Is Entrepreneurship the New First Class?

by:

Ideas & Innovation

The premier University of Technology in Nigeria, FUTO, was once reputable for producing the best brains in terms of engineering and other tech-related courses.

This might explain the normally high rate of admission that was just recently considered by the current administration. Given the state of learning facilities and a rather backward system for a university of technology, one can rightly state that the university is gradually losing its state as the MIT of this side of the Niger to the new crop of private universities who have the facilities needed to woo millions out of the pockets of parents. With lowering of the first class grade point to a 4.0, introducing compulsory entrepreneurship courses, the university seems to be making efforts, but they are at snail-speed compared to the students’ who have the bull almost by the horns.

In the last two months, weekends have not been regular for FUTOites. Events like TEDxFUTO, After School What Next, Tech Startup Weekend and the Business Summit, have seen a large turnouts ranging from hundreds to thousands. For students who are acclaimed nerds and the ‘anti-socials’, this is a rewriting of history. This does not mean that the struggle for front seats or front stones in lecture halls is over or that the reading venues are now less crowded during exams. It only means that an extra spice is being added to the dish and the meal sure tastes better.

With themes like The Untold Story, Making Outstanding Visions Evolve, Startup weekend, Business summit, it’s easily noticeable that there is a huge shift towards entrepreneurship. Not the impractical kind driven by the compulsory 300 level courses – ENS 301 and 302, which are just a couple of copy and pastes from various websites, with a lot of definitions and mentions fit for a la cram la pour routine offering a cheap A to abate Fs and Ds.

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Apart from placing the school on the map through persons like Fela Duruotoye, a 2019 Presidential aspirant of the Alliance for New Nigeria, Osi Dirisu of Beat FM, Eizu Uwaoma of Hexavia, and a host of others, a couple of lessons can be scooped from these. First, these events are organised by students; yes, average, or rather, ordinary students, as ordinary as ordinary can be. From the scratch, birthing these ideas to getting resource persons, planning the event proper, ushering and protocols and even stuff as tasking as funding are all done by students. The massive turnout and the testimonies of attendees on and off social media are admirable and worth a million accolades.

Aside from the exposure, the glitz and glamour portrayed by red carpets, hashtags and selfies, there’s more. The teamwork and organisational skills can be acquired through class projects for lecturers who can afford the stress but the connections or rather networks that are formed is something to treasure. The brands and the thousand-plus members of the FUTO Business Club that spring up everyday as a result of such events make me want to scream, “Nigeria has no jobs? FUTO has to share!”

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If I count resilience as a lesson on the part of the organisers despite the conditions in place, that will be a warm pat on the back for the University administration. But it would also be a re-echoing of Emmanuel Macron’s words while in Nigeria few weeks back about having no excuse for not succeeding. I have rewritten it to be: Imagine that Steve Jobs was a FUTO student. It would seem that your school has nothing to do with succeeding. If you think that being a FUTO student means you won’t succeed, then you won’t. You fight and you succeed and you will be a role model.

The market no longer needs the white paper alone; it demands more and FUTO students are on the right path to obtaining an edge over their counterparts. Should the university decide to up their game in restoring the fading glory as the best institution, we’ll get behind them though we are already ahead.

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Featured image: Ekeh Isidore, Kizito Onyema, Aloysius Nwokedike and John Kenedy Kalu with a surveillance drone as their final year project (Via Nairaland)

I think, therefore I write

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