By Our Correspondent.
38-year old Pastor Tobi Adegboyega of London based SPAC Nation has announced his plan to bail out Nigerian youths from the scourge of poverty, unemployment and their attendant effects which included insecurity among others.
The young Pastor left the shores of Nigeria to study Law 14 years ago.
As fate would have it however, he went into Ministry. With his dedicated team ingrained with the fear of God and passion for rescuing millions of youths from various plights, the SPAC Nation Head resolved like the Apostles of the old, to positively impact and impart youths globally. He is now specifically focused on Nigeria where millions of youths are wallowing in penury.
Here are excerpts from a chat with Pastor Tobi Adegboyega.
Q- Precisely what is the focus of your Ministry since your emphasis is apparently on the youths over there and of recent your patriotic concern for Nigerian youths?
Pastor Tobi: Thank you. I have three main focuses when it comes to Nigerian youths who are not living up to expectations. Our emphasis lay squarely on addressing their problems centred on job creation, security and providing educational opportunities for them.
Q- Would you explain how you and your team have set out to achieve these lofty feats without any hitch?
Pastor Tobi: Over the years in the United Kingdom, we have created 100s of jobs by raising funds for young people who have ideas but lack the capital. We have
been able to connect those who have funds with those who need it to start a business and the result of this has been more than 40 businesses created. In a system as regulated as the UK, that is a near impossibility.
We created a business hub for many young people to learn and be mentored before any investment is put in to them.
Q. How will this beautiful idea work in Nigeria with her complexity and people of diverse backgrounds?
Pastor Tobi: Let us start with job creation. We are already identifying many unexplored or under explored industries in Nigeria. An example is the waste industry. Apart from the environmental benefit of having a strong waste management program, we estimate that we can create thousands of jobs within 24 months in Lagos alone by investing some money in to waste. Nigeria generates over 62 million tons of waste out of which Lagos accounts for 5.4 million tons. We are already buying into one of the most advanced waste companies in the world so that we can replicate this in Nigeria. This will provide employment. We also intend to generate power from waste. Plastic waste which is has become a global menace and source of environmental damage will also be addressed.
Q. Pastor, you would realise that no matter how brilliant an idea may be, it wiill slowly fritter away and turn to dust without funds. How would you get fund to execute this?
Pastor Tobi: Many high net worth individuals and companies have in the past wanted to invest in Nigeria. Unfortunately, some get their hands burnt. Despite this, some still feel the need to invest in things that will impact the community more than what will just make money for them alone. Put it this way, they are genuinely interested in Nigeria’s future.
Q. Who are these individuals you are referring to?
Pastor Tobi: These people are mostly Bank CEOs, Directors, entrepreneurs and other professionals. They have all agreed to help some of them on videos already put on social media.
Q. What then are your plans on this project?
Pastor Tobi: We have chosen different mentors and investors for different states in Nigeria meaning all the 36 states will have certain amounts of money to help certain number of young people. 36 mentors and investors in all, with more than $20 million. This will be divided into projects as we deem fit for each state.So our strength has been the ability to bring those who have and those who need together and create something, and now we have over $20m in pledges apart from what we have already started to help with.
Q.This my question may appear as repetitive. However, it is for the sake of emphasis. Records show that you have carried out a similar programme in the United Kingdom. How would you replicate what you have done in the UK for our own youths?
Pst.Tobi: As earlier stated, we have three plans for Nigerian youths and we are on course for some of them. The first one is job creation. There’s no denying the fact that a man with good employment would not engage in crime and criminality. I have seen how employment reduces crime to the barest minimum. I have told you that I have many friends who are Managing Directors of first class companies and global companies who have signed to come to Nigeria with me with resources, mentorship and other logistics. We want to support innovations. Young people with brilliant ideas to bring innovations to their local areas and improve the lots of their people will be empowered.Next is vocational training between Nigeria and London. We form partnership with London schools to award scholarships for vocational schools and basic trainings. I feel some people can be trained by taking to Cambridge and Oxford.
Q: How long can the execution of this project take?
Pastor Tobi: By the special grace of God, we want to create about 1000 jobs within 24 months of our coming in. We have done a test run and we know it would work, God helping us.
Question: How do we relate this to reducing crime wave in Nigeria?
Pastor Tobi: We believe that job provision and empowerment of start-ups will go a long way in reducing insecurity in many states. We did that in the UK, we went to areas that are commonly known for youth violence and changed the narrative until crime reduced to almost NIL. The biggest police force in the UK can attest to this. The formula for this result is right mentors with right funding.
Question: What are the opportunities for the youths in this project?
Pastor Tobi: Yes definitely. A lot of resources will be spent on this.We want to take young people with talents or academic intelligence to the right universities, college or training school locally or around the world. We have spent tens of thousands to send young people to schools like Harvard from the UK. These kids would not have had a chance but for initiatives like this. We will dedicate a large part of these funds to train young people through formal or informal