The need to empower individuals to do their job competently requires a process by which they obtain, improve and retain skills, knowledge and perhaps right attitude, equipment and other relevant resources for the organisation to survive, adapt, thrive in a fast-changing world and ultimately enhance its productivity level. Apart from coming at a particular cost, which usually is the major obstacle for its implementation in most organisations, capacity building is usually dependent upon the astuteness and the benevolence of the heads of organisations.
It is on his resolve to prioritise the welfare and development of all cadres of the University staff and perhaps, the realisation of its attendant benefits as an astute university administrator, that the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ganiyu Olatunji Olatunde made capacity building a regular affair among all categories of staff since his assumption of office. Apart from the efforts employed in sustaining its pursuits of issues that promote the welfare of staff of the University, the current administration in the University has remained consistent in promoting the quality of its workforce through attendance at conferences, workshop, seminars, and sponsorship to undertake Masters and Doctorate degree programmes both locally and internationally.
The non-teaching staff of the University were not left behind in having their fair share of the Management-sponsored training and re-training exercise locally and internationally.
For instance, in 2018 alone different set of staff were sponsored on different Capacity Building Workshops at different locations both in Nigeria and outside the country. While some were in Osun State for 5-Day Training Exercise, some participated in the 2018 edition of 5-day Capacity Workshop in Knutford University College, Ghana. Similarly, while the 2019 edition of the 5-day Ghana training trip for another batch of this category of staff was successfully held between Sunday, May 12 and Thursday, May 16, 2019, another set of Secretarial Assistants returned to the University on Thursday, 5th September, 2019 having participated in another 3-day workshop in Bayelsa State. This is also in spite of special supports extended to Staff Unions and Professional bodies like NASU, SSANU and ANUPA respectively for sponsorship of their members for Seminars and Workshops within and outside the country.
The sum-total of the exciting and impactful experiences of these staff at various training workshops and seminars in the last two years of Prof. Ganiyu Olatunde led administration in the University have always elicited pleasing comments and commendations of the current administration at different fora within and outside the University environment. A pointer to this was the shower of appreciation and rain of encomium on the Management of the University during an interactive session between the Management team led by the Vice-Chancellor and another batch of the non-teaching staff, numbering 60, who participated in a capacity building workshop held in Ede, Osun State, between Monday 19th, and Friday 23rd, August, 2019. The workshop which centred on improving the capacity of the workers with the theme: Enhancing Staff Alignment to University Best Practices in Service Delivery was another success story in staff development.
Addressing the participants at the event, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ganiyu Olatunji Olatunde who reiterated his commitment to staff training and development acknowledged the undoubtable competence of the Pinnacle Mentors Consults in capacity building / training workshop for University Staff, stressing that experiences of the Chief Consultant of the training outfit, Prof. Mrs. Obilade and her team were not only exhaustive but cut across all required facets of human endeavours including University Administration, Academia, Government circle, Human Resources Management, among others.
While expressing satisfaction on the co-operation and supports that the staff enjoyed in the developmental policies of the University, the institution’s helmsman re-assured them of their due recognition in the running of the affairs of the University, stressing that no one was irrelevant while noting that capacity building for all categories and cadres of staff had come to stay as a policy. According to him, “Management appreciates every staff contributions to the institution, we values all staff as critical and important components of the institution. We also appreciate the staff unions for their supports. Despite hard times, management still deemed it fit to invest in human resource development. There is, therefore, absolutely no reason to stop the training exercise”. He, thereafter, enjoined the staff to continue to exploit his open door policy by availing him with genuine suggestions on way forward for the institution while assuring them of his swift action where necessary.
In their various responses, the participants at the training workshop were unanimous in their promises to continue to reciprocate the gestures of the management in the discharge of their duties. This they stressed was incumbent on them all, as a matter of moral responsibility and necessity, simply because the non-teaching staff of the University including the lower cadres, had never had it so good in terms of staff training with attendant benefits of local and international exposure individually or collectively.
To one of the participants, who is over fifteen years old in the service of the institution, the event was a dream come true. While thanking Management especially the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ganiyu Olatunde for sponsoring 60 staff to capacity building workshop not minding the cost and logistics and inspite of the current economic situation of the country, he said the location for the Workshop was not only very conducive but well-prepared for them. In his words, “The location for the Workshop was very conducive, well prepared and the lecturers were friendly”. “I give thanks to the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Olatunde. He tried all his possible best, even all the conditions of this country could not stop him from sponsoring 60 of us, feeding us three times daily, with good accommodation, interesting lectures, and allowance at the end of the training” he added.
Also speaking on behalf of other staff members, the Chairman and Secretary of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Nigeria Universities and Affiliated Institutions, (NASU) OOU Chapter, Comrade John Rasaki and Comrade Sola Ogunbanwo respectively who could not hide their feelings were full of praises for the Management especially the Vice-Chancellor whom they described as Comrade with a difference in leadership. While acknowledging with thanks that their members have never been so exposed to capacity building workshop in the past within and outside Nigeria by any administration in the University the two union leaders expressed hope that the training would be a continuous exercise as promised by the Vice-Chancellor. They, therefore, promised to continue to reciprocate the gestures by co-operating with the Management of the University in her resolve to raise it to world-class standard, while also giving priority to the welfare of staff in the University.
At the Workshop, participants were taken through different sessions where lectures that bothered on rudiments of Healthy Working Life and Longevity, Roles of Staff in Building a Productive Workforce in the University System, Roles of Agriculture in Retirement Education: Livestock Options, Prudent Management of Personal Finances, Addressing Gender Issues in the University: Imperative for Peace and Development, and, Record keeping, Information Management, and Accountability: Expectation from Non-Teaching Staff, among others. These, in line with the theme of this years edition of the capacity building, were expected to enhance staff alignment to university best practices in service delivery.
In the entourage of the Vice-Chancellor were the University Registrar, who was also one of the resource persons, Mr. Femi Ogunwomoju, the University Librarian, Dr. Adebambo Oduwole and the Deputy Registrar, Establishments Division, Mr. Olalekan Odekomaya.