PROFESSOR L.O. OTTIH
The most developed nations on earth are those that create enabling conditions for their citizens to innovate, venture, compete, take over the market system, and create enormous wealth for their citizens. Such countries enjoy the highest rankings in gross domestic production, income per capita, human development index and the competitive index. They also experience low unemployment conditions and perhaps greater national peace and harmony.The above was indeed enough attraction for the Federal Government of Nigeria to issue the directive that all Universities in Nigeria establish centres for entrepreneurship development, to coordinate the offering of a benchmark of courses for all students in Nigerian universities. The strategic objectives of this national policy are: (1) Improving the capacity of youths to develop positive independent and innovative thought process and overall entrepreneurial mindset, and (2), the development of vocational skills as a way of stimulating future graduates towards venture creation.
The Centre for Entrepreneurship Development of the University of Agriculture, Makurdi, is effectively in place, albeit with expectations of permanent physical architecture and facilities. The centre’s structure and operations transcend the mundane practice of entrepreneurship education. It is indeed an Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP). It recognises that mind-set re-engineering is the nucis of entrepreneurship and it is designed to achieve the goals of: (a) Business and Entrepreneurship skills development, (b) Mind-set re-engineering, and(c)vocational skills development.
The 2010/2011 academic year has witnessed a successful implementation of this UAM/EDP model in this university. In the 2011/2012 session and beyond, the centre plans to consolidate its services to its primary constituency, the UAM students, while extending its Entrepreneurship Development Programme to the Makurdi and Benue State community on a continuing education platform via workshops, consultancy and short certificate courses, train UAM retiring staffto re-energise their lives, and set in motion the aspiration of developing a select number of Agro-based business ventures to boast the practical reality of venturing, and finally contributing to the development of Benue State as a leading cluster of Agro-based industries in Nigeria.