride on what the Centre has achieved in the past eleven years, he noted that the school was conceived from inception to be free from its design, adding that partners only need to provide the venue while other logistic costs were borne by the centre.
Speaking to newsmen, the Executive Director NEW Foundation and Coordinator, Ebonyi Leadership School, Dr. Kelechukwu Okezie, lamented that the problems of development and governance hinges around leadership.
He gave credence to Centre LSD for freely transforming the nation through skills acquisition in the area of building leaders and youth-change agents across States, adding that Ebonyi was lucky to have the centre establish its leadership school in the State, among other Southeast States.
He explained that over 200 persons applied for admission into the school following its advertisement, out of which 105 were selected based on merit, and accommodation criteria.
Okezie lamented: “In Nigeria, we are having a lot of challenges: poverty, insecurity, social service failure, among others.
“All of them revolve around leadership.
“My aspiration is that Ebonyi State would become better with better leaders through this school.”
Some of the matriculants interviewed, including Matthias Okinya, Lorieth Nwafor and Israel Mbam expressed happiness over the development, promising to utilise the knowledge to be gained from the school to better their various organisations and the society in general.
The free training programme is expected to have a course duration of one year, starting from this September.
The students are expected to attend lectures, read at least 10 books on leadership, do and submit all given assignments as well as submit research work as criteria for graduation.
The students would also be grouped and attached to mentors in the course of the programme for further grooming.