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The Speech Delivered By Engr. Omotosho Hakeem Olayinka at the Engr. Raji Olumuyiwa Symposium of the National Association of Polytechnic Engineering Students (NAPES) Esa-Oke Held at Faculty of Engineering Lecture Theatre OSCOTECH, Esa-Oke Osun State.

I am delighted to be with the National Association of Polytechnic Engineering Students Osun State College of Technology Esa-Oke here today. I also feel very happy and grateful to have been chosen as a Guest Speaker at today’s historical occasion. I also salute the courage of the present NAPES executives for a job well done. My sincere gratitude goes to all Lecturers of Faculty of Engineering especially Dr. Ademola Oyinlola, Engr. Akintaro, Engr. Ajobo and Engr. Ayinde (OluAye Civil) for what they have done in my life. My greetings to all HODs, Members of the faculty, friends and colleagues and the greatest Nigeria Students. All other protocols are well observed

The dream of every graduate either from Polytechnics or University is to secure good job from multinational companies like Chevron, Shell, MTN, Airtel, etc. or big-wing indigenous companies like Globacom, Dagote or even secure job with local, state and federal government. Most of you here today also have the same ambition to work in good companies, collect big salary, and buy luxuries cars and leave in Banana Island, Ikoyi and many other big areas in the country. Well, it is good to be optimistic; such wishful thinking shows a deep misunderstanding of the mechanics of the Nigeria labour market of today. The misunderstood truth is that graduation is not guarantee of employment as your certificate (distinction, upper credit) is not as important as your skills. Certificate are marketable commodities and can often get you an invitation for interview and probably a job, but the real concern of job employer of today is your employability. You may be lucky to get an enviable job with your certificate, but you cannot retain it with same.

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I just want everyone of you to know that, what proficiency rank above your paper qualification is outside there beyond “I am a graduate”,. Many of you desire to live a comfortable life after school, but few make preparation for the challenges involve .Those in such situation often get disappointed and learn by hard experience that graduation with good grades is not a guarantee of decent job with robust pay. Therefore, there is a need for everyone of you to embark on a voyage of concerted self development, nurturing of the head, training of the hand and building of the mind in any area of your entrepreneurship discipline.

Moreover, with the present academic policies and implementation of programs in technical schools, polytechnics, and university of technology none of them will give you the skills you need to succeed. The skills you need to succeed are not taught in school; you must go onto the field and gather them.

My sincere advice is this, think of the real entrepreneurship you should learn and strive to engage in business venture to secure your financial freedom and the best time to start is while in school. Polytechnic education should not be a precondition to economic pursuit, both should be complementary. So, start thinking in preneur way; mechnopreneur, technopreneur, sociopreneur, agropeneur, etc.

Entrepreneurship remains important in the development of a nation’s economy. Creativity and innovation are the universal marks of entrepreneurs. All innovations begin with creative ideas; creativity is the starting point to innovation. However, creativity is necessary but not sufficient enough for innovation. Innovation is the implantation of creative inspiration. Every successful entrepreneur needs creative innovation to sustain business success. Entrepreneurship as a cornerstone of development strategies for emerging economies has garnered support among a broad spectrum of scholars, policy makers and governments. Entrepreneurship theories and research is very important to the development of entrepreneurship and the economy at large. The functions of an entrepreneur include as an inventor, imitator, innovator, or more appropriately as a calculated risk taker. ”

Creativity has to do with the use of imagination or original ideas to create something inventiveness. Innovation is crucial to the continuing success of any business enterprise; innovation is the mental characteristic that allows a person to think outside of the box, which results in innovative or different approaches to a particular task. Entrepreneurial creativity and innovation are tantamount to economic development. Entrepreneurs have led and will continue to lead the economic revolution that has proved repeatedly to improve the standard of living for people. The key roles of entrepreneurship include mobilization of domestic savings for investment, significant contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Gross National Income (GNI), harnessing of local raw materials, employment creation, poverty reduction and alleviation, enhancement in standard of living, increase in per capital income, skills acquisition, advancement in technology and expert growth and diversification. Augustine Ahiauzu in his article, Entrepreneurship and economic development in Nigeria; the way forward, recommends that to tackle the problems of Nigeria’s economic development, concerted effort need to be made to fashion out a truly Nigerian economics ideology, and that the Nigerian Government should improve the entrepreneurial framework to galvanizing Nigeria’s total entrepreneurial activities towards improved national economic growth and development.

