So many Nigerians abroad are poor

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By Ignatius Chukwu

An education investor and manufacturer, Ekama Emilia Akpan has raised an alarm, saying many Nigerians especially students abroad are poor. “Do not mind the photographs they post home.” This was a strong echo at the first Wigwe University Fair in Port Harcourt where resource persons were brought to lead the conversation on how to rewire Nigeria’s education sector. The founder of the new university, Herbert Wigwe of the Access Bank, led the discourse by revealing how he schooled all through in Nigeria from primary to the university (UNN) and how this made him who he is today. He however, regretted that funding had dried up in the Nigerian education system and caused a breakdown. He said that the university he floated is his own solution to the menace.
The Vice Chancellor of the new university, Miles Davis, who has a deep education footprint in the US, said with a mere $15,000 fee per annum, the equivalent of N13.5 million, the Wigwe University was indeed a rescue to parents selling property to sustain $70,000 average spending per year per child.
The keynote Speaker, Obari Gomba, winner of the NLNG price for Literature, said no nation can grow above the quality of its education, saying it’s the school system of a country that supplies the workforce that builds the nation. In her submission, Ekama Emilia Akpan, founder/CEO of Showers Group, education investor, who was indicated as a beacon of visionary leadership in the business realm, said Wigwe comes from a background of integrity and of delivering what was promised. She said people should be able to trust him and trust the Wigwe University model. She said investing at home is key. “Abroad, the question they ask when you come for investment mission is, have you invested? Parents must note that those abroad are not all happy, forget the photographs they send home. Hope you know that the richest Nigerians made it at home?”The former Chairperson of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) Rivers/Bayelsa states, and National Deputy President of MAN (South-South/East), alleged that the country’s politicians ruined the Nigerian economy and sent their children abroad to live and study.
On destruction of the integrity of education in Nigeria, she said parents now force teachers to give their children ‘good grades’. “Some of us as proprietors stand against exam fraud because we have put in place robust teaching systems at high costs to guarantee the success of each child that wants to study”, she explained. “So, in my school, every child gets it into his or her head that exam malpractice or cheating is not an option. The policy is so strong that in one particular year, I personally sent a message to the Ministry of Education to cancel the result of my school. How can somebody finish Further Mathematics in 15 minutes? This shocked even the exam bodies and everyone. That is Showers Schools for you. It is time to start thinking Nigeria. Think of mastering entrepreneurship in the education system.”

Ekama Emilia Akpan


She made it clear that there are opportunities in Nigeria and Nigerians must encourage their children to look inwards.“Most of the multi-millionaires and now billionaires in Nigeria made it in Nigeria. There is need for a mindset change and this is if we can encourage our children to understand the shift.”
By 1912, she stated, Port Harcourt was a lead city in Nigeria in terms of investment, but not anymore. “Our duty as teachers, educationists, and parents is to teach our children what we have in this country. The power to bring back the wealth is to teach the children that there is hard work and that something great comes from it. The issue of integrity is very critical and we must restore it if Nigeria must move forward. It has affected us around the world. Someone as aged as I am, they will still search me at the airports around the world. There is no respect to the passport we are carrying. We must, therefore, tell our children to do things right so we can correct things from their set.” “The point I am making here is that most of the corruption we have in schools comes from parents. They hassle you to change results and if you don’t do it, they take their children to another school. So, things must change. Education is the heart of our development and even of our spirituality. We have to start thinking Nigeria, starting from Rivers State.” An official of the Wigwe University while moderating agreed with Akpan, saying the new university takes the issue of integrity and entrepreneurship very seriously. “We go beyond the classrooms and teach our students how to establish and own their own businesses.”

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