By Benjamin Omoike
Mitchel Elegbe, the Group Managing Director/Founder of Interswitch has said that one way to fight corruption is to have the mindset of equity
Noting that corruption and poverty are like Siamese twins, he advised that both be tackled simultaneously.
Elegbe made this remark at the second edition of the InterswitchSPAK Masterclass which held in Lagos recently.
Speaking on the topic: ‘Can I trust you?’ Elegbe explained the relationship between equality and equity, noting that we do not all have equal strengths, opportunities and privileges. However, with a sense of equity, the more privileged ones could share with the less privileged.
He said: “While it is wrong for the less privileged to demand equity as a right – as that is extortion – it is important that the privileged have a mindset of equity, that allows them to share from their abundance. It is with this mindset of equity that prosperous communities are built and the fight against corruption is won.”
He added that to become successful in life, one has to be trustworthy. He explained that being trusted goes hand-in-hand with trustworthiness, stressing that trustworthiness was a culmination of ability, integrity and benevolence.
The Masterclass programme is part of the InterswitchSPAK Switch-a-Future- project, a CSR initiative of the company focused on driving increased interest in the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, STEM, subjects among Senior Secondary School students across Africa.
Participants at the Masterclass were made up of the top 81 students out of the over 13,322 students from various private and public secondary schools across the 36 states of the Federation, including the FCT, who wrote the National Qualifying Examinations in April.
Other speakers at the Masterclass, were Dr. Ola Orekunrin-Brown, MD / Founder, Flying Doctors Nigeria, who spoke on the topic: ‘Entrepreneurship – Creating Sustainable Impact by Solving Social Problems’. Dr. Brown shared the story of how she started ‘Flying Doctors’ and the challenges she surmounted. She reiterated the need for basic financial literacy for budding entrepreneurs.
Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Industry, Trade, and Investment, who was represented by Ayokunnu Ojeniyi, Project Manager, Enabling Business Environment Secretariat, Office of the Vice-President, spoke on the topic: ‘Collaborative Approach to Social Innovation’ and why it was important to think creatively and critically in addressing social problems.
In her welcome address, Enyioma Anaba, Group Head, Corporate Segment, Corporate Marketing, at Interswitch, said the Masterclass was an integral part of the InterswitchSPAK project, because the sessions were designed to inspire young people to contribute to solving Africa’s many problems.
She said: “We brought together these 81 brilliant young minds to draw from the experiences and insights of accomplished thought leaders, thinkers and professionals, who are leading lights in their respective spheres of influence and who are practical advocates of innovation, as a platform for social and economic development. We hope that the interactions during the sessions will provide them with the right mental and emotional foundations upon which to build their character for the long haul.”
The Masterclass was a full-day of knowledge sharing and engagement session, having inspiring and successful men and women in society sharing their experiences across school, work and family life. The participants included the 81 finalists aged between 14 and 17 years, students from Slum2School Innovation lab, staff of Interswitch and the media.
Cherry Eromosele, Group Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Interswitch, disclosed that as a progressive organisation, Interswitch has the interest of the young African talents at heart.
She said: “For Africa’s youth to succeed in today’s knowledge-based economy, they need to acquire the right skill sets; their minds need to be re-engineered and reconciled with STEM education as well as introduced to other softer skills which are not readily taught in the classrooms. At Interswitch, we are creating a platform that allows them to not only compete within a job market that is globalised, but to become catalysts for the creation of job markets in themselves.”
In furtherance of the commitment to the pan-African spread of the initiative, the InterswitchSPAK Switch-a-Future project was launched in Kenya, and the inaugural Masterclass for the finalists held in Nairobi on August 2, 2019.