Leadership, Tomorrow: A Nigerian Conversation

LAST WEEK, the Association of Nigerian Students organised a special talk about tomorrow’s leaders, in partnership with the Coventry Conversation series, writes Natasha De Silva.

“Building the Leader of Tomorrow” saw experience sharing from Mr. Wale Oyedeji, the managing Director of Guaranty Turst Bank (UK) and Dr. Eugene Mgbemere, CEO and Founder of Orion Pax Ltd. They spoke about making it in UK, encouraging the student audience to keep striving.

“While success teaches you how to move forward and how to keep ahead of the competition, failure teaches you to never go backwards,” said Oyedeji.

The managing Director of Guaranty Trust reminded Nigerian students how privileged they are to have been born in the ‘Digital Generation’ and to be in a country with an excellent standard of education: “you are the first generation to grow up with digital technologies rather than having to adapt to them.”

As recent statistics show that only five per cent of Nigerian students passed the NECO examination, which is their equivalent to the GCSEs, Guaranty Bank PLC and other organisations claim to be working hard to solve this issue.

Nigeria is a country blessed abundantly with natural and human resources, however, they suffer from poverty. Oyedeji admitted this: “the uncomfortable truth is that Nigeria ranks as one of the poorest nations on Earth, on a per-capita basis.” Yet he believes that despite the shortcomings, Nigeria has the ability to transform itself into a “major economic powerhouse.”

Oyedeji went on to wonder whether entrepreneurs are born or made, he said: “Like most debates the answer probably lies somewhere in between.” As entrepreneurship is regarded as a ‘risky’ career in Nigeria, with parents wanting their children to become lawyers, doctors or engineers, Oyedeji challenged the Nigerian students to consider self employment.

Dr. Eugene Mgbemere, spoke about how he used his persuasion skills to get England and Italy to start “Global Skills” in Nigeria. This would encourage Nigerians to work and contribute to the decreasing of crime. The project was pulled out though due to kidnappings and riots.

He also spoke about his life experiences, sharing what he has been through to get to where he is today. Lastly, Mgbemere advised Nigerian students: “Let your community know you, let your community accept you and do exactly those things that will make them accept you and support you.”


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Filed under Coventry Conversation, CSAD

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