Students should start early to have an entrepreneurial mind-set; that way, they open up other options for gainful employment when they are ready to join the job market, says Tony Elumelu, Chairman Heirs Holdings, UBA Plc and Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF).
In an inspiring speech, which he gave to students at the Loyola Jesuit Memorial College, Port Harcourt, he told the students that the world has changed in a way that students should also respond to by changing their expectations after leaving school from seeking a job to creating jobs.
The Jesuit Memorial College (JCM), Port Harcourt was set up to honour the memory of the 60 students of the Loyola Jesuit School in Abuja that lost their lives in a plane crash in Port Harcourt on December 10, 2005. The school serves as a beacon of hope, where children are given the opportunity to get a sound education and have a chance to contribute to building a brighter future for this country.
Speaking on behalf of the school, Aleruchi Cookey-Gam, a former Rivers Attorney-General commended the Tony Elumelu Foundation, being promoted by Mr. Elumelu, and its impact on the lives of our young people.
“The students are at an impressionable age, and we saw this as a unique opportunity for the Tony Elumelu Foundation to share their message of Africapitalism and the entrepreneurial spirit. These students will always remember this message”
Elumelu also commended the Catholic educational system, as it not only emphasizes academic excellence but also builds in students a sense of responsibility to humanity.
In a statement made to the students, he said: “I was once a student, and in my time, things out there were even rougher than they are now. But the education and training I received in my youth helped me a long way. In the same way, I urge you not to take your quality education for granted. You won’t always see immediate gratification, but you should rest assured that success will eventually come as long as the following are in place – (purpose, hard work, discipline, check-ins to periodically check yourself; resilience and humility.)
· Purpose: What would you like to be in future? What are your dreams and aspirations? However, purpose is nothing if you don’t work towards making it come true.
· Hard work: Hard work is important to achieve your true purpose in life. Good things don’t come easy.
· Discipline: Discipline means you stay focused, and stay on the path. Discipline will allow you realize your purpose.
· Check-ins: identify and set milestones that lead to the accomplishment of your chosen purpose. And you should (need to) periodically check yourself. Ask yourself if you’ve achieved milestones, and if you are on top of things.
· Resilience: You need to be resilient. You need to have staying power even during the tough times. Remember tough times don’t last.
· Humility: Above all, you need to embrace humility. Internalize it and run with it because as you become more successful, the propensity is there for you to forget where you’re coming from. Be disciplined and humble enough not to let your success control you, but instead control your success.
Your education, training and discipline will help you in the long-run just as it helped me in my own life.” Elumelu said.
He explained that it was his belief that the younger generation can address Africa’s development challenges and catapult the continent into being a strong player in the international community that led him to commit $100 million to identify, train and fund 10,000 African businesses, over the next 10 years.
Responding to a question by one of the students on how to balance being financially successful with family life, Elumelu maintained that it is impossible to create sustainable wealth without balance and stability in the home.
In his conclusion, he reminded the students that though their benefactors, the 60 departed that brought the school to life, were victims of circumstance, the best way to immortalize them was to be very successful. He said “I pray that all the souls of the departed rest in peace, and I pray for the students of Jesuit Memorial College, that their light may never dim, and that they (and all youth in the coming generation) shall make Nigeria and indeed Africa, great again.”
“Among you, could be the next Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Jay-Z, Mark Zuckerberg or Tony Elumelu. You are the future leaders. I believe in this statement, because I believe that you will be able to help us transform our country, improve humanity and bring about prosperity. I want you all to see yourselves as messiahs that have been unleashed into the world. You are young today, but you can and will play a significant part in shaping the future”.