Serial digital entrepreneur and Chairman, Zinox Group, Leo Stan Ekeh has called on Nigerians to believe in the future of the country, noting that the world is currently in a knowledge century in which there are no barriers to wealth acquisition or achieving greatness.
He made this call at an economic summit organized by the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Christ Church Parish on Saturday January 12th 2019.
With the theme – Economic Outlook and Prospects in Election Year, the summit saw Ekeh share his thoughts on Nigeria’s economy and the future of the digital industry, culminating in a standing ovation at the end of his speech.
“You must anticipate the future. It is not static, otherwise you don’t have a reason to grow. The 21st Century is a knowledge century. It is one in which you have a right to be rich, even as an employee. If they under-pay you, you have a chance to get a better job,” Ekeh declared.
“If you are an entrepreneur, then you have a right to make mega-wealth. A lot of you are intimidated when you look at the profile of people like the Aliko Dangotes and Mike Adenugas. But you forget that when a man is successful, you only hear the good side of their emergence. If you look back critically, you will see that their rise to the top was not an easy one. When you are psychologically defeated, you have lost the war.
“In life, you must take a conscious decision on who you want to be. And if you are a human being and a citizen, you must add value to your environment, community or country.
“In the 21st Century, you decide who you want to be. The biggest problem with Africa is that our parents want us to make money the same way they did. It means we are all blind.
“If your father was a taxi driver, you cannot be the most popular taxi driver. Today, we have Uber and other ride-hailing apps. But if you created an Uber, then you become the largest owner of commercial vehicles in the world.”
Ekeh who recently oversaw the acquisition of e-commerce giants, Konga from previous owners Naspers and AB Kinnevik followed by a combination of its operations with that of Yudala, declared his chosen field of technology as a leveler and the only profession in the world that can bridge the gap between the rich and the poor individuals and countries of the world.
“Technology is the only way the son of a poor man can become rich in the 21st Century and that is the only way the son of a rich man can consolidate the wealth of the family. You are a stupid, poor man if you cannot challenge the status quo. It was through technology that I transformed the media and multimedia industry and computerized them for the first time.
“Same way we helped create a reliable database of voters for Nigeria through the impressive work Zinox has done with INEC and which we have replicated in other African countries such as Guinea-Bissau. Today, we are currently looking to transit the country to e-Voting which will further go a long way in reducing post-election litigations,” he enthused.
Urging the members of the audience to retain their hopes in a brighter future for Nigeria, Ekeh encouraged the attendees to rise to the challenge and make a positive difference in their circumstances.
“Nigeria is a country with huge potential. There is a future here and no one has a right to stop you: government, individuals or even your father. You must build yourself as a collateral in order to succeed in life. The only way to build that collateral is to be a man or woman of integrity.
“In business, you must acquire a big dose of spirituality and always make provisions for your place of birth, in this case, where you do business. Many entrepreneurs transplant foreign technology or strategies here without considering our existential circumstances or the needs of the country.
“The challenges of your family or country are things that activate innovation and solutions. If you don’t disrupt, you die. In business, you must trade to lead or you get out of that platform. It is not child’s play. What made you rich will not make your child wealthy, unless they add digital style to it, which is technology. When I say we are in a knowledge century, it means no one can stop you from achieving success.
“The failure rate of startups in this country is about 75% and this is a shame to the quality of brains we have in Nigeria. The problem with most of the young people in tech – and this is one of the reasons most tech start-ups fail – is that they do more talking than content and they want to live large. You must incubate and grow. There are so many opportunities to generate creative wealth in the world today.
“Knowledge is open so you need to constantly read and learn but you must embrace humility and be ready to incubate for a period and be spiritually strong. Above all though, you must be close to God. Any successful man or a quality entrepreneur that is not close to God is not really successful.”
Among the many opportunities Ekeh referenced were digital security, digital lifestyle and growing dynamism in the e-commerce sector. He also disclosed his determination to invest in incubation centres to develop youthful talents through mentoring who will transform the fortunes of the nation.
Other speakers at the summit were Dr. Biodun Adedipe, Chief Consultant, BAA Consult; Mr. Abiola Ogunrinde, CEO, Tronica Natural Ltd and Dr. Mrs. Jumoke Oduwole, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Industry, Trade and Investment.