By Ugochukwu Alaribe
Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, said he enrolled in Aba Footwear Academy to enable him acquire skills that can afford him the opportunity of using his hands to create things and make money from it.
Ikpeazu who stated this while speaking at the Aba Business and Leadership Summit and Awards 2021, with the theme; ‘Transferring Tested and Proven Business Models to the next Generation’, at the Aba Sports Club, Aba, urged graduates of various disciplines to make haste to acquire skills that would support them in life
In his words; “I worked hard to get a PhD in Biochemistry just before my 30th birthday. I understand Biochemistry and I teach it well. But it dawned on me that apart from my degrees, I didn’t learn any skill that can afford me the opportunity of using my hands to create things and make money from it. That is what motivated me to go and enrol at the Footwear Academy here in Aba. I am serious about learning how to make shoes.”
The Governor called for the sustenance of the Igbo apprenticeship system which he said is better than what is being taught at the various international schools of business.
He explained that the system offers great insight into business concepts including teaching alternatives, packaging, and repackaging, procurement, storage and warehousing, ethics of business as well as corporate social responsibility, among others.
Stressing that the essence of the Summit was to reignite the interest of the young people in wealth, skill acquisition, and job Creation, Ikpeazu added that breaking the chain of teaching and mentoring young people as well as understudying business Ventures would jeopardize the future of Ndigbo.
Former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, in his keynote address, identified lack of mentorship in the family, lack of proper corporate governance and structure, improper fiscal policy to support businesses as some of the factors militating against sustenance of family businesses in Nigeria, especially in Igbo land.
He also attributed the collapse of businesses in Nigeria to lack of patronage for indigenous goods and stressed the need for the right thing to be done.
In his remarks, the President of Coscharis Group, Dr. Cosmas Maduka advocated for the Igbo apprenticeship system of mentorship for the younger generation, adding that willingness and desire are needed for one to be successful in business.
Earlier, the Director-General Abia State Marketing and Quality Control Agency, Mr. Sam Hart said that efficient structure for continuity is key for the growth, sustenance of a business enterprise, adding that the summit was put together to chart a way forward for the sustainability of businesses in Aba, the economic hub of the South-East zone.
He also identified some of the factors affecting the growth and sustenance of businesses to include refusal of business owners to submit to equity, nepotism and lack of well-planned business structures.
In their separate speeches, the President Aba Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, ACCIMA, Sir Lawrence Obetta and the Chairman Aba Sports Club, Chief Jerry Kalu, noted that succession planning is key to achieving a sustainable business establishment, ensure economic growth and improve the GDP of the state and appreciated Governor Okezie Ikpeazu for his robust policies that allow ease of doing business in the state.
The summit also featured a panel discussion session with the theme ‘Pathway to trans-generational wealth transfer, Aba as a case study’, by eminent Nigerians including Chief John Udeagbala; CEO, Enyimba Economic City, Mr. Darl Uzu; Chairman of Geometric Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji; Prof. Pat Utomi of Lagos Business School, among others.