The Nigerian youths, especially students in various tertiary institutions in the country, have been urged to hone their entrepreneurship skills and develop the capacity to do things with their hands as a way of guaranteeing their future and breaking the cycle of “inter-generational transmission of poverty.”
This call was made by the immediate past Director of the Centre for Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), Dr. Mahfouz Adedimeji, an Associate Professor, while addressing the ninth Youth Conference of Badrud-Dinil Islami Asalat Circle of Nigeria, which held at the Science Lecture Theatre of the university, penultimate Sunday.
Adedimeji, whose paper dwelt on the theme of the conference: “Islam and Entrepreneurship,” hinted that Islam was first conceived as total submission to will of Allah, and traced the origin of entrepreneurship to the Latin words, “entre” (meaning to ‘swim out’) and “prendes” (meaning ‘to grasp’, ‘to understand’, ‘to capture’), both of which were combined by the French-Irish Economist, Jean Baptiste Say, in 1800 as entrepreneur, after being influenced by Adam Smith’s 1776 book: “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.”
The don, who described entrepreneur as “an individual who has the ability to see and evaluate business opportunities, gather the necessary resources to take advantage of them and initiate appropriate action to ensure success as a risk-taker, however, noted that Islam encourages business, trade and promotes entrepreneurship, but forbids usury.
He added that the principles of entrepreneurship in Islam were anchored on faith or service to God and society, not just personal profit as it in secular contexts, even as the Fulbright scholar stressed that Africans, Nigerians in particular, had been entrepreneurs who traded by barter, with the goods or products they produced and services they rendered, before the invention of money and advent of the colonial masters.
While reiterating that true education lies in the ability to use the head, the heart and the hands to bring about change, Adedimeji, the Associate Professor of Pragmatics and Applied Linguistics decried a system that emphasises just the stuffing of facts in the learners’ heads without adequately developing their hearts or attitudes or character and ignoring their hands or productive ability.