• Saturday, June 22, 2024
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Educationists see Jim Ovia’s chairmanship as game-changer

Educationists see Jim Ovia’s chairmanship as game-changer

Educationists and stakeholders are optimistic that the appointment of Jim Ovia as chairman of the Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFund) will be a game-changer.

Ovia, a renowned businessman and banker is bringing in his vast financial experience in disbursing and managing the fund, with stakeholders saying he would bring transparency and credibility to the scheme.

Ajibade Ayodeji, director, Babcock Entrepreneurship Development Centre (BEDC), commended President Tinubu on the appointment of Jim Ovia.

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According to Ayodeji, the appointment shows that the president wants the NELFund to succeed.

“Jim Ovia has a proven, visible pedigree and track record for success, especially in financial management. It’s someone like this we need to pilot the affairs of a fantastic initiative such as the NELFund. With him as the chair, we can expect a judicious management of the fund,” he added.

Stanley Alaubi, a senior lecturer at the University of Port Harcourt, stressed that Ovia being a top businessman knows what it means to take a loan.

“I think it’s a square peg in a square hole. I think he will do well considering his antecedents regarding entrepreneurship and he must have sometimes taken a loan to facilitate his business,” he said.

Stanley Boroh, a lecturer at the Federal University, Otuoke, Bayelsa State, said Ovia has years of experience in financial management which will certainly help in the proper administration of the fund.

“I want to commend President Tinubu for appointing Jim Ovia who has so much wealth and experience in the banking sector. For me, it’s a good one and I’m sure his years of experience will come into play in proper management of the board,” he remarked.

Similarly, Friday Erhabor, the director of media and strategies at Marklenez Limited, described the appointment of Ovia as the chairman of NEFund as a welcome development.

“His wealth of experience as the founder of Zenith Bank would be brought to bear. His charisma will also invoke the needed confidence and goodwill from the various stakeholders,” he said.

However, Nubi Achebo, the director of academic planning at the Nigerian University of Technology and Management (NUTM), believes Ovia was appointed because of financial knowledge but doubts if he will have the time for the assignment before him.

“He was probably appointed because of his financial knowledge but would he have the time and energy for the role?” he asked.

Ajuri Ngelale, spokesperson to the president on media and publicity announced the appointment of Ovia as the chairman of NELFund, on Friday, April 26, 2024.

‘‘The president believes Ovia will bring his immense wealth of experience and professional stature to this role to advance the all-important vision of ensuring that no Nigerian student suffers a capricious end to their pursuit of higher education over a lack of funds and of ensuring that Nigerian youths, irrespective of who they are, have access to higher education and skills that will make them productive members of society and core contributors to the knowledge-based global economy of this century,’’ he said.

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Who is Jim Ovia?

Jim James Ovia is a Nigerian businessman, from Agbor in Delta State. He is the founder and chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, one of Africa’s largest banks with over $24 billion in assets and shareholders’ funds of over $3 billion as of June 2022.

The bank is a global brand listed on the London Stock Exchange and the Nigerian Stock Exchange. In addition to major operations in Nigeria and other West African countries, the bank has sizeable operations in London and Dubai.

The serial entrepreneur cum author published what he called an “Entrepreneurial Manual”, Africa Rise and Shine in 2018.

He is a graduate of the University of Louisiana Monroe (1979), Southern University and A&M College (1977), and Harvard Business School.