“Among you, could be the next Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Jay-Z, Mark Zuckerburg or Tony Elumelu.
The Chairman of United Bank of African, UBA, Transcorp and Tony Elumelu Foundation who made the speech at the Loyola Jesuit Memorial College, Port Harcourt, Rivers state capital, told the students that the world has changed and students need to respond by changing their expectations after leaving school from ‘seeking a job to creating jobs.’
Jesuit Memorial College (JCM), Port Harcourt was set up to honour the memory of 60 students of the Loyola Jesuit School in Abuja who lost their lives in a plane crash in Port Harcourt on December 10, 2005. The school serves as a beacon of hope, where children are given the opportunity to get a sound education and have a chance to contribute to building a brighter future for this country.
“I was once a student, and in my time, things out there were even rougher than they are now. But the education and training I received in my youth helped me a long way. In the same way, I urged the students not to take their quality education for granted.
“Though they – like you – won’t always see immediate gratification, you should rest assured that success will eventually come as long as the following are in place:
- Purpose: What would you like to be in future? What are your dreams and aspirations? However, purpose is nothing if you don’t work towards making it come true;
- Hard work: Hard work is important to achieve your true purpose in life. Good things don’t come easy;
- Discipline: Discipline means you stay focused, and stay the path. Discipline will allow you realize your purpose;
- Check-ins: identify and set milestones that lead to the accomplishment of your chosen purpose. And you should (need to) periodically check yourself. Ask yourself if you’ve achieved milestones and if you are on top of things;
- Resilience: You need to be resilient. You need to have staying power even during the tough times. Remember tough times don’t last;
- Humility: Above all, you need to embrace humility. Internalize it and run with it because as you become more successful, the propensity is there for you to forget where you’re coming from. Be disciplined and humble enough not to let your success control you, but instead control your success.”
Elumelu also commended the Catholic educational system saying that it is the best as it not only emphasizes academic excellence but also builds in students a sense of responsibility to humanity.
He further encouraged the students saying,
“Your education, training and discipline will help you in the long-run just as it helped me in my own life.”
He express optimism in the younger generation’s ability to resolve Africa’s development challenges and catapult the continent into being a strong player in the international community that led him to commit $100 million to identify, train and fund 10,000 African businesses, over the next 10 years.
Elumelu concluded his statement by reminding the students about their benefactors — those 60 departed that made the school a reality, and according to him, were victims of circumstance. He said;
“I pray that all the souls of the departed rest in peace, and I pray for the students of Jesuit Memorial College, that their light may never dim, and that they (and all youth in the coming generation) shall make Nigeria and indeed Africa, great again.
“Among you, could be the next Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Jay-Z, Mark Zuckerburg or Tony Elumelu. You are the future leaders, I believe in this statement because I believe that you will be able to help us transform our country, improve humanity and bring about prosperity. I want you all to see yourselves as messiahs that have been unleashed into the world… you are young today but you can and will play a significant part in shaping the future.”
Speaking on behalf of the school, Dame Aleruchi Cookey-Gam, a former SSG and Attorney-General commended the works of the Tony Elumelu Foundation and the impact it has on the lives of young Nigerians and Africans.
“The students are at an impressionable age, we saw this as a unique opportunity for the Tony Elumelu Foundation to share their message of Africapitalism and the entrepreneurial spirit, these students will always remember this message.” she said.