David Iornem, a Benue born Professor of Management Sciences, is one of the very few Northern management consultants in the region. Recently, he received his fifth accreditation from the Centre for Management Development (CMD), the Presidency, Abuja. He speaks with MUHAMMAD SABIU about his experience as a management trainer, challenges and what the future holds. Excerpts:
who is David Iornem?
I am, a Professor of Management Sciences, a management consultant, a university teacher and author of international standing whose works have appeared in management in the authoritative journal of the Nigeria Institute of Management (chartered). I also co-authored a book on management consulting published in London by Kogan Page on behalf of the International Council of Management Consulting Institute (ICMC) . I am also the honorary Director General of the Institute of Management Consultants (IMC ). At various times, I have impacted knowledge to students in various universities across the northern part of the country. I was at Kaduna Polytechnic, Bayero University and Ahmadu Bello University. I also served as academic adviser and vice president of the St Clements Swiss Private University. Currently, I am teaching executive managers and leaders through short executive training courses of the London Graduate School and Commonwealth University.
Over the years, I have equally worked in Unilever Nigeria Plc, Nigerian Breweries, Plc as Sales Manager, a stint with Lipton of Nigeria as Regional Sales Manager. I was also an elected member of the 1988/1989 Constituent Assembly, an elected Senator of the Federal Republic, National Publicity Secretary of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) as well as a Director, Benue Investment Company, member, Benue State Scholarship Board, member, Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo state.
So, how has it been since you started?
We started in 1981 when I established the New Ideas Management consultant in Kaduna . And management is a discipline that God has endowed me with. I had a very good training, starting from Kaduna Polytechnic, where I graduated as the all around best student. From there, I worked with reputable organisations like Unilever, Lever Brothers and Nigerian Breweries; these are companies that placed high premium on training. In many organisations, if you go for interview and they just heard that you once worked in these places, they would not interview you again because they believed you knew your onions.
Now that you are given accreditation. What do we expect?
Well, this is something that has been on ground. It is not something new. I have been accredited over the years. I only renewed my accreditation for another five years. The accreditation is renewable for five years. I have been an accredited management trainer since the accreditation exercise began. I am one of the first batch to get this honour. This is my fifth accreditation renewal. What this means to those of us that are accredited is that we have been selected among many people who claim to be trainers. We can say that we have been given the approval by an agency of the federal government. But unfortunately, most people are not law abiding because those of us who were given accreditation by the Centre for Management Development (CMD) should be the ones that should betraining people, but because people do things in an undisciplined manner, you find ministries, government agencies taking trainings to their cronies who don’t have accreditation. But that is Nigeria for you.
So, can we say the region or country has managers that can provide the necessary managerial expertise?
Actually, we are blessed in this country. In the region too ,we have good ones that can stand on their own. You see, as for me, I have diversified my training to include other countries. At the moment, if I count the countries, they are 56 both in Africa, Europe, America, Latin America and Asia. Wherever, we have a management training, we have not less than 20 countries represented.
So, in Nigeria, if you are talking about the people who have been through my training, you can count up-to 10,000. While at the international level, you can count 6,000. At the end of every training, we do have report or evaluation form where participants are allowed to express their views about what they observed in the training. Progressively, we have had more than 90 per cent approval from them. We have good resource persons like Professor Zakari Kundu, Professor Gabrielle, Dr Alekeze, Dr Edwin Okafor, a young man trained in the United Kingdom and he is good and versatile in the area of digital marketing. So, we are equally having good resource persons in United Kingdom, South Africa and Germany.
Can we say, looking at the situation, that lack of good management is a major contributor to North’s backwardness?
Yes, the problem of capacity in management and also deliberate mismanagement. If somebody knows the correct thing and decides to do the wrong thing, that’s what I mean by deliberate mismanagement. The problem is not peculiar to the northern region. It is the problem facing the entire country. The person has been trained. He is supposed to have the capacity to do the correct thing, he actually has that capacity, he knows it, and he chooses the wrong thing. Then, their is also lack of leadership training. In our programme, we emphasize leadership training. A trained leader will not go into such things like knowing the correct thing and you choosing to do the wrong thing.
So, what is the solution?
The solution is training and retraining. We should be training and retraining future manager. People should ask themselves what does the word integrity mean? And when they find out the meaning they should try to follow it.