Unilag Don Charges President Tinubu To Anchor “Renewed Hope Agenda” On Innovation


For Nigeria to surmount the challenge of unemployment among several national developmental issues, President Bola Tinubu must re-focus his “Renewed Hope” agenda to stimulate and drive innovation which will in turn, engender the creation of a New Enterprise in Nigeria where the prospect of the nation’s teeming youthful population is guaranteed.

The Director of the Entrepreneurship and Skills Development Centre (ESDC) of the University of Lagos, Professor Sunday Adebisi made this known while delivering the 1st Special Annual Lecture of Dr. Mike Adenuga (Jnr) Professorial Chair in Entrepreneurship Studies.
Titled “Revolutionizing the Nigerian Economy to Create Jobs and Sustainable Wealth: the Sole Ladder, the Sole Option, the Sole Platform” the public lecture held on Tuesday, November 28, 2023, at the J.F. Ade Ajayi (Main) Auditorium of UNILAG, Professor Adebisi who is the First Occupier Professor of the Dr. Mike Adenuga (Jnr) Professorial Chair challenged the Federal Government to commit to promoting and building a knowledge-based economy which thrives on the pillar of innovation.
The lecturer queried the methodologies of the latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) which puts the national unemployment rate at 4.1% as against the 2020 report which stood at 33%. He also faulted the 92.6% informal employment statistics and the 75.4% allocated to those in farming and other little businesses in the same NBS data, a record which he described as outrageous and capable of distracting the government from paying the desired attention to job creation.
Prof Adebisi also raised concerns over the rate and ravaging impact of job loss, brain drain and the generational gap between those he called Gen-Baby Boomers (i.e. 1946- 1964), Gen-X (i.e. 1965-1979), Gen-Y (1981-1996) and Gen-Z (i.e. 1997-2021).
The highly innovative don decried the continued rise in the country’s inflation rate, the sustained assault on the nation’s currency and the upward trend in the number of youths exiting the country for greener pastures abroad, a development, he said, is fuelled by failed promises, dashed hopes, poor change management system, irresponsible leadership, dysfunctional policies, outright disregard for citizens’ feelings and government’s inability to live up to its billings to the people.
In suggesting possible ways out of the quagmire, the Professor of Entrepreneurship, Hub and Strategic Management in the Department of Business Administration of UNILAG advocated the need for individual states in Nigeria to harness their innate strength to create an Enterprise Innovation Hub that will propel wealth-creation job opportunities, wipe out unemployment, create decent jobs within the value chains and eradicate poverty.
Prof Adebisi also solicited a paradigm shift in the thinking and approach of the federal, state and local governments to job creation, to promote a new economic sphere where citizens can productively explore entrepreneurial capabilities in taking advantage of innovation opportunities that create wealth and enhance their standard of living.
He identified youths especially the Gen-Y and Gen-Z who account for over 80% of Nigeria’s population as Nigeria’s hope and change agents, hence the need for them to be wary of the globalization agenda, the neo-liberalization policies of the West as well as the current free global market which is being used to lure them out of their fatherland.
The lecturer charged government at all levels to democratize entrepreneurship knowledge, formulate and implement policies which would guarantee unhindered access to entrepreneurial financing, support ease of market entry and ensure conversion of innovations to enterprises.
He also urged states and local governments, private companies and individuals to take advantage of the African Continental Trade Area (AfCTA) by increasing their investments and commitment to producing commodities that are fit for markets beyond the Nigerian shores.
Earlier in their remarks, the Chairman of the Lecture, Dr Olutoyin Okeowo (Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council of Ajayi Crowther University) and the Special Guest of Honour, Otunba Abimbola Ashiru (Chairman, Odu’a Investment Company Ltd.) applauded the commitment and milestones of Prof. Sunday Adebisi in creating the right environment for entrepreneurship and enterprise to thrive.
The duo of Dr Okeowo and Otunba Ashiru emphasized the need for greater collaborations between the town and the gown towards unlocking the potential of SMEs as well as supporting young entrepreneurs.
Also in separate remarks, the Wife of Lagos State Governor, Mrs Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu who was represented by Mrs  Folasade Sadare and the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Dr Mike Adenuga (Jnr) Professorial Chair, Distinguished Professor Taiwo Osipitan decried the rate of unemployment especially among graduates despite proven employability skills and passed a vote of confidence that the lecture will serve as an eye-opener for all stakeholders in addressing unemployment and youth restiveness. The Lagos State First Lady assured of the government’s commitment towards wealth creation through entrepreneurship.
Earlier in a welcome address, the Vice-Chancellor, of the University of Lagos and host of the lecture, Professor Folasade Ogunsola OON, FAS, appreciated the donor of the Professorial Chair, Dr Mike Adenuga (Jnr) for his choice of UNILAG in pursuit of his passionate commitment to promoting Entrepreneurship.
Prof Ogunsola said the objectives of the Dr. Mike Adenuga Professorial Chair align with her Future-Ready agenda which is geared towards stimulating economic ideas and grooming students with problem-solving skills thereby engendering a better society.
The Dr. Mike Adenuga (Jnr) Professorial Chair in Entrepreneurship Studies was endowed by Dr. Mike Adenuga in 2018 to focus on research interest that supports enterprise creation and development in Nigeria.
The Special Annual Lecture series which was debuted by the first Chair Occupier and Professor of Entrepreneurship, Hub and Strategic Management, Professor Sunday Adebisi is part of the cardinal objectives of the Professorial Chair.
It was graced by the Olowo of Owo land in Ondo State, Oba Ajibade Gbadegesin Ogunoye III.


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