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It was electric at Imo State University, Owerri when pioneer investor and entrepreneur in Nigeria’s ICT industry, Mr. Leo-Stan Ekeh challenged thousands of Nigerian youth, professionals, students and entrepreneurs to embrace the numerous opportunities for wealth creation which abounds with the growing pace of digital revolution and the knowledge economy, noting that wealth has become a right for all in the 21st Century.
He made this call at a mega entrepreneurship summit with the theme; ‘The ABC of wealth creation and sustenance in the 21st Century’, organized by the Imo State University and the Alumni Association in partnership with pioneer composite e-commerce outfit Yudala at the University Auditorium on Monday.
In attendance was the Executive Governor of Imo State represented by the Speaker, Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. AchoIhim; Vice Chancellor, Imo State University, Prof. Mrs. Adaobi Obasi, other principal officers of the University as well as several first class traditional rulers and other dignitaries.
Ekeh who featured as the Guest Speaker at the event decried the attitude to quality education among many Igbo youths – a generational problem which he traced to parents who erroneously assumed that education delays the progress of a man.
“The political leadership of the South East for decades has bemoaned the falling enrolment in schools. However, the mindset among many seems to be: Why do we need formal education when all we have to do is find the fastest way of making clean money? ‘Make ye wealth first and all the rest shall be added unto you’ or drawn straight from the Bible in the book of Wisdom – ‘money answereth all’.
“This mindset should change to ‘knowledge answers all’. In the 21st Century knowledge is your right and is the most important capital before cash.
“Wealth creation would always be about generating material values and accumulating same but the knowledge economy says to us that the processes must change. These tools are to be used to reorganize society and fire innovation. The knowledge economy has shrunk the global village even further and our aspirations must rise above the tripod of Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo battle for supremacy. The globe must be the platform for our operations and it has been since 1859 but we need to look inwards if we are to take advantage of the knowledge era.
“The Igbo entrepreneur would have to take quality education more seriously as deficiency in this is already a minus to her intellectual capacity to sustain her enterprise.”
Ekeh, a globally renowned digital entrepreneur whose Zinox Group ranks as arguably Africa’s biggest Information and Communication Technology (ICT) conglomerate, disclosed that building a successful business requires a mix of ingredients including humility, focus, determination to take pains before pleasure, identification of one’s passion and making it commercially viable, constant innovation and a deep relationship with God.
In his opinion, innovation – which he defined as when an invention meets a customer – represents one key success factor for many budding entrepreneurs who seek to enjoy digital wealth.
“There are Igbo entrepreneurs, including my humble self who have made huge investments in Lagos, Abuja, the UK, along the East and West Coast of Africa who would have no choice other than make investments at home given the qualified manpower and irresistible innovations. The 21st Century venture fund would be delivered to innovations no matter where they are found – China, Indonesia, South Africa, Israel, Brazil, name it.
“The point being made here is that the world needs innovations – answers to challenges confronting humanity – and the 21st Century Igbo aspiration should be to provide these innovations that are technology driven so that the products would be cost efficient and cost effectively reach more consumers world over.
Urging the audience in the packed auditorium to embrace the revolution in ICT, Ekeh noted that there is a clear and urgent need for training and re-training in a bid to reveal the potentials of ICT to all.
“It is important that I make it quite clear that what I am advocating is not that everyone must be an ICT professional. What I am saying is that every professional or entrepreneur at least for selfish reasons must be ICT literate enough to ensure that every sector of the economy is ICT driven. It is accepted globally that only ICT can catalyze national development at the pace that satisfies the high expectations in good living of the 21st Century.”
The event which featured the official presentation of YUBOSS – a wealth creation platform set up by Yudala in partnership with Airtel, Access Bank and the Leo Stan Ekeh Foundation, also witnessed the donation of books to the Imo State University and extension of soft loans to a few deserving entrepreneurs.
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