ABUJA – On Saturday, 26 March, the School of Government and Politics (SOGP) will conclude the 5th Cohort of the Values Reorientation and National Development course. Topic of the lecture is ‘Envisioning for Change’. It will be the climax of an eight-week session that commenced on 29 January in Abuja and on Zoom with a lecture on ‘Introduction to Critical Thinking’ with participants drawn from across Nigeria and the African continent.
The graduation ceremony of the 5th Cohort will hold on 30 April in Abuja.
The SOGP founded by Apostle Obii Pax-Harry under the auspices of the Nehemiah Apostolic Resource Centre (NARC) is aimed at raising transformational leaders in Africa.
The SOGP recognises the need to evolve the development and governance paradigm in Nigeria and Africa undergirded by genuine servant leadership in the Executive, legislative and judicial arms of government that is imbued with a sense of mission.
It believes in engaging the machinery of government to achieve the cardinal objective of forging the institutional and inter-sectoral linkages that facilitate the design and delivery of public policies that engender accelerated, inclusive and integrated economic development on a sustainable basis.
Consequently, the SOGP’s vision to develop transformational leaders in the sphere of government and politics is done through structured professional development programmes and initiatives.
The SOGP along with its management and alumni, has driven nation-building conversations on National Identity, Politics and Governance, Sustainable Development, the 1999 Constitution etc. and has served as a think tank for the government in policymaking.
Some of SOGP annual programmes and activities include the Statesman Series – a conference -styled annual event of the school designed to leverage the experience and expertise of seasoned men and women with enduring legacies in the spheres of government and politics in building capacity for deepening good governance and charting a course for a better Nigeria.
The SOGP has organised two editions of the Statesman Series. In 2019, it facilitated discussions on the topic “TOWARDS A NATIONAL IDENTITY” and in 2021, the focus was on “ETHICS AND VALUES AS A TOOL FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT”.
The conversation series is held quarterly by the school where industry practitioners, politicians etc. who have distinguished themselves in their sector are invited to address citizens in a town hall-style meeting where questions are also received from citizens and answered by panelists.
The Cohort is a training coursework which is a curriculum driven programme structured around systemic challenges of the nation, focused on raising transformative values-based leaders, tailored to the students existing schedule. It is through this training coursework that SOGP graduates professionals in the Values Reorientation and National Development course.
The maiden Cohort took place in November 2019 and it has successfully organided four cohorts of this basic entry-level course and it has trained not less than 200 individuals in Nigeria and other nations in Africa like Ghana, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Burundi etc.
Another laudable programme through NARC is the Justice League, a correctional services initiative focused on prisons reform and inmates rehabilitation. Justice League of the Nehemiah Centre is led by a former attorney general of Cross River State, Nella Endem (SAN) and Mrs Yetunde Fawinhim. It has 20 lawyers working pro-bono and has secured the release of 37 inmates since its operation began in June 2021.
The Cross River State chapter of Justice League Group was formally inaugurated in July 2021. Mrs. Nella Andem Rabana, SAN led the coordinator of the group, Dr. Paul O. Ebiala, on a courtesy visit to the Controller of Corrections, Cross River State with a view to securing the support/cooperation of the Correctional Centre. The Comptroller was briefed about the purpose and objectives of Justice League and requested to allow the group access to the custodial facilities of the Centre. The Comproller issued the group a letter of introduction dated 6th August, 2021 wherein the group was permitted to visit the Afokang facility and interface with inmates without any hindrance.
Armed with the letter from the Comptroller, the Cross River State Chapter of Justice League visited the facility three times on different days and interacted with a total of 47 inmates to get information about why they were arrested and incarcerated. Out of that number, two were freed by the management of the Correctional Centre before the group’s third visit, namely, Edet Ewah Mba (18), who was charged with unlawful carnal knowledge before Magistrate’s Court 2 in Charge No. MC/660c/2019 and Sunday Ettah Asigbe (23), who was charged with attempted murder before Magistrate’s Court 10 in Charge No. MC/364c/2019, respectively. In the same vein, one Edidiong Augustine (31), who was charged with stealing before the Port Court in Charge No. MC421c/2018, was represented by Justice League discharged by the Court for lack of diligent prosecution on the 19th of August, 2021.
The remaining 44 cases have been distributed among members in the ratio of 3, 4 and 5, based on capacity, for handling.
To ensure a seamless handling of the cases, Justice League in Cross River State approached the state Chief Judge and requested for waiver of filing fees in respect of the affected inmates and the waiver was granted.
Justice League is also very active in many other parts of the country like Lagos.
Another programme of NARC is the Rebuilding Lives Mission (RLM). On 29 December 2021, the RLM celebrated the ninth anniversary of its widows and youth mission with an outreach to Egbu, a town in Owerri, Imo State, where the Bible was translated into Igbo by an Anglican deacon, Dennis who was said to have died on high sea on his way back to Europe. A strong altar of revival resides in this town of five villages .
RLM began with 400 widows and 120 youth. Several widows have been trained in various skills and given soft loans to start businesses that are now thriving. Several youths have also been trained and are now running their own businesses.
Besides the South East, RLM has made giant strides in Nasarawa State.