Speaking as the special guest lecturer at the Abia State University pre-convocation lecture, Dr. Ekeh who dwelled on “Building Graduate Entrepreneur Capacities for Wealth Creation,” posited that many of the states have not shown the commitment required to develop these state universities beyond the status of political symbolism.
He argued that there exists, today, two sets of universities in the public sector, the adequately funded federal universities and the poorly funded state owned universities, pointing out that these federal universities benefit from a resource pool of funds and materials harnessed by the National Universities Commission (NUC), while the state-owned universities depend on the snail pace bureaucracies of the states and the whims of state politicians.
Dr. Ekeh noted that both federal and state universities are Nigerian universities and both produce graduates for the same economy, stressing that both university systems are used to judge the standards of education in the country.
In order to achieve a common world-class standard for the nation’s universities, government should deduct at source the funding meant for state universities and channel it through the NUC for proper utilisation.
He also noted that the recent Memorandum of Understand (MOU) signed by the Federal Government, Afrihub and the CNP, was designed to change the face of tertiary education in the country, and should be extended to state universities.
He further traced the low level of development to unsustainable entrepreneurial practice since 1914.“Low level of education was largely responsible for the unsustainability of the wealth of Nigeria’s first generation entrepreneurs,” he said, outlining that one-man business practice, lack of trust, reluctance to delegate responsibility and authority, the fear of partnerships and a lack of succession procedures as some of the reasons why the first generation entrepreneurs died with their businesses.
Mr. Ekeh pointed out that today’s business environment was very challenging and required a higher level of literacy than was available to first generation graduates.
He advocated for a minimum qualification of OND for anyone who wanted to be an entrepreneur, even if the qualification is acquired on the job.
The Zinox boss equally said that the educational institution has a major role to play in building graduate entrepreneur capacities and recommended that primarily the universities must consciously and systematically brand their institutions.
“Branding yourself forces you to set world-class standards for yourself and not flow with the tide. You must define the standards by which you would be known and encourage your students to leverage on the image,” he said.
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