Nominee Chairman of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA), Dr. Tunde Lemo has advised Nigerians to take their destinies in their hands and mind the process producing leaders in the country. Lemo, former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) gave this charge at the 70th anniversary of Nigeria’s foremost tertiary institution; the Yaba College of Technology in a well-attended lecture held at the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos recently.
“Until we begin to take our destiny in our hands and ensure that those who represent us are people who pass our tests, we may not go any further as a nation,” Lemo said, stating further that, “We should never condone corruption in whatever guise, if we spend N1m to pursue a thief of N1,000 it is worth it.
The former CBN Deputy Governor also said, “According to Transparency International, where there is corruption is where you have poverty the more. Our body language should be clear, we shouldn’t condone corruption.”
Corroborating Lemo was another speaker at the event, Mr. Osiniyi Osibemekun, Managing Director, Jackal Ventures Group and alumnus of the institution. According to him, Nigeria must fight corruption the right way. “You cannot continue to fight the right war in the wrong way,” he urged the Federal Government to intensify the war on graft and do it in the right way to make sense to the common man.
Advising those intending to go into businesses, Osibemekun advised people to study and have adequate knowledge of whatever business they intend to go into. “The business you know you cannot sustain for a long time, please don’t go into it,” he warned, urging people to be scheptical of businesses that are not clear to them. “Be skeptical of any business you have not known much about. You may collaborate with a big player in that industry. We need the government to protect smaller businesses because what we have is a capitalist system.”
Also at the event was Abdulganiyu Mohammed representing Mr. Kayode Pitan, Managing Director, Bnak of Industries (BOI). Lecturing on Financing the SME: Impact on Job Creation and Economic Growth, Mohammed took time to educate the audience on how the BOI sustains SMEs in the country.
Talking about the challenges of the SME sector in Mohammed said, “As an SME owner you must have to run like a Local Government of your own, you must be ready to provide your power, water etc. you need a lion heart to survive as an SME in Nigeria.”
Encouraging the SMEs in the country who practically operate in difficult terrain, Mohammed said, “Large businesses start as SMEs and they expand,” he however sighted examples of KAM industries, Innoson Interswitch, etc who had weathered the storm to change the narratives of business in Nigeria.
He also told the audience how the BOI sustains and builds the capacity of Nigerian youths in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme’s entrepreneurship department.
Faulting Nigeria’s education sustem which he said does not build students with enterprunural skills, Mohammed said, “Our educational system does not teach our young people to have enterprunural development. That is why at BOI we train them for few days and they are ready for funding. Their NYSC certificate is their collateral and it stays with us till they finish paying they also need a guarantor.
“We believe in the youths but there is the societal problem where people present fake certificates that is why we also verify from the schools awarding such certificates.
In his lecture titled, Nigeria, a Potential in Perpetuity? Economic Growth Through Project Financing and Public Private Partnership (PPP), Faculty Member, Lagos Business School, Dr. Bongo Adi told the participants that the country has not had enough PPP, a factor that is limiting industrial growth.
“There seem not to be enough PPPs in Nigeria. Those we have seen in Nigeria seems to succeed in some sectors than the others,” he said, stating further that, “There seem not to be efforts on bankable projects and there is no significant due process.”
Adi, who refused to go into the politics of his topic however arrested the attention of his audience with statistics. “PPP in Nigeria are in coma and there is no serious investor that would take Nigeria seriously and the ubiquitous government interference does not help as the government doesn’t respect the sanctity of contracts.”
Adi however highlighted the factors limiting the much needed PPP from achieving maximally in Nigeria. According to him, weak legal and regulatory framework and political will are serious concerns.
He also listed lack of long term financing, the threat of government’s obligation as key factors. According to him the government MDA’s seem to prefer traditional procurement for obvious reasons. The Lagos Business School faculty member also noted that “Nigeria needs to inject $10bn each year for the next 12 years to attain the level of South Africa’s infrastructure level of today.”
In summary, he said “PPP can come in if we get our acts right and at that point foreign investors would flow in.”
Chairman of the Alumni Association of Yabatech College of Technology, Pastor Oluwafemi Martins however appreciated all the lecturers and discussants at the event. According to Martins, who was also a student leader during his days at the institution wants the Federal Government to recognize the institution which is the first institution of higher learning in the country.
The alumni association members, guest lecturers and representatives of the current students at the end of the event jointly cut the 70th anniversary cake of the institution.