Fagbohun advocates Igbo Apprenticeship strategy as best option for harnessing generational opportunities in Nigeria

…Commends Ifeanyi Ubah, Cosmas Maduka, others

From Cyriacus Nnaji, Lagos

Immediate past Vice-Chancellor of the Lagos State University (LASU) and Professor of Environmental Law, Prof Olanrewaju Adigun Fagbohun (SAN) has advocated the Igbo Apprenticeship strategy as best option for harnessing intergenerational opportunities for inclusive growth and development in Nigeria.

Prof Fagbohun made the advocacy while delivering the 10th Convocation Lecture of the Osun State University, Osogbo, Osun State on Tuesday, September 21, 2021.

The topic of the lecture was “Towards Harnessing Intergenerational Opportunities for Inclusive Growth and Development in Nigeria”.

He said that the fact of a law or policy working well in one jurisdiction is no guarantee that it will work well in another jurisdiction.  “The context of vastness of societal and national differences requires that law and policy-making demonstrate cultural legitimacy as an exigency and not an abstract constant. In addition, some critics have argued that intergenerational contract do not increase the number of jobs in the system. They argue that where some older generations are retained to train incoming younger generations, the result is a reduction in available spaces for the incoming.  Further, that the approach harbours a risk of retaining substandard hands to train a generation that has received a higher level of education.

“My response to such criticisms will be that looking at their society, they may have a point, but, looking at Nigeria, that criticism is misdirected. Pause for a moment to look at the Igbo Apprenticeship system that produced the likes of Innocent Chukwuma (the founder of Innoson Motors), Ifeanyi Uba (CEO of Capital Oil and Gas), Cosmas Maduka (CEO of Coscharis Group) and several others like them operating at Onitsha, Aba, Nnewi, and Lagos,” Fagbohun said.

He called on government to back the Igbo apprenticeship system saying “Now imagine inclusive and well-regulated guided deliberate, intentional backing by government of this system through one of its intervention supports.  It will not only result in job creation, it will boost productivity in low productivity sectors, facilitate productivity improvement and lead to creation of new products.  The promise is one of a significant shift,” Fagbohun said.

He stressed that government must pay attention to the social surroundings in which the opportunities are to be harnessed rather than cut and paste strategy “For me the traditional approach of cutting and pasting from other jurisdictions with which we have kept our jurisprudence alive for several years will not fully avail us the opportunity of harnessing intergenerational opportunities.  We must pay attention to the social surroundings in which the opportunities are to be harnessed; otherwise, intervention will only further magnify inequities that are already present.  Mapping and sequencing of the human genome in the field of science tells us that the genetic diagnosis of a patient is what should inform the doctor on how to treat the patient.  In the same way, it is the outcome of targeted multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research that should determine Nigeria’s approach.  Among others, research should focus on how Nigeria can bring her labour policies to support intergenerational relationships in the workplace; how labour policies with an intergenerational approach can improve employment opportunities and deal with labour and welfare crisis; and what macroeconomic policy choices Nigeria should make in the context of intergenerational contract.”

The award winning Professor of Environmental Law has a word of advice for the graduands “Let me leave our worthy graduands with some words of caution and short-term solutions. You must not relent in growing your skills and competencies. Diversify your portfolio of skills. Aside your core competence, learn a bit of how to: identify and access job opportunities, identify needs and opportunities of the markets within which you are situated, grow business, and access finance.  A number of such trainings you will find online at no cost. This is the way to prepare and be ready for opportunities and future employment prospects. Look for opportunities to diversify your mix of income (formal and informal opportunities with low barriers to entry). Keep your funds as much as you can by running away from wealth draining relationships while embracing wealth creating relationships.

“This is the right time to start growing investments (no matter how small) than investing in latest brand of phones and high street clothing and accessories. Beware of quick high returns that ponzi and similar schemes offer: always remember that not all that glitters is gold.  Finally, run away from illegality and unlawful acts: they can cut short dreams in a twinkle,” Fagbohun added.

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