Ademola Babalola in Ibadan
Determined to tackle problems of endemic corruption head-on through financial literacy, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), the global body of professional accountants have enlisted over 600 accounting students from across the ten polytechnics in South-West Nigeria in a catch-them-young effort aimed at supporting President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration on an anti-corruption crusade and by extension prepare them for future needs of the nation currently in short supply of qualified accounting professionals.
Mrs Oluwatoyin Ademola, Country Head for ACCA in Nigeria in charge of business development, student growth and advancement, said the crusade which berthed in Ibadan, Oyo state capital, and draws students from across tertiary institutions in the state for free financial management training, would also move to other parts of the country in due course.
She explained that the university students are being captured too, so as to safeguard the nation’s future from further ruins as a result of mind-boggling level of corruption that pervade the private and public life of Nigeria; militating against the nation’s socioeconomic development and engendering even growth.
She said, “We did a lot of anti corruption crusade before President Buhari came on board and we have partnered the government on that. For us, we think corruption is not about the government but the individual in the government that are corrupt. Nigeria is not corrupt but it is the people that are corrupt. We think it is about ethics, it s about putting people who are educated in position of authority.
“There is a difference between been educated and going to school. Going to school means you are going to school and reading and been educated means you can apply the knowledge you have acquire. One of the reasons why there is so much corruption in Nigeria is because we do not understand financial management.
“People do not understand that they do not need to embezzle N10 billion they can become rich, and it is because of lack of understanding that people are embezzling anyhow. So many people lack financial awareness and understanding in this country. This is why were are supporting Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in his financial literacy campaign because we believe that financial illiteracy is what is leading to corruption, which is what leads to embezzlement.
“Most people do not know that the money they earn can bring in profit to them. If you look at those who have stole in the past you will see that they are now broke today. We want to work with government through CBN to bring strategic solution to corruption. We shall put some steps in place and reap the reward later.’
On the choice of polytechnic students for the training, Ademola said ” there is currently a bias against graduates of Polytechnic, what we are looking at employment opportunities, you will discover that most universities graduates get employed before graduates of Polytechnic but interestingly people with ready made job skills are graduates of Polytechnic.
“Itn ACCA we think it is unfair on them and that is why we are here to train them. At ACCA one of our value is opportunity and accessibility, so we want the Polytechnic graduates to know that there are some people out here that still value them a that is why we are preparing them down on how to get valuable jobs. Polytechnic graduate also have an added advantage because they go on a year industrial attachment. It’s only in Nigeria that we differentiate between a polytechnic and university graduates, but across the world, once you are a graduate you are a graduate. I think it is about time that polytechnic students start marketing themselves in the job market.
Speaking on the areas of the training for the participants, she said “first, we talk about their employability, how they can get job easily, and how to write a presentable Curriculum Vitae. This is our first seminar ACCA is doing for polytechnic students, and we have 600 students from across 10 polytechnic in Southwest.
“It is free and it is our own Cooperate Social Responsibility. We are going to do it in the South East, and Northern soon. There was no criteria for choosing the participating students, we only spoke to the institution and they gave us the students. We did not charge them anything and we will take care of their transport. We shall also get feedback from this training through the survey form we gave to the student. “