IN a bid to ensure that its graduates learn trades different from their programmes of study, the management of Michael Okpara Univerity of Agriculture has pledged to make maximum use of the multi-million naira Centre for Entrepreneurship Development block built for them by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Already, the university has made it compulsory for second year students to engage in one trade at the centre and from indications it is paying off for the students. Some of the students displayed their various products last week during the official hand over of the centre to the university by the CBN.
Some students displaying their products
The products ranged from clothing materials, shoes and other leather works such as sandals, slippers, bags; perfumes, air fresheners, insecticides, ippers, bread, cake, chin-chin and custard to students of engineering repairing generators and vehicle engines. According to CBN, the centre is meant to serve all tertiary institutions in the South East geo-political zone.
Speaking at the ceremony, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, who was represented by a deputy director in CBN, Mr. Oluwole Owoeye, appealed to students in Abia State and the entire South East zone to take advantage of the opportunity provided for them by the centre to develop their skills and talents.
Emefiele who announced that the project was part of corporate and social responsibility of CBN explained that the Entrepreneurship Development Centre (EDC) was designed to develop skills for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises. “In Nigeria we realized that for now, there is dearth of skills. People don’t have relevant skills. So the essence of this thing is for people to develop skills in various areas, so that they can be independent on their own.
“This one is the project the bank has developed for the South East zone. My appeal is for Abia and the entire Southeast to leverage and take advantage of this centre, come and develop their skills. We know that Aba is well known for a lot of SMEs, so I want to use this medium to appeal to the people in Aba, its environs and entire Abia to come and patronize this centre, so that we will build up their skills.
“We have shoe, slippers, bag and sandals making unit, bread, cake, chin-chin and custard marking unit, clothing and textile unit, auto machanic and generator repairs, insecticide, air freshener and perfume unit, among others in this center. So people from the South East zone should come in and build their skills so that Nigeria will be a better place for all of us”, the CBN boss said.
In his address, the University’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Francis Otunta, represented by Prof. Maduebibisi Ofo Iwe, commended the CBN for conceiving the idea and disclosed that the Centre for Entrepreneurship Development (CED) was established in the institution in October 2011 in compliance with the directive of the Federal Government of Nigeria and National Universities Commission.
According to him, the vision of CED was to make MOUAU a foremost institution, especially the university of agriculture which provides comprehensive and highly accessible quality entrepreneurship education and training in Nigeria.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Director, Centre for Entrepreneurship, MOUAU, Prof. Oji Onu Ekumankama commended the CBN for reaffirming interest in CED and in promoting entrepreneurial education and training in the university, and described the project as a big morale booster for CED whose mission was to provide facilities and expertise that would propel the growth and development of SMEs through sustainable quality, effective and dynamic entrepreneurial coaching and assistance.