The Lebanese Nigerian Initiative (LNI), a non-profit organisation established by business leaders of the Lebanese community in Nigeria has awarded a fully funded MBA scholarship at the very iconic American University of Beirut (AUB), Lebanon to Mr. Bosun Adebola, a young IT specialist. Mr. Adebola becomes the third Nigerian to benefit from the $1.5m LNI-AUB endowment fund which will ensure that a Nigerian is sponsored every year to AUB for the MBA programme as long as the university and the earth remains.
The two previous winners who have graduated and are making an impact in Nigeria’s political economy are Ajibola Olubando and Johnson Nwazuruahu.
Speaking at the scholarship award presentation at the Lebanese Consulate in Lagos, Mr. Ali Safieddine, Vice-chairman of LNI, said the MBA Scholarship at AUB is a way of saying ‘thank you” to the Nigerian community for the cordial relationship of over 120 years since the first generation of Lebanese settled in Nigeria.
“We chose education because that is the core of development. A pool of well educated people especially in a developing country will be able to chart policy directions that will positively impact the lives of the majority and create a healthy economy that will ensure people live better life”, Mr. Safieddine said.
He explained that AUB as a top university that has produced so many political and business leaders in the Middle East and beyond, will help drill and mold these young Nigerians to take up very responsible leadership positions in Nigeria in the near future.
A major criterion- aside academic brilliance and good character- is that the LNI-AUB MBA scholar must return to Nigeria upon graduation to make positive change in any sector of the economy.
Safiedddine said LNI-AUB partnership ensures that any Nigerian who has been offered a place for an MBA programme at AUB can initiate the scholarship application process from the university or through the LNI secretariat in Lagos.
The candidates are then taken through screening and rigorous interviews before the scholarship is awarded to the deserving candidate for the session.
Mr. Elias Nicolas, Consul General of Lebanon in Nigeria said the LNI-AUB scholar will have a lot to learn from a highly diversified country such as Lebanon, noting that it is a country at the crossroads of three continents and many civilizations.
Mr. Nicolas said the LNI scholarship will strengthen the good relationship between the peoples and governments of Nigeria and Lebanon who share lots of cultural, political and economic similarities.
“We expect the LNI scholars to be ambassadors of Nigeria in Lebanon during the period of study and ambassadors of Lebanon in Nigeria when they return because they would have integrated and learnt so much about our country to be able to share with the rest of the Nigeria”, said Mr. Nicolas.
Mr. Adebola the LNI-AUB MBA Scholar said he chose the American University of Beirut for the MBA programme because it is a top university with a track record for producing leaders in business and politics. As an IT specialist Adebola said he left PwC after six years to work with some start- ups and hope to use the training at AUB To drive growth for the start-ups , create jobs and wealth for young Nigerians and add significantly to the GDP.