All over the world, education has been recognised as the driver of accelerated and complete development. It is a crucial necessity in everyone’s life. Also, education has been identified as one of the key elements for Africa’s development and in building a prosperous and sustainable future for the continent.
To the Founder of FSDH Merchant Bank, Hakeem Belo-Osagie, an educated mind is a gift to humanity. “An educated mind from Africa is critical to global transformation. So, what stops the average Africans from reaching their full potential? Fear blocks success. We must break free from the fear of failure. We have the resources, talents and resilience to transform our continent and it begins with education,” he added.
For a former Chairman of Access Bank Plc, Mrs Ajoritsedere Awosika, “the biggest impediment to a progressive society, is a malnourished mind and the best medicine for a malnourished mind is education.” According to her, education took her to heights that would have been unimaginable.”
“Fear is probably not your biggest hindrance, but ignorance. But through education, we would conquer fears and transform Africa,” she added.
Also commenting on the importance of education, the President of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, pointed out that over the last decades, the Dangote Group has grown from a commodity trading company to a diversified conglomerate, due to the quality of its human capital.
“Looking at the success we have accomplished over time; you will think that we have outgrown challenges. But the truth is, challenges evolve and that means that you can’t stop growing. The quality of your growth sometimes is a reflection of the education you have given your mind,” he added.
To a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Muhammad Sanusi, “ignorance is a luxury you cannot afford. A sound education and strive for excellence conquers fear.”
Similarly, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Fabian Ajogwu, noted that to stop learning, “is to standstill and Africa cannot afford to standstill.”
“Knowledge is the difference between Africa in our imagination and the one we currently strive to sustain. Knowledge produces the gap between dreams and reality, knowledge is the antidote to fear,” he added.
However, the Group Managing Director of Access Holdings, Herbert Wigwe, stressed that education makes one fearless and helps in making one to remain focused, unwavering, fixed firmly on the exhilaration of victory, rather than the fear of defeat.
This, he said, was why the Wigwe University is focused on delivering education that cultivates the bold and fearless generation of leaders, innovative thinkers and entrepreneurial sons and daughters of Africa. The Wigwe University is a beacon of knowledge that would guide the African youth through the realms of academia and profound lessons of existence
According to Wigwe, who is the founder of Wigwe University, with mentorship and guidance, the university aims to shape its students into embodiments of fearlessness, “so that one day, they shall proudly declare – we are fearless.”
Wigwe University is the culmination of the foremost banker’s lifelong ambition to build an exceptional, world-class, innovative, yet uniquely African institution to grow the next generation of leaders who will change the face of the African continent.
“It is the African gateway to the world of entrepreneurship, technology, innovation, and impact. Herbert Wigwe’s mission, through Wigwe University, is to change the course of Nigeria’s future through committed and world-class faculty and globally relevant and locally impactful curricula taught through novel methods to rival the globe’s most respected universities.
Wigwe wrote on the University’s website: “I cannot change the world overnight. But if I can empower even one youth today, tomorrow, they could join me in empowering others. With time, we could change the world. The truth is that the end to the good we can achieve is nowhere in sight. There’s so much more to conquer. There are more lives to impact and generations to uplift to achieve their full potential. History will favour the brave, those who knew their limitations only because they had to defy them. History will favour the fearless.”
On June 9, 2023, the National Universities Commission approved and issued an operational licence to Wigwe University in Isiokpo, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The Wigwe University stated that it embodies Nigeria’s resilience, fearless culture, values, and entrepreneurial spirit. The university believes that the world and Africa mostly especially, is in need of problem solvers, torchbearers and game-changers who would form part of its community of learning to create sustainable solutions for the world.
They would have the most conducive environment to do this and to attain their highest potential.
“We are the African spirit of strength in numbers, teamwork, and collaboration. We symbolise and express the irrepressible human spirit of design thinking. We strive for sustainability and a shared prosperous future for all,” it added.
Wigwe University’s vision is, “to ignite Africa’s potential for prosperity, nurture thoughtful, fearless leaders, and become the leading university in Africa,” with a mission “to set a new standard of educational distinction for our continent, students and educators, and nurture the next generation of African leaders as guiding lights for positive impact in a rapidly changing world.”
