The Social Democratic Party (SDP) governorship aspirant for Kogi State gubernatorial election, Barr. Natasha Akpoti, on Saturday, charged the students of Kogi State extraction to develop themselves with entrepreneurial skills, saying the future lies in the hands of entrepreneurs.
Speaking on the topic, "Economic and Socio-political Reform in Nigeria: Youths Taking the Lead" at a programme organised by National Association of Kogi State Students, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) chapter, Akpoti said, in shaping the economy of any country, it depends on the manner in which the governance of the country is being managed.
She explained that the era where students get job as soon as they graduate is over, adding that it's about time the students start thinking outside the box through creation of wealth on entrepreneur and be employers of labour to contribute positively to the development of the country's economy.
"The world is yours to take, don't always wait for government for everything, you might be discouraged but don't give up, have the mind of volunteering, you need to think outside the box to know how things are done", she said.
Speaking on the essence of research centre, she said ABU used to be a centre for research in engineering, health, and other sectors, but over the years the story has changed, adding that it is not unconnected to funds that are not readily available for Nigerian institutions for research.
Akpoti maintained that the story of Ahmadu University that has fallen from the ladder of centre for breakthrough research is the same for other institutions in Nigeria.
"America spent an average of seventy one billion dollar annually to fund researches by universities because the government knows the importance of education and know that the future of the country is in the hands of the youths", she said.
According to her, to right the wrongs in the country, the youths need to develop the spirit of volunteering, and selfless service to contribute to the development of the country.
"To make our county work, one thing you must all realise is volunteering work, don't just complain of what is going wrong in the country, do whatever little thing you can to contribute your own quota", she said.
Akpoti narrated how she defied all odds to conduct feasibility study on the Industrial Development Centres (IDC) across the country on pro bono, the outcome of the study she said has been submitted for implementation.
"I voluntarily presented myself and went through all hurdles and several sabotages to carryout the feasibility study without being paid because I believe the twenty one IDCs across the country can provide an entrepreneurial skills to the youths when revived.
"From my research, I found out that from 1960 to 1990, the federal government established twenty one Industrial Development Centre across the country.
"The government established the IDC close to your school here in 1969 on a 65 hectares of land to develop entrepreneurial skills which houses Ceramic workshop, electrical workshop, woodwork workshop, metal workshop, automobile workshop, and
Leather workshop", she said.
Akpoti who led the students to the Industrial Development Centre to have a first hand knowledge of the equipment meant for the entrepreneurial skills, said what is in the IDC, Zaria is just one out of the twenty one IDCs established across the country adding that over the years the IDCs have been neglected because Nigeria focus too much on theory.
Speaking, the school Vice chancellor academics, Professor Danladi Ameh, said he has been following Natasha Akpoti's advocacy for the revitalisation of Ajaokuta to put Nigeria on the pedestal of industrialized countries, adding that it was an honour to host her in ABU.
Addressing the students, the Deputy Director Industrial Development Centre, Zaria, Muhammed Yari, said the students are free to register with them to develop their skills and learn more on the practical aspects of what they've learned in class.
Appreciating Natasha Akpoti for the bold step she has taken, Yari said their major challenges in the Industrial Development Centre has been the problem of neglect on the side of the government explaining that most of their equipment are worn out as a result of long term abandon.
While encouraging her uncommon strides, the Students' body conferred an award of excellence on Natasha Akpoti.