By Abiodun Alade
The Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola, may have ended up being a post master, but for his passion for litigation as a young lawyer.
After graduating from University of Benin (UNIBEN) and he was unemployed, his father presented him with the opportunity to work with the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST). This was at a time working with NIPOST was a dream job. While he realised it was a fantastic opportunity, he was extremely passionate about litigation and thus turned down the offer, and opted to pursue a career as a lawyer.
“I had a different passion and that was being in the courtroom; I therefore had to go for my dream to find a job that would help my career. It took me a while before I could get a job and that meant I was jobless for several months after NYSC”, he said at a group mentoring programme for enterpreneurs organised by Young Business Leaders of Nigeria (YBLN) in Lagos.
He, however, noted the failing education system in country and thus lauded the YBLN’s initiative in training young entrepreneurs for positive change in the country.
The immediate past Governor of Lagos State encouraged the young entrepreneurs to pursue their careers with a view to realising their potentials. “I am happy to see young people doing great things in their various areas of business. The better Nigeria, we hoped for begins with us,” Fashola told the 20 budding enterpreneurs.
The minister also spoke of the need for youths to develop a sense of identity, to mark themselves out from previous rigorous thinking, distinctive engagement and an insistence on doing the right thing. He cited an example of a movie,”The men who built America”, and urged participants to emulate the zealous actions of those characters in their aim to change America.
The participants were full of excitement interracting with Fashola; one of them into fashion designing and label creation, Amina Abdulazeez, said, “I am happy to see his Excellency. I found him awe-inspiring and I have been motivated by his words.”
Another participant, Abraham Ogwu, said, “I feel honoured to be sitting with a great leader, all thanks to Young Business Leaders of Nigeria for this opportunity.”
The 20 budding entrepreneurs were selected from over 3,000 applications that came from across the country to the YBLN and have been engaged in business and entrepreneurship coursework, complemented by an integrated programme of leadership training, peer collaboration, experiential learning opportunities and community activities. At the end of the program, each participant would have access to special credit facilities at low interest rates and, in return, are expected to employ a minimum of five persons before December 2016.
The trainees, who also got involved in community service programs, had the opportunity to meet distinguished personalities like the U.S Acting Consulate General, Dehab Ghebreab; Public Affairs Officer of the U.S Consulate, Frank Sellin; the Managing Director of Microsoft Nigeria, Kabelo Makwane; Managing Director of Unilever Nigeria Plc, Yaw Nsarkoh; Managing Director of Nestle Nigeria, Dharneash Gordhon, among others . Most of the dignitaries were present at the graduating ceremony.