By NBF News
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THE Director General, Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS), Ilorin, Dr. John Olarewaju, has described labour education as a veritable weapon that could accelerate the socio-political and economic pace of Nigeria.

Besides, Olarewaju submitted that constant refrain by some Nigerians on the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGS) by the year 2020 without a corresponding growth in labour management would be an exercise in futility.

He spoke on Tuesday in Ilorin during the orientation programme for 20 pioneer students of the Diploma school of the MINILs on labour management. Since its establishment, the MINILS had until recently ignored its mandate on providing long term learning programmes for labour leaders in the country.

According to Olarewaju, the Diploma programme, which would run for a period of 18 months, would enable labour leaders to refresh their memories on labour matters and equally afford the nation the opportunities of producing younger generations of labour leaders with modern labour bargaining skills.

The 20 students, who would operate low residency system, came from such states as, Lagos, Bauchi, Kwara, Plateau, Jigawa, Delta, Bayelsa, Ekiti and Abuja the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT). The larger chunk of the programme would be conducted via the website.

The MINILS boss said, 'today's event marks a milestone in the history of this great institute. It is unprecedented in the history of the MINILS to find out that union leaders could be subjected to rigorous academic exercises that could last for a period of 18 months. It is what this Diploma Programme represents.

'Before this programme, we had effectively carried out our mandate. At least the MINILS had trained over 25,000 labour leaders, employers of labour and government workers. But knowledge is not static. We need to constantly develop human capacity to move the nation forward. We need to develop a group of future leaders, if we must meet the target of the MDGS.'

For Olarewaju, the present yearning gap among the three cadres of union leaders in Nigeria (top, middle and lower) must be bridged, noting that the development, if left unredressed, would eradicate the use of social dialogue in the nation's Industrial Relations system.

Already, the MINILS has established zonal centres for the programme in Abuja, Lagos and Port-Harcourt. Besides, it has designed modules for future expansion of the programme along such lines as personnel management and development studies.  united state based centre, Geoge Meany Centre, is in collaboration with the MINILS on the programme.