Peace Mass Transit Boss, Sam Onyishi Set to Extend Midas Touch to University Teaching


Chef Samuel Maduka Onyishi, President and Founder of Peace Transit (PMT) is set to extend its Midas touch in the road transport sector to the education sector, through its Sam Maduka University, which is expected to start up in a few months.

Chef Onyishi, known for his Midas touch in the trucking industry with the establishment of his transport company, PMT in 1995 changed the face of the industry for good.

Through his company Peace Mass Transit (PMT), he dared to introduce the mini-bus as a means of mass passenger transport amid the hitherto ubiquitous and fashionable luxury buses that were prone to frequent breakdowns in transit and inflicted suffering on passengers. It also introduced the novelty of equipping its mini-buses with speed limiters.

These and other innovations have improved the comfort and safety of road travelers, thus making the mini-bus the preferred mode of road transport for Nigerians. Like Midas, Chief Onyishi’s touch has turned the trucking business into gold for him and other operators. Today, the passenger road transport landscape in Nigeria is dominated by mass transit companies using minibuses. A similar Midas touch is about to be replicated at his Sam Maduka University, Ekwegbe, Enugu State.

With over 200 universities in Nigeria, an unemployment rate of around 33.3%, a rapidly growing population and difficulties faced by students in gaining admission into public universities, Chief Onyishi believes there are room for more private universities like its Sam Maduka University. But its purpose is not simply to add to the numbers.

The new university was designed to address the failings of existing institutions, especially in the area of ​​addressing unemployment issues in the country.

Chief Onyishi revealed that he does not see the University as just another business. On the contrary, he conceived it “as a social service which should improve the lives of people of all races, mold for unlimited achievement, children of all peoples of the world, regardless of creed or class.”

Its vision is “to have a citadel of learning in all its ramifications, founded on the best principles and managed according to the best ethical practices”, stating that the institution is determined to build structures that would stand the test of time.

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Sam Maduka University, according to Chief Onyishi, will turn its graduates into employers of labor rather than job seekers, regardless of the course of study.

He explained: “People should be able to go to school and get out. If you get a job somewhere, that’s fine, but even if you don’t get a job, you should be able to employ yourself.

“I lay the foundations for autonomy because my university is an entrepreneurial university. The plan is that any graduate of our university should be able to run their own business regardless of what course the graduate is taking,” he said.

The PMT boss added: ‘So if you read history at our university, you should read history and leave school and be able to employ yourself. If you are studying health sciences or law, you should be able to read all of these courses and be able to employ yourself.

Speaking about his strategies, Mr. Onyishi said that the academic program of the university will be structured to include courses in entrepreneurship and vocational training which will be compulsory for all students of the university, regardless of the program of study. studies.

“We’re going to teach you all of these courses so that by the time you get out of college you’re a lawyer who can employ you. You should be an attorney for wealth building or self-employment or self-reliance history.

“The long-term goal is human capital development – ​​providing a platform for people to gain knowledge – and then take care of themselves,” Chief Onyishi explained.

Located along Nsukka Road, Ekwegbe, Igbo-Etiti Local Government Area of ​​Enugu State, the university is expected to commence academic activities in December this year.

Already, massive infrastructure construction on the more than 300 hectares acquired by the university, with other land still being acquired, is underway. “I hope to hire experienced teachers and I have enough infrastructure to take off,” he said.

Sam Maduka University boasts of having regular gas electricity in the school, administration office, student hostels, faculty accommodation, ICT center, law school, while the he secondary school has what it takes to run a model private secondary school with a focus on quality and affordable education.

The National Universities Commission (NUC) visited the university complex on August 16 this year to assess its readiness for the start of academic activities. This was the final inspection visit to the university to determine the suitability of the site as a campus. NUC representatives, in their remarks, said they were impressed with the campus and acknowledged that it would undoubtedly be a conducive environment not only for incoming students, but also for academic and non-academic staff.

A lecturer at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, who identified himself as Dr Okoli, said: “Maduka University is the destination. The building speaks of an emerging world-class university; again, anything Onyishi gets his hands on has to be serious business. I will definitely try to work there.

“A lot of people come here and we refer them to the administrator. They come looking for jobs; some have identified themselves as professors,” a university guard reportedly said.

The Governor of Enugu State, Mr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who laid the foundation stone for the university in 2020, said he was delighted with the driving spirit of Chief Onyishi in envisioning a university with entrepreneurial content, the describing it as another milestone achievement.

Born in Nsukka, Enugu State, Chief Onyishi, now 59, had a particularly destitute childhood. Having lost his father at a tender age, the responsibility for his upbringing fell to his mother, a housewife who barely managed to earn a living. At different times, little Samuel had to do odd jobs like being a bus driver, laborer, truck pusher, and second-hand clothes salesman (okirika) during his primary and secondary education and after.

Although very bright, he was only able to continue his studies at the university level 13 years after finishing high school. The money he earned during this time as a spare parts businessman in Kano enabled him to continue his education at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) from where he graduated with a degree in social work and community development.

In 1995, while still a student at UNN, Onyishi used part of his savings from an auto parts business to buy two buses. While he personally drove the first bus, he hired a driver to take care of the second.

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“When I came back to Nsukka at school, I found that as a student I had plenty of time to do other things; there was so much time. I couldn’t just go to a class and come home and do nothing. So I had to use my savings to buy these buses and keep busy. I go to the conference, after the conference I drive my bus. Sometimes we had lectures in the evening, sometimes in the morning, but I had enough time to drive my bus.

“With the money I earned and what my store in Kano earned, I bought more buses and added to the business. I finally quit driving in 1998 when I had 15 buses; it was in my third year. I graduated in 1999 and focused entirely on my transport business. By the time I was leaving university, I had 45 buses,” he recalls.

From that humble beginning, Chief Onyishi’s fortunes have grown to a level he could not have imagined. Today, PMT has over 3,000 buses and its business has grown into what is known as the Peace Group of Companies, comprising Peace Quick Response Insurance Brokers; Peace Petroleum Limited; Peace Microfinance Bank; Peace Express Service Limited; Peace Capital Market Limited (brokers); investment brokers and advisers; Maduka Commercial and Futon International Limited, the sole importers of Peace Hiace brand vehicles; peace exchange office; Peace Aviation Services and PMT Beijing Trade Limited, China.

“It’s a divine project and that’s why we use the buses for evangelism.”

Sam Maduka University is perhaps just another extension of this divine project.

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