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Entrepreneurship as a panacea to Nigeria unemployment has helped Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) occupy a place of pride in virtually every country or state. Because of their significant roles in the development and growth of various economies, the (SMEs) have aptly been referred to as “the engine of growth” and “catalysts for socio-economic transformation of any country.” SMEs represent a Veritable vehicle for the achievement of national economic objectives of employment generation and poverty reduction at low investment cost as well as the development of entrepreneurial capabilities including indigenous technology. The development of indigenous technological base in all countries of the world has been championed by native entrepreneurs; this will help in transferring the much needed technology for the rapid transformation of the country. Nigeria is a country of over 190 million people and primarily known as an oil producer. However, the country is naturally endowed with many other resources that are yet to be exploited. Sectors such as agriculture, mining, semiprecious and precious stones and other resources have taken a back seat to the petroleum industry.

Entrepreneurs play a vital role in job creation and providing opportunities to young people. Annual Job Creation Survey consistently shows that entrepreneurs’ hiring plans outpace the rest. In 2015, record shows that 47% of entrepreneurs (and 77% of world-leading entrepreneurs) plan to increase the size of their workforce, compared to 29% of large corporations. As a result, supporting entrepreneurs to grow their businesses will have an impact on employment rates. The experiences of developed economies in relation to the roles played by entrepreneurship buttresses the fact that the importance of entrepreneurship cannot be over emphasized especially among the Developing Countries like Nigeria, this is because Entrepreneurial activities have been found to be capable of making positive impacts on the economy of a nation and the quality of life of the people. Studies established its positive relationship with stimulation of economic growth and empowerment of the disadvantaged segment of the population, which include women, children, students and the poor.

The era of I am a graduate, I need a white collar job is over. This is the era of technological innovations and creativities. There is no need for hard work again, just want you need is smart work. Entrepreneurs have led and will continue to lead the economic revolution that has proved repeatedly to improve the standard of living for people. The key roles of entrepreneurship include mobilization of domestic savings for investment, significant contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Gross National Income (GNI), harnessing of local raw materials, employment creation, poverty reduction and alleviation, enhancement in standard of living, increase in per capital income, skills acquisition, advancement in technology and expert growth and diversification.

Nigeria is blessed with abundant human and natural resources which if properly managed would have turned this country into Mecca and Jerusalem of employment. But given the massive corruption from the Government, lack of commitment, the dominant role of public sector in the economic life of the nation, the country has lost the opportunities for growth and sustainable development. As a result of this, it is a truism to say that unemployment is the major driver of social vices in Nigeria.

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In recent times, the scourge of kidnapping, cybercrime (Yahoo-Yahoo), terrorism (Bokoharam), armed robbery, prostitution (Omo Olosho), brain drain among others has been the order of the day among youths whose “get-rich-quick” ideology has continued to take new dimensions. However, a great vision of Nigerian government is premised on becoming one of the 20 most industrialized economies in the world by the year 2030. The aforementioned goal cannot be achieved if a country with over 95 million of youthful population has over 70% of persons in this category unemployed. This type of goal is nothing but a white Elephant project without empowerment. Available reports from various local and international bodies have shown a glaring evidence of joblessness in the recent decades, which are clear indications that there was no time in Nigeria’s history where unemployment is as serious as now. It will be justifiable to conclude that successive governments at one level or the other has not done anything to reduce the menace of unemployment in Nigeria. For instance, the creation of National Directorate of Employment (NDE) and its skills acquisition programmes, National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP), Poverty Alleviation Programme (PAP), the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Program (SURE-P), Youth Enterprise With Innovation In Nigeria (YOUWIN), just to mention a few, are some of the various intervention mechanisms aimed at ensuring economic growth that is rich with job creation initiatives. But all these aforementioned programmes are not really for the purpose of it objectives. It is just avenue to enrich the few “cabal and cartel “ as their own political reward, if am to be proved wrong, despite these efforts on different intervention programs by government, unemployment and poverty have been the order of the day. Specifically, poor economic growth sequel to low economic activities coupled with an ever increasing population growth and thirst for foreign made products are probably some of the macroeconomic factors that account for higher unemployment rate in Africa, especially in a country like Nigeria where the number of universities, polytechnics and colleges of education kept increasing without a visible corresponding increase in job creation.