The university sets a new standard of educational distinction for African students and educators. With its distinctively inventive, pragmatic. The university added: “We believe in a balanced, sustainable lifestyle. From time outdoors to working as a sports team to fostering strong understanding and relationships between peers – our sports and societies offer something for everyone to get involved in.”
It stated: “All our programmes are delivered to an international standard in collaboration with key international partners. Our approach puts us in touch with world-leading curricula, joint research and international exchanges and internship programmes.”
Wigwe University’s undergraduate programmes, from degrees to online courses, offer opportunities for all kinds of fearless, inspired, continual learners. The university will start with at least the colleges of art, management and social sciences, engineering, and science and computing.
According to the university, the JAMB portal would be opened for the purchase of registration forms in December 2023. Exact dates would be published (on the university’s website and social media platforms, with appropriate links provided). Prospective students outside Nigeria can email Wigwe University via email@example.com to get detailed and requisite information.
Already, Prof. Miles Davis, has been appointed Vice-Chancellor of the soon-to-kick-off ivory tower. Davis has a PhD in human and organisational sciences from George Washington University, an MA in Human Resource Development from Bowie State University and a BA in Communications from Duquesne University.
He was the inaugural chair of the Management Science Department at the Harry F. Byrd Jr. School of Business at Shenandoah University. He became the founding director of its Institute for Entrepreneurship, and later, Davis became the dean of the Harry F. Byrd, Jr. School of Business.
Davis is an authority on entrepreneurship whose most recent work focuses on integrity, values and principles in the business world, and faith-based entrepreneurship. He is a member of the Society of Leadership Fellows at St. George’s House (their first non-UK-based member), an organization based out of Windsor Castle in England that brings together world leaders in a variety of fields to analyze contemporary issues. Davis sits on the board of the Amana Mutual Fund Trust. Davis is an awardee of numerous bodies. Most recently, he was named the ‘Portland Business Journal President of the Year’ (the first university president to be so named).
Another personality to keep the institution running is Prof. Nelson Uzoechi-Uzoma Alino, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration/Dean College of Management and Social Science).
Before joining Wigwe University, Alino held the esteemed position of William S. Perlroth, Professor of Accounting and Taxation at Quinnipiac University. During his last eight years at Quinnipiac, he was the interim associate dean, department chair, and director of the MSA programme. Alino received several awards and nominations for his teaching and research.
His leadership and dedication to innovation were instrumental in achieving a separate AACSB accreditation for the Accounting Program at Quinnipiac University. He is also responsible for initiating the university’s highly acclaimed Volunteer Income Tax (VITA) programme, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the US, a Fellow Chartered Accountant (FCA) in Nigeria, and a Certified Forensic Accountant (CRFAC®️) in the USA.
Dal Didia (Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academics): Before joining Wigwe University, Didia, a professor of Economics and chair of the Department of Economics, Finance, and General Business at Jackson State University, was also a professor and chair of the Department of Economics, School of Arts and Sciences, American University of Nigeria (AUN) Yola. As chair of the AUN Senate Curriculum Committee, Didia led a comprehensive curriculum revision, adding more programmes while streamlining the curricular development process at AUN. Didia has over 30 years’ experience in academia.
On the other hand, members of its board of trustees are accomplished individuals from diverse fields. They include Awosika, an accomplished administrator with over three decades’ experience in public sector governance; Mosun Belo-Olusoga, former chair of Access Bank Plc, principal consultant/programme director of KRC Limited; Tokini Peterside-Schwebig, Nigerian entrepreneur and businesswoman; Ajogwu, a SAN and the founding partner of Kenna Partners; Dr. Kenneth Ken-Worgu, the chairman and founder of Nortonel Group of Companies. Others are Olumide Soyombo, the founder of LeadPath, a seed capital investment fund dedicated to local tech startupS, and Uche Wigwe, the managing partner of Wigwe and Partners.
It is expected that when it fully becomes operational, the Wigwe University will significantly contribute in addressing the shortfall in human capital in Africa, support the continent’s drive towards societal transformation and ensure a sustainable future.