Unizik begins research on Igbo apprenticeship (Igba boyi) model

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The authorities of the Unizik Business School (UBS), Awka, have disclosed their readiness to embark on research with the theme: “Invigorating Igbo Entrepreneurial Behaviour Through Enhanced Apprenticeship Scheme (Igba boyi) in Onitsha Markets, Anambra State, Nigeria”, to provide nexus between theory and practice in businesses.

This was disclosed Monday in Onitsha during the flag-off ceremony of the research, sponsored by the chairman, Pro-Value Humanity Foundation, Dr. Obiora Okonkwo.

The director of UBS, Prof. Au. Nnonyelu, noted that apprenticeship helps to inculcate values and advance entrepreneurs as co-creators of wealth and employers of labour, remarking the need to restore the lost glory of apprenticeship practice in Igboland. He said Igbo have, over the years, been pacesetters in commercial and other entrepreneurial activities.

According to him, the research will provide answers to questions dealing with threats to the apprenticeship scheme or problems affecting trans-generational entrepreneurship among the Igbo.  

“This research couldn’t have been a reality if it had not received the boost from the Pro-Value Humanity Foundation. We ask well-meaning entrepreneurs to follow the footsteps of these distinguished industrialists and corporate titans.

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“UBS assists the ubiquitous number of local traders, business men and women, who are grappling with different business challenges to overcome the obstacles. We shall provide for the traders intellectual capital to enhance their competitiveness globally.

“This research, is therefore, the beginning of the interface between the academic institution, the business school in this instance and the industry, as represented by the consortium of traders, business and enterprises”.

Nnonyelu, a professor of industrial relations, expressed gratitude to the benefactor, market leaders and traders for their anticipated cooperation and support for the research.

The benefactor, Dr. Okonkwo, had, in a remark, said the gesture was a way of giving back to the society, especially having had a short stint in business in Onitsha, the commercial hub of Anambra state. He noted that entrepreneurs need both financial and intellectual capital to thrive, hence, the need for mentorship and tutelage to take youths out of streets and reduce poverty.

The chairman of Pro-Value Humanity Foundation, then, charged the academia and research team to proffer solutions that would revitalise the seeming dying spirit of apprenticeship in the region, assuring his support towards achieving the envisaged goal.  

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He said, “The research is important because education must have a combination of theory and practice, there is need to have a nexus with the markets to give the intellectual knowledge to support the ingenuity we have in our businesses.

“Any government that cares should be concerned about this project because, government should provide friendly policies to support businesses. It is this businesses that will pay taxes to boost the IGR of the state, as well as provide private public partnership to create employment.”

Declaring the event open, the vice-chancellor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Prof. Charles Esimone, represented by the deputy vice-chancellor (Academics), Prof. Frederick Odibo, extolled the leadership of UBS for their efforts in raising the image of the university, assuring his unflinching support to the school.

Esimone said Igbo were known for having entrepreneurial and apprenticeship acumen, noting that most developments in the region were as a result of the enterprising spirit of the Igbo. He, however, regretted that the apprenticeship spirit in Igboland was waning, hence, the need to reinvigorate the culture.

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In a vote of thanks, the deputy director of UBS, Dr. Chinedu Onyeizugbe, solicited support of stakeholders in culminating the research, remarking that the research would help to institute structure that would enhance Igbo apprenticeship and entrepreneurship to bring back wealth to the state; adding that the research would be limited to Onitsha markets, due to resources, and expressed optimism that with time, it would be expanded to other markets in the south east.

Earlier, a research team member, Prof. Ezinma Nnabuife; director general, Onitsha Chamber of Commerce, Ama Godson Chibueze, and other traders groups, in their various responses, commended the initiative, stressing that apprenticeship had become a global phenomenon. They reiterated the need for government to support such laudable initiative.

Other members of the research team include, Prof. Au. Nnonyelu, Dr. Chinedu Onyeizugbe, Dr. Ebele Onyima and Dr. Rosemary Anazodo.

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