Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq at the weekend joined the grand finale session of KWASULearn, a virtual holiday platform organised to take students through the rudiments of entrepreneurship, community development, leadership, innovation, and modern technology.
KWASULearn, designed to equip students on holiday with knowledge and skills on Community Development, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Advocacy, Entertainment, and Technology, was organised by the nonprofit organisation Torchbearers Impact Network (TIN) led by Ibraheem Abdullateef.
Speaking to the students via zoom Friday evening, AbdulRazaq urged them to grab the opportunities in modern technology, entrepreneurship, and various platforms that would make them job creators and self-reliant in line with the vision of the school.
The Governor, who shared his experiences with the students as the first Nigerian to have exported crude oil from the country, advised them to be hard working, consistent, and be open to tough challenges that might come with being entrepreneurs or pathfinders in whatever they venture into.
“This initiative is laudable and it is coming at the right time to deepen engagements on critical issues we should be having in order not to be left behind in the global surge for ideas in the new economy,” AbdulRazaq said.
“It aligns with our focus as an administration to drive investment and development in innovation and technology to achieve sustainable growth and development. We are not creating the Ilorin Innovation Hub, Visual Arts Centre, and the Garment Production Factory for nothing. These are significant projects in Nigeria and Africa showing Kwara’s resolve to become the go-to-state in Entrepreneurship, Technology and Innovation in the near future.
“Now, Kwara State University is at the centre of it, especially the visual arts and film industry. The University and the students have in the hub a platform for earning and learning firsthand from professionals from across the continents. This is as we ramp up efforts in fixing the campuses in Osi and Ilesha Baruba which had been abandoned.
“As we have seen clearly that technology is the future, this administration is providing suitable environment for young people to thrive on the strength of their skills and ideas, outside of the 9- 5 jobs. The reality is that civil service cannot create (all) the jobs they need and it is even not sustainable. It is the time to encourage young people to leverage on technology to earn honest living, even from the comfort of their homes. It is time young people brought their ingenuities to bear to develop IT- solutions to our national problems. As a state, we remain committed to supporting our brilliant and talented youths, in their drive for innovation and technology to put Kwara on the world map through industry and enterprise.
“Everything I said earlier about young people sparking change and innovation is not just to motivate you. This is not empty motivational talk. It was my story. I believe that you can do it and you will do it. You just have to continue learning and exploring to find your own interest and be consistent. My story is an example. I started and became very successful before (I turned) 30 in the oil sector. What I did was studying the method of crude exploration in the country at the time. I realised that something was amiss and could be done differently. This made me apply for a course abroad to learn more about crude oil exploration. The knowledge and skills I gathered helped me in creating my own empire in the oil sector, becoming the first indigenous company to export oil in Nigeria.
“It applies to all other sectors. Young people must develop vision and focus on achieving it with consistency. It may take time but it pays at the end. It worked for me and this is what works for people. For instance, I entered Kwara politics in 1998 and continually sought opportunity to serve the people. There were many disappointments but I kept knocking. Now, you have all elected me to lead the common struggle to rebuild the state. It is a story of vision, passion and focus, and one you can learn from in emerging as the leaders of this country.”
Abdullateef, the executive director of Torchbearers Impact Network, said the platform had been established to equip the students with skills and knowledge to position them for better opportunities in the knowledge economy.
He said the programme was timed to enable the students make the best of the holiday through engagements with top-rated sociopolitical leaders, saying learning from their experiences and ideas would impact positively on young people in career and leadership.
“Clearly, the future of work is digital literacy and technology. Shortly, no one will be getting employed on the strength of his/her grades and certificates only. As much as good grades are good, it is becoming increasingly invaluable to possess soft skills and sound knowledge of technology to be relevant in the new world,” according to Abdullateef, a 300-level mass communication student of KWASU.
“This is the time to start conversations around creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. There is no better place to start for young people than school. Considering limited opportunities for engagement with global impact makers on campus, KWASULearn was designed to bridge the gap. It is a platform for young people to acquire skills and certificates, while learning from the experiences of accomplished men and women, to inspire and motivate them to discover individual talent and potentials and build on them,” he said.
“I am elated to see how much participants feel impacted from Day 1 to the grand finale today. We had fantastic speakers and we appreciate them all. It has been a firmament of orientation and reorientation for young people. We will stay on this path, as students and young people, investing in and building ourselves for the development of Kwara and Nigeria at large.”