In a bid to strengthen the Directorate of Entrepreneurship Development Studies and Skill Acquisition Center of the Federal University Lokoja (FUL) and reposition it for optimum service delivery towards meeting the goals of the current Administration's stance of 'No Skill, No Graduation,' where every student is mandated to learn at least a skill alongside their studies before graduation while the University registers their companies with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) upon completion of the training, the University Management has on Wednesday, 7th December, 2022 inaugurated a high-powered Board to drive the new policy.
The Entrepreneurship Development Board which is chaired by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olayemi Akinwumi has its members drawn from within and outside the University Community, including reputable and like-minded individuals from the private sector who are willing to contribute their expertise and wealth of knowledge in their various fields to support the growth and development of FUL.
In his opening remarks, the Vice-Chancellor maintained that the era of piling up only academic certificates without acquiring any marketable skills was long gone, adding that there was a need for students in the 21st Century to ensure they acquire relevant skills that would make them employable, self-reliant and employers of labour rather than waiting endlessly for white-collar jobs years after graduation.
He said that some tech giants and big companies like Microsoft were beginning to lay much emphasis on technical know-how instead of paper qualifications, saying that those companies now prefer to employ students trained from their Institutes who possess practical knowledge rather than employing graduates from universities who lack requisite skills that can guarantee their employability in the competitive business world.
To bridge this gap, the Professor Akinwumi-led Administration, in its visionary and pragmatic approach, introduced the "No Skill, No Graduation" policy upon assumption of office to ensure that students of FUL graduate with not just academic certificates but also with practical and marketable skills that would make them to stand out among their contemporaries in the labour market. The University Management is therefore pursuing this vision with utmost commitment and sincerity of purpose with the constitution and inauguration of this important Board.
Reading the terms of reference, the Vice-Chancellor stated that the Board would propose and develop policies that will assist in the smooth and efficient running of the Directorate of Entrepreneurship Development Studies and Skill Acquisition Center, forge partnerships and network with the academia, industries, funding sources, and others, for students of the University and other start-ups to leverage on, and explore the possibility of commercializing some of the products and innovations that would be developed by students of the University, among other oversight functions on the activities of the Directorate. Concluding his remarks, the VC said that he looked forward to presenting certificates of incorporation of registered companies to the first set of students under this new policy during their graduation.
Other members of the Board who spoke individually at the inauguration alluded to the fact that reliance on academic qualification alone can no longer guarantee a promising future due to the high rate of unemployment in the country which government alone cannot solve. They commended the initiative and efforts of the Vice-Chancellor and his Management team for matching words with actions in this critical area that affects not only the future of the students but Nigeria at large, by contributing to the realization of a knowledge-driven economy and reducing unemployment, while also helping the country maximize its full potentials and taking its rightful place in the fourth industrial revolution.
Worthy of note among the ongoing efforts of the Administration acknowledged by the various speakers at the event, was the building of an entrepreneurship development center with modern workshops at the Permanent Site which is already at the completion level.
Members of the Board include:
1. Prof. Olayemi Akinwumi - Vice-Chancellor & Chairman
2. Mr. John Sule Shilo - Bursar
3. Dr. Martins Onimisi - Ag. Director, Entrepreneurship Dev. Center
4. Prof. Abdullahi Yusuf - Dean, Student Affairs
5. Prof. Benjamin Dauda - Dean, Faculty of Science
6. Prof. Ayodele Bamidele - Ag. Dean, Faculty of Arts
7. Prof. Idris Jaiyeoba - Dean, Faculty of Management Science
8. Prof. S. D. Musa - Dean, Faculty of Social Science
9. Prof. Joseph Omolehin - Dean, Faculty of Education
10. Mrs. Esseyin Funke - Regional Head, UBA
11. Mr. Obika Okechukwu - MD GODEC Power (Nig.)
12. Barr. Olorunfemi Margret - Head, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)
13. Engr. John M. Gwom - SGMP, Dangote Cement
14. Afuibe Nwachukwu Joyce - Secretary. See more pictures here