Nnamdi Azikiwe University students had a transformative experience on Wednesday, November 29, 2023, when they met with Valentine Ozigbo, a renowned business leader, politician, and philanthropist, at the 2023 Unizik Students Entrepreneurship Development Programme.
Organized by the Vice President of the Student Union Government (SUG) and held at the Chike Okoli Centre for Entrepreneurship Studies on the university’s main campus in Awka, the event was themed, ‘Pathway to Possibilities: Nurturing Dreams Through Knowledge’.
The organisers aimed to foster entrepreneurship skills among students, encouraging them to nurture their dreams by acquiring knowledge.
Ozigbo, the Founder of eponymously named Valentine Chineto Ozigbo (VCO) Foundation, engaged the students in a needs-based dialogue, encouraging them to ask questions aligned with the programme’s theme.
Ezechukwu Casmir, one of the students, expressed admiration for Ozigbo, seeking advice on emulating his success. Another student, Innocent Okafor, highlighted Ozigbo’s impressive profile and inquired about his approach to effective time management, adding, “You will be doing us evil if you don’t contest in the next election.”
The students’ questions spanned various aspects of Ozigbo’s storied career trajectory, including managing failure, overcoming hurdles in Nigeria’s challenging business environment, maintaining an active social media presence, and his source of motivation.
In his response, Ozigbo, who was recently appointed as a Non-Executive Director and leader for Africa on the Board of the World Freestyle Football Association (WFFA), emphasised the significance of hard work and God’s grace in achieving career success.
“Success isn’t just about what you accomplish in your life; it’s about the obstacles you overcome and the dreams you nurture through knowledge,” Ozigbo told the youth audience.
“Remember, the pathway to possibilities is paved with perseverance and learning.
“In the journey of life, understanding your strengths and weaknesses is like having a compass that guides your path.
“Leverage your strengths and relentlessly refine your weaknesses. They are the silent guardians of your growth,” he added.
Highlighting the importance of emotional intelligence, Ozigbo cautioned against underestimating its value compared to intellectual intelligence. He stressed the need for self-control, adaptability, sociability, and the importance of leaving a positive impression on every individual encountered.
“Emotional intelligence is the unseen force that propels us forward. It’s not just about how smart we are, but how well we connect, adapt, and resonate with others,” Ozigbo said.
“In a world that’s constantly changing, adaptability isn’t just a skill, it’s a superpower. The ability to pivot with grace in the face of adversity is what defines true resilience.”
The event also featured the first female Professor of Mass Communication in Nigeria, the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Paul University Prof. Stella Okunna, and other distinguished guests.
The highlight of the occasion was the presentation of a distinguished humanitarian award to Mr Valentine Ozigbo, the immediate past President and Group CEO of Transcorp Plc, one of a few global champions of Kaizen, in recognition of his unwavering support for youth capacity building and engagement in Anambra State and beyond.
This event marked a milestone in empowering the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs, with Ozigbo’s insights providing a roadmap for students aspiring to make a significant impact in their respective fields.