Entrepreneurship will remain a white Elephant project without an empowerment, if the following obstacles facing entrepreneurial development in Nigeria are not addressed properly:
1. Rampant political and bureaucratic corruption together with the absence of social consensus on important macroeconomic policy issues.
2. Poor access to vocational and skills – development training for rural and urban youths involved in the informal economy.
3. Absence of regulatory mechanisms for effective oversight of enterprise development initiatives, especially those in the MSME space.
4. The presence of administrative and trade barriers that curtail capacity building and inhibit access to technical support.
5. Significant infrastructural deficits (especially with regards to roads and electricity) and systematic irregularities inimical to small businesses
6. Absence of a pro-active regulatory environment that encourages innovative enterprise development at the grassroots level.
7. Lack of funds to start-up entrepreneurial ideas

The quest of Nigeria in becoming one of the top 20 industrialized economies by the year 2030 and the need for the achievement of the sustainable development has been the primary goal of successive governments in Nigeria. However, this cannot be achieved in a country that needs more of entrepreneurs but keep producing mere graduates. Therefore, the achievement of the aforementioned is premised on the extent at which the most vibrant but large aspect of the Nigerian demographics – the youth are trained and nurtured to fit into the current situation of the country through self-employment initiatives programmes not the jamboree of the past. This should be done in such a way that it discourages the desperate quest of graduates for white collar jobs which are grossly inadequate to cater for the teaming graduates that the tertiary institutions have failed to bring to fore. Meanwhile, the intent of owning a business in the emerging Nigeria is gradually been encouraged and discouraged by factors that are demographical, economic, family, social, political, educational and religious in nature. Hence, I further conclude that there is need to nurture and engage the positive and the need to discard the negative influencer’s and perceived challenges of engaging in self-employment through stakeholders at all levels (i.e., the Government, community and the household). In achieving this, the study recommends the following:

1. Tertiary institutions in Nigeria should strike a balance between theory and practical during Entrepreneurship education classes. In addition, there is a need to orientate potential graduates on the state of unemployment in Nigeria and the need to venture into and see self-reliance Initiatives as a major career choice.

2. Institutions should introduce several areas of specialized sub-fields within the field of Entrepreneurship training so as to afford potential graduates to engage themselves in specific self-employment training during undergraduate schooling.

3. The country needs Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education that are well equipped and manned with quality and adequate instructors on Entrepreneurship studies only. Enrolment into these institutions must be made affordable to encourage potential applicants.

4. Government at all levels should collaborate with financial institutions should not only make funds available for aspiring entrepreneurs but also make them accessible for them.

5. The government at all levels and concerned stakeholders should sort for sustainable solutions to the issue of irregular supply of electricity in Nigeria. This will discourage high running cost of businesses at the face of limited funds.

6. Government of Nigeria should systematically discourage the thirst for foreign made goods by Nigerians and encourage the consumption of local goods and services. This will encourage local entrepreneurs, create employment and make business to stay in existence.
Finally, on this note I will like to say thank you to everyone. My greetings and best wishes, God bless you all.

Adekunle, S. and David, J. (2014). Entrepreneurship Education in Nigerian Universities: A Tool for National Transformation. Asia Pacific Journal of Educators and Education.

Abiola, K. (2009) corruption as impediment to sustainable development. African journal of Arts and cultural studies.

Okeke, M. and Eme, O. (2014). Challenges Facing Entrepreneurs in Nigeria. Singaporean Journal of Business Economics and Management Studies.

Asaju, K., Arome, S., and Anyio, S. (2014). The Rising Rate of Unemployment in Nigeria: The Socioeconomic and Political Implications. Global Business and Economics Research Journal

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