Thursday, the 22nd day of September was one of the days to reckon with in the distinctive period of existence of Prof.Godwin Onu as a Rector of Federal Polytechnic Oko as the streets on campus were flooded with the display of affordable entrepreneurship articles produced by the entrepreneurship club of the Polytechnic.
Initially I was perplexed at the rush of Students towards the magnificent and gigantic entrepreneurship Complex built by the digital Rector. When I got closer I became more astonished at the entrepreneurship gallery for not just the jubilant students who were seen purchasing items of different magnitude but also for the qualitative products on display which was regulated under an organized Shoprite-like security architecture.
Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) had last year in conjunction with the National Universities Commission (NUC) launched the Universities Entrepreneurship Development Programme (UNEDEP) so as to encourage Nigerian students to imbibe the spirit of entrepreneurship, saying that all Nigerian universities are expected to key into the programme. The Director General, Alhaji Bature Umar Masari, had urged students in Nigerian Tertiary Institutions to endeavor to set up entrepreneurship clubs in their respective universities and polytechnics so as to imbibe the spirit of entrepreneurship while they are still in the school environment.
Moving ahead of some Tertiary institutions, Federal Polytechnic Oko has installed and launched the Entrepreneurship club under the directorship of Mr. B.C Ajakimo, a veteran in entrepreneurial skills and developments.
The occasion was colorful as so many students and staff went back home wearing joyous countenances with commodities already produced by the members of the club.
After the launching, the club displayed their products for promotion. In fact, paints, shoes, bags, clothes, belts were sold for as cheap as N500 each while detergents, perfumes, relaxers, body lotions, custards and lots more were sold between N50 to N100. No wonder the students and few informed staff rushed these items.
While interacting with the Pioneer President of the club, Charles David Olisaemeka, it was gathered that the club was launched for both the Staff and Students of the Polytechnic who would want to learn any entrepreneurship skill. The President also bragged that it will take him less than 2 months to make me a wine, detergent, perfume, relaxer and cream producing guru. That alone stirred up my interest because from Childhood I have a thick flare for provision stores.
The Rector who was represented by the Deputy Rector Admin, Mr Ejike Nwabuona charged the students of Federal Polytechnic Oko and other tertiary institutions to join the club and begin to redirect themselves on how to better their lives by embracing entrepreneurship and job creation strategies; because the problem of unemployment being faced in the country now was caused by the age long neglect of enterprise development and creation of jobs for the Nigerian Youths and this has increased the rate of social vice such as, kidnapping, insurgency, and prostitution. Admonishing the students to emulate the footsteps of big entrepreneurs like Dangote, Tony Elumelu and others who started small and improved their business to transnational status, the Rector charged all to toe the path of entrepreneurship development from school as to be self- employed after school.
Prof. Godwin Onu noted that government cannot create all the jobs needed to employ everyone, saying it is only the private sector that has the capacity. In his words, “Look at the developed countries like China, Japan, and USA; it is their private sector through the encouragement of MSME, which created major jobs that employed a larger percentage of the people. We have the plans to fashion out good packaging strategies for these wonderful products as to reach the market. We shall collaborate with big companies to industrialize these developments and in doing that, sky will be our stepping stone.”
I got back home with a N500 Shoe that I would have bought for N5000 in Onitsha main market. When I got home, I told my neighbors the good news. All and sundry in the yard (mostly staff) sped off to school to pick theirs.