Shasha Training For Ogun Leaders: Great Initiative For Community Development | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Shasha Training For Ogun Leaders: Great Initiative For Community Development

Posted: Oct 22, 2016 at 7:24 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)


The uniqueness of people and history of South Western Nigerians has perhaps attracted several tourists across the world to the zone and by implication, exposed the people to modern civilization. This has also led to impeccable economic transformation over time. One of the world’s citizens that used his timeless wisdom to design a faultless legacy for the Yoruba race was the frontline politician and late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Till date, most of the things he introduced especially in the area of education have become a generic masterpiece to today’s leaders in Africa.

Specifically, it was gathered that in 1956, the late premier of Western Region, Chief Awolowo established the Social Development Institute (Shasha), Iperu Remo as a Leadership Training Centre. The institute was set up to train chiefs and politicians on leadership until 1980 when it became the Social Development Institute upon affiliation with the then Ogun State University, now Olabisi Onabanjo University.

Today, the school trains students as Social Workers and awards National Diploma in Social Work. It also trains community leaders with the aim of building a more coordinated society that is devoid of violence.

As part of its programmes, the institute, under the management of Ogun State’s Ministry of Community Development and Cooperatives recently presented certificates to about 227 community leaders from 13 local government areas under a 5-day basic citizenship and leadership training course.
Held between Monday October 17 and Friday October 21, the students which comprise mostly of executive council members of Community Development Associations (CDAs) from the state were drilled by various experts during the exercise.

Some of the courses offered include Training and Accountability in the Financial Management of Community Based Organisations; Complementary Roles of Trade Associations and CDAs in the Socio-Economic Development of Ogun State; Contemporary Methods and Techniques of Mobilizing Women for Sustainable Community Driven Development in Ogun State; Legal Issues Associated with Community Development: The Roles of Community Leaders; Repositioning Community Development in Ogun State for Better Performance; The Relevance of Physiotherapy to Our Well-Being among others.

The students, who were trained to be addressed as ‘the boy’ and ‘the girl’ started each day by 5.30a.m with jogging exercise round about Iperu-Remo Township. They were also drilled in road walk and other body building exercises.
Divided into six groups, the students were assigned different portions to clean daily and each group leader collected the members’ food during each meal time.

There was also inter-group football match, dancing competition, drama presentation, logical reasoning exercise among others.
Thursday night was greeted with various activities especially the campfire session. The students were tasked to gather thick woods from the surrounding bushes, tacked together and built to form an exhilarating pyramid. At the command of the state’s commissioner of community development and cooperatives, Francis Gbenga Adenmosun, who was physically present throughout the campfire night, the fire gushed out of the wood and this kindled a memorial celebration.

There was never a dull moment throughout the five day programme because of various exciting sessions but most especially the creative gesture of Mr. Opeoluwa Owosanya aka ‘Opeko of Africa’ was a great experience that most participants said they really appreciated.
His hilarious acumen was described as second to none. Opeoluwa, who joined the local government as a driver in 1986 has today become a director of community development in Ewekoro Local Government Area due to his dogged determination for excellence. He was also a product of the institute.

In an interview with Independent, ‘Opeko’ said he has put in 13 years as a part time lecturer in the institute, advising those who thought education is difficult to achieve, to have a rethink.

According to him, he was trained as a mechanic for about six years before he went for his secondary education. But by dint of hard work, he later attended teachers college before he pursued further courses at the premier University of Ibadan and University of Ado Ekiti.

Though the programme was assessed as a good gesture by most students, some students, however, advised the government to improve on a number of issues for better productivity.

For instance, one of the students in this batch who is the Chairman of the Unity Isokan CDA under Loburo CDC, Komolafe Oluwatoyin Abiodun said there should be improvement on feeding and electricity supply.

His words: “There is always room for improvement. In the area of electricity, I will advise that the management should let the light be regular. We only have light in the hall during the lecture. We sleep in darkness. Just for one week, there should have been provision for fuel to power generator.

There should be enough water always in the hostel. Some people cannot take their bath because there was no enough water and few bathrooms are also available. All these would encourage students to come back for advanced course. The food issue should also be addressed. The kitchen is not hygienic enough and the food quality is very bad.”

However, he said he enjoyed all the lectures. “No knowledge is lost. The legal lecture was expository. It will help the community leaders to know their right especially the position and restriction of ‘omo onile.’ We now have more sufficient information on the relationship between the CDA, ‘omo onile’ and the baales. I believe this gesture is essentially philanthropic,” he said.

An accounting lecturer from Ogun State University, Babajide Shonola who was also a participant said the government should improve on accommodation, saying every aspiring leader should be part of Shasha training.
Chairman, Ofada Area CDC, Engineer Gboyega Adeleke who led his executive enmasse to the campfire night advised the trained leaders to go back and make use of the newly acquired skills in community development.

“I will advise all the newly trained leaders to go back and work. They should not be discouraged in any way. Leadership is all about service. I can assure all the trained leaders of greater successes in all their endeavours.” He called on government not to relent in its effort to continue to support the grassroots development.

According to the course coordinator, Mr. Mudashiru Oriola, the training was purposefully designed to equip the participants with necessary skills and knowledge that would enhance effective running of their various CDAs and maintenance of their self-help projects and government projects.

It was however discovered by this writer that the transformer that was supplying light to the institute and the adjoining community was vandalised with its oil drained off by miscreants and had been abandoned for some time.

Students sleep in darkness everyday. It was also observed that there is no adequate security and standard health facility in the institute. The public address system used during the programme was also bad. Infact, most lecturers, including the commissioner and other officials were struggling with the ‘dying’ microphones to communicate with the students. Again, the campfire was almost a failure because there was no light at the arena. If the state government can work on these, the institute would emerge as one of the best citadel of learning for community development in Africa.

However, the commissioner, Adenmosun announced that the state government approved the sum of N53 million Grants to complement the self – help projects of the CDAs. He said the grant would be released at the 2016 International Community Day Celebration coming up in November this year.