Chairman’s Acceptance Remarks for his Conferment of Honourary Doctor of Business (Honoris Causa)
Bayero University, Kano
At the University’s
35th Convocation Ceremony
(Saturday June 15, 2019)
Greetings and Salutations
- Governor of Kano State; H.E. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje OFR
- Emir of Kano, HRH Sanusi Lamido Sanusi;
- Professor Ibrahim Gambari, Pro Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council, Bayero University;
- The Vice Chancellor, Bayero University, Prof. Muhammad Yahuza Bello;
- Senate and Governing Council of Bayero University, Kano;
- Senior Staff members, Bayero University;
- Fellow honourees, Mrs Folake Solanke, Senator Bello Hayartu Gwazo and Professor Abdulkadir Dangambo;
- Esteemed students of this great institution;
- Good Morning
- On behalf of my fellow honourees, I want to thank the Senate and Governing Council of the esteemed Bayero University for conferring on us Honorary Doctorate degrees
- We are humbled and grateful to be here with you all today at this renowned University’s 35th convocation
- Again, on behalf of my fellow honourees, let me start by thanking Professor Bello for the very kind
- VC, we unreservedly commend you for the great work this reputable institution is doing in grooming the next generation of Nigerian
Word on other Honourees
- I commend the university for being painstaking in recognising my colleagues and I worthy of these
- I feel privileged to be receiving this in the company of eminent Nigerians like:
- Folake Solanke, the first female Senior Advocate of Nigeria and social critic, who has also been conferred with a doctor of Laws (LLD) Honoris Causa, for her immense contributions to human development and the advancement of the legal practice in the country.
- A country with a strong legal foundation achieves economic prosperity much
- Senator Bello Hayatu Gwarzo from Kano North, accomplished politician and philanthropist, has also been conferred with a Doctor of Laws (LLD) Honoris Causa.
- Renowned Professor, Abdulkadir Dangambo, who retired from the services of the University (after serving meritoriously for 37 years), but who has continued to serve the University through teaching, research and supervision of postgraduate students, has also been given an emeritus
- For me, in the kind letter signed by the Vice Chancellor, this degree is being bestowed “in recognition of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, whose activities have reached every nook and corner of the nation – and the continent, and have impacted positively on many lives, making immense contributions to the African economy.” Thank you,
- This recognition is symbolic especially from a conservative citadel of learning like BUK, reputed to be very careful and deliberate in the conferment of such degrees.
- The gender balance in today’s crop of awardees is noticeable and commendable. I appeal to our leaders across our public and private sectors for this balance to be the standard across all facets of our national
- I speak as someone who recognises the power of diversity and appreciates the invaluable contribution of women across executive and managerial positions in my
- I also congratulate the 9,571 graduating students who will be awarded first degrees, higher degrees and postgraduate diplomas Most especially the 105 of whom have earned first class. Very well done to you all!
- Specifically, I would also like to congratulate Abdullahi Umar Abdullahi, a blind student from the special education department who has transcended beyond disability to graduate with a second class upper degree. Abdullahi, you are an inspiration.
- Today, we are unleashing nearly 10,000 graduates of this university to the world: young men and women filled with hopes, ambitions, and dreams for their futures, who can either leave school and become full of despair and demystified by the lack of economic opportunity,
- Who can be positively and meaningfully engaged with suitable employment or access to economic opportunities to contribute to the development of our nation.
- These two options stare us in the face and the choice is up to us to chart the direction and economic destinies of these young
- Three days ago, the President declared during his Democracy Day delivery on Wednesday at the Eagle Square, that his administration in this second term is committed to lifting 100 million lives out of
- This is a laudable declaration, and I commend Mr. President. It is a highly achievable feat, recently accomplished by nations like India and China, and certainly not too ambitious for us as the Giant of Africa and the most populous black nation on
- But there is no magic wand to make this happen. No magic trick. It requires conscientious and deliberate effort from all stakeholders working actively and collaboratively playing our own
- There are a variety of ways to lift 100 million citizens from poverty, but two stand out. We can:
- Increase the number of jobs in the economy
- Create more opportunities for our young entrepreneurs to transform their ideas into small businesses that employ labour
- The Federal Government must play its leadership role by creating the enabling environment and conducive infrastructure that enables the creation of jobs and economic opportunities in the country for our huge youth
- Our population growth rate is much faster than our economic growth rate.
