By Emma Okonji
Chairman, Zinox Group, Leo Stan Ekeh, has called on thousands of Nigerian youth, professionals, students and entrepreneurs to embrace the numerous opportunities for wealth creation, which abound with the growing pace of digital revolution and the knowledge economy, noting that wealth has become a right for all in the 21st Century.
Ekeh made the call at a mega entrepreneurship summit with the theme “The ABC of wealth creation and sustenance in the 21st Century”, organised by the Imo State University and the Alumni Association in partnership with pioneer composite e-commerce outfit Yudala.
In attendance was the Executive Governor of Imo State represented by the Speaker, Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Acho Ihim; Vice Chancellor, Imo State University, Prof. Mrs. Adaobi Obasi, other principal officers of the University as well as several first class traditional rulers and other dignitaries.
Ekeh, who featured as the guest speaker at the event, expressed worry about the attitude to quality education among many Igbo youths – a generational problem which he traced to parents who erroneously assumed that education delays the progress of a man.
“The political leadership of the South East for decades has bemoaned the falling enrolment in schools. However, the mindset among many seems to be: Why do we need formal education when all we have to do is find the fastest way of making clean money.
“This mindset should change to ‘knowledge answers all’. In the 21st Century knowledge is people’s right and is the most important capital before cash,” Ekeh said.
According to him, “Wealth creation would always be about generating material values and accumulating same but the knowledge economy says to us that the processes must change. These tools are to be used to reorganise society and fire innovation. The knowledge economy has shrunk the global village even further and our aspirations must rise above the tripod of Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo battle for supremacy. The globe must be the platform for our operations and it has been since 1859 but we need to look inwards if we are to take advantage of the knowledge era.”
Ekeh, a globally renowned digital entrepreneur whose Zinox Group ranks as arguably Africa’s biggest Information and Communication Technology (ICT) conglomerate, disclosed that building a successful business requires a mix of ingredients including humility, focus, determination to take pains before pleasure, identification of one’s passion and making it commercially viable, constant innovation and a deep relationship with God.
According to him, innovation, which he defined as when an invention meets a customer, represents one key success factor for many budding entrepreneurs who seek to enjoy digital wealth.
“There are Igbo entrepreneurs, including my humble self who have made huge investments in Lagos, Abuja, the UK, along the East and West Coast of Africa who would have no choice other than make investments at home given the qualified manpower and irresistible innovations. The 21st Century venture fund would be delivered to innovations no matter where they are found – China, Indonesia, South Africa, Israel, Brazil, among other country, Ekeh said.