Herbert Wigwe joins elite class of Nigeria’s private university owners

by MMC
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Herbert Wigwe, co-founder of Access Bank – the country’s largest bank by assets – is building a $500 million eponymous university in his hometown in Nigeria’s oil-rich Rivers State. Wigwe said Bloomberg this week, Wigwe University will offer undergraduate courses in management, science and engineering, information technology and creative arts.

Wigwe is taking a cue from wealthy Nigerians like Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president, by venturing into higher education. The university degree was approved by the University Commission of Nigeria in June, bringing the total number of universities in Nigeria to 238, of which 79 are public and 147 private.

With 1,400 students expected next year, Wigwe is betting that by leveraging technology, the institution will offer the same quality of education as universities in the United States and the United Kingdom, where it plans to recruit 30 % of teaching staff. Wigwe told BusinessDay that the university has built a power plant to provide electricity to the university and will use holograms and artificial intelligence to ensure a hybrid system for students. But like other private universities, it is expensive for one of the world’s poorest countries. Wigwe University’s annual tuition fees are estimated at around $12,500 plus 3.5 million naira ($4,171), according to Bloomberg.

uLesson, Nigeria’s largest and most capitalized edtech startup, founded by Sim Shagaya, recently enrolled students at its online university. Miva Open University. The argument regarding the scalability of education in Nigeria, given the country’s infrastructural challenges, is a valid one.

Wigwe, who has decades of experience in banking, also hopes to train the “next group of banking leaders” and will recruit some of the country’s most notable business tycoons, including Africa’s richest man , Aliko Dangote, to teach at the university.

Wigwe University will be led by Professor Miles Davis, former president of a private university in the United States, as vice-chancellor, and Professor Nelson Uzoechi-Uzoma Alino, former professor of accounting at Quinnipiac University, as deputy vice-chancellor. of Administration, and Professor Dal Didia, former professor of economics at Jackson State University, as associate vice chancellor for academics.

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