- Our young people need jobs that governments and big corporates alone cannot provide.
- By promoting entrepreneurship, creating favourable policies and building infrastructure to help these entrepreneurs, we enable them to create jobs and become employers of
- The government must abolish multiple taxations for small businesses, make business registration easier, prioritise our SMEs training and capacity development, entrench rule of law,
- Create industrial/Tech/Agric zones, etc.
- Our young entrepreneurs also need peace and security – for their ideas and businesses to
- The State and local governments must also play their own role: develop your local economies beyond reliance on the centre, build industrial parks that leverage on your state’s comparative advantage, attract investors and businesses to your state by creating conducive climates for investments,
- For the private sector, we must empower our young Across your business value chains, identify young entrepreneurs who can play a role and add value. Identify local talent and give them an opportunity.
- My economic philosophy of Africapitalism speaks to my own unshakeable belief that the African private sector is the most important tool to the socioeconomic transformation of this
- For wealthy Nigerians, development institutions and friends of Africa, you can directly invest in our young ones as these are the future of our I will use our own case at the Tony Elumelu Foundation
- It is for this reason that my family committed $100million in 2015 to empower 10,000 young African entrepreneurs in 10 years to create 1million jobs and social wealth on the continent by training, mentoring, funding and giving them access to markets and key networks will create prosperity for
- We are committed to democratising luck and access to opportunity by empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders because we believe that the solutions to African problems lie at the hands of Africans.
- It is this conviction that propels us to power the dreams of thousands of African start-ups and entrepreneurs. As we say to our entrepreneurs: Your idea can transform Africa!
- We have travelled the world from Brussels to DC, from Singapore to New York, to meet with like-minded partners who have bought into the compelling vision to empower and support Africa’s greatest resource– our young brothers and
- In five years, we have empowered 7250 entrepreneurs instead of the 5000 we would have done on our own, through the help of development partners including the International Committee of the Red Cross, German Development Agency, GIZ, and the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP).
- Out of 7050 entrepreneurs empowered by the Foundation from all 54 African countries to date, Northern Nigeria is home to
- And today, in recognition of the talent, creativity, and hard work that resides in the young people of this region, I am pleased to announce that the UNDP and the Foundation have deepened our partnership to empower an additional 1000 entrepreneurs from Northern Nigeria and the wider Sahel region. This speaks to the big ideas that exist in this region and is a direct intervention to lift thousands from
- There are several narratives of testimonies of our impact through our entrepreneurs and their inspiring businesses. They are truly catalysing the economic development of their local
- One such story is that of Goni who founded El-Magnifico, an aquaculture company that is reducing costs for farmers who have been hit by the Boko Haram
- With his seed capital, he launched an affordable yet premium fish feed for these
- Today, he trains other young entrepreneurs on fish farming every year. This is the type of results and impact that we set out to
- We also have Shadi, a young scholar who graduated top of his class in Today, Shadi has built that has trained hundreds of our young ones from this region – Northern Nigeria
- As part of our advocacy, the Foundation has taken Shadi to meet with global leaders including President Obama, because we believe in the transformative power of entrepreneurship, and call on others to see too the real-life impact investing in these young Africans can
- When we empower entrepreneurs like Goni, we not only empower one person, but we empower other families and the entire
- The power of economic empowerment is such that we provide economic hope and people who have hope are less likely to engage in reckless, violent or extremist behaviour. They have something to live
- As concerned stakeholders, we must join hands to lift our young ones from poverty to
- National prosperity can only come from widespread economic empowerment. This empowerment will come from inclusion, education, healthcare, and entrepreneurship.
- We must support our young African brothers and sisters by investing in their health, education and entrepreneurship
- It is not only the right thing to do; its’ an economic imperative. In particular, our young women, are the key to full economic prosperity in their
- For Africa to avert a demographic catastrophe, and achieve sustainable growth, we must support gender inclusion, education, healthcare and
- TEF is committed to supporting pan-African entrepreneurship in order to drive inclusive and sustainable growth in
- TEF is committed to unleashing Africa’s latent entrepreneurship to lift our people out of poverty, and we call on others to join
- Students, I wish you all the best of luck in your future