Joe Akwarandu, Umuahia
The governor of Abia state, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, has said the state government would soon establish an Aba Business School purposed toward grooming younger Igbo entrepreneurs.
Governor Okezie dropped the hint while speaking at the Aba Business and Leadership Summit and Awards 2021, which held at the Aba Sports Club with the theme: “Transferring Tested and Proven Business Models to the Next Generation”.
The governor also announced that the lingua franca at the school would be the Igbo language, while the instructors would be successful Igbo businessmen and women, who havd excelled in their various endeavours.
Governor Ikpeazu, who noted that no country had developed in science and technology without their mother tongue, made a case for the sustenance of the Igbo apprenticeship system which he said, “is better than what is being taught at the Harvard Business School.”
He maintained that the Igbo apprenticeship system offered great insight into successful business concepts, including teaching alternatives, packaging and repackaging, storage and warehousing, ethics of business as well as corporate social responsibility, among others.
He said that the essence of the summit was to see how best to reignite the interest of young people in job and wealth creation, advising that any attempt to break the chain of teaching and mentoring them, including their understudying business ventures, would be jeopardizing the future of Ndigbo.
In a keynote speech, a former governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, identified lack of mentorship in the family, lack of proper corporate governance and structure, and improper fiscal policy to support businesses as some of the factors militating against sustenance of businesses in Nigeria.
He also attributed the collapse of businesses in the country to lack of patronage of indigenous goods and stressed the need for “the right things to be done.”
On his part, the President, Coscharis Group, Dr Cosmas Maduka, advocated the Igbo apprenticeship system of mentorship for the younger generation, adding that willingness and desire to brave the odds, are some of the attributes needed for one to be successful in business.
Earlier, in his welcome address, the Director-General of Abia State Marketing and Quality Control Agency, Sam Hart, said that efficient structure for continuity was key for the growth and 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.
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 structure.
In their separate speeches, the President, Aba Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Sir Lawrence Obetta, and the chairman, Aba Sports Club, Chief Jerry Kalu, noted that succession plan was equally key to achieving a sustainable business establishment, ensure economic growth and improve the GDP of the state.
They appreciated Governor Okezie Ikpeazu for his robust policies that had improved ease of doing business in the state.
The summit featured panel discussion session on the theme: “Pathway to Trans-Generational Wealth Transfer, Aba as a Case Study,” by eminent Nigerians, including Ide John Udeagbala of NACCIMA, Darl Uzu, the CEO of Crown Realtors/Enyimba Economic City, Professor Barth Nnaji, the President of Geometric Power.
Others were Professor Pat Utomi of Lagos Business School, Sir Lawrence Obetta as well as Chief Stella Igbokwe and moderated by Mrs Nana Nwachukwu, a development expert, both of whom advised that the younger generation be taught how to stand firm in the face of adversity.
Professor Barth Nnaji, while speaking on the ‘Geometric Power Project in Aba’, assured that with the support and untiring efforts of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, the project would be fully functional before the end of this year.