Okonkwo Decries Decline of Igbo Apprenticeship Model

…Interfaces with Unizik Students

A foremost business executive and CEO of United Nigeria Airlines, Dr Obiora Okonkwo, has bemoaned the decline of the Igbo Apprenticeship Model, otherwise called Igba Boyi among the Igbo, reports Jude Atupulazi.

Okonkwo, governorship candidate on the platform of the Zenith Labour Party, ZLP, expressed this concern, Wednesday, at the auditorium of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Unizik Chapter, at the unveiling of a research work on Igbo apprenticeship he sponsored.

Okonkwo frowned on the situation where apprentices stole from their masters with the support of their parents and said this was part of the reasons why the fabled Igbo apprenticeship model, which, he noted, worked very well in the past, was declining. He however expressed delight that the result of the research had solutions to that.

He thanked the researchers for once more bringing to the fore the concept of good behaviour and character embedded in Igbo apprenticeship through their research; while expressing the hope that the findings of the research, if well used, would change the narrative of Igbo apprenticeship within one year.

He said the reconstruction of ethical infrastructure was chief on his ten point agenda.

The event was tagged, ”Presentation of research on reinvigorating behaviour through enhanced apprenticeship scheme in Onitsha Markets”.

In his remarks, the Director of Unizik Business School, Prof Emma Okoye, while thanking the benefactor, urged people to make use of the lecturers in the university in carrying out research to reinvigorate their business.

He said it was first time such research was done and described Igbo apprenticeship as something that would benefit the country, even as it had triggered interest in the topic worldwide. He commended the research team for their astuteness in the research which focused on Onitsha markets.

He said the Unizik Business School had capacity to delve into more areas of research and urged the people to make use of their services as researchers.

Prof Au Nonyelu, lead investigator, in the research work, said the journey started about two, three years ago when they invited Okonkwo to star at their programme and he committed N15m to the research project, which, Nonyelu said, took 18 months to be completed.

He harped on the need to remove what he said had become a derogatory term (Igba Boyi) and replace it with a more appealing name, Nkwadobe Ogalanya. He said this could reignite interest among the youths in going for apprenticeship.

In his address, the Vice Chancellor, Prof Esimone, represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic, Prof Frederick Odibo, stated the university’s desire to rank among the world’s best, noting that the Igbo constituted a large chunk of entrepreneurship in the country.

He commended Okonkwo’s Pro-Value Humanity Foundation for accepting to sponsor the research and described Okonkwo’s action as huge; even as he expressed the hoped that the outcome of the research would be fully utilized and find application in Igbo business community.

Earlier at an interactive session with students of the university at the university auditorium, Okonkwo charged students to make the right choice of leaders to ensure a better future for themselves.