We can build the Nigeria we want if Nigerians are empowered —Pastor Adegboyega

Senior Pastor of Salvation Proclaimers Anointed Church, popularly known as SPAC Nation, London, Pastor Tobi Adegboyega, in this interview with SEGUN KASALI, speaks on the importance of youth empowerment and how it could influence the nation.


Aside your ministerial mission, you have also taken so much passion in empowering the youth through various grants and opportunities. What brought about this passion?

I have always picked interest in the youths because they are innovative and as well, they are the leaders of tomorrow. The grant I am offering to Nigerian youths is to empower young people who are already doing something in the business line, but who don’t have what it takes financially to expand their business; so we decided to offer them financial assistance and mentorship to expand. This will get many people out of poverty because it will provide employment. We are looking at helping to give N1 million each to 1000 people this year that will help get more than 10,000 people out of poverty by providing employment for them.


It seems you still have faith in Nigeria despite the bleakness. How are you able to hold on to hope?

I cannot lose faith in Nigeria because I came out of there. 2005 was the first time I left Nigeria, and I’m thinking there are thousands if not millions like myself who just don’t have the opportunity, so it’s not Nigeria as a nation-state, it is Nigerians. So, even if we lose hope in the idea and concept called Nigeria, but as a people – Nigerians – I can’t lose hope in them. I believe we can build the Nigeria we want from the Nigeria that is hopeless right now, if Nigerians are empowered.


What birthed this desire to empower Nigerian youths?

We have been doing this for close to 15 years by the way, but I think that looking at many pitches, the potential, the fact that there are many unexplored things in Nigeria and being able to find young people who are doing these things, especially in the area of farming, livestock, and businesses that have quick turnover – looking at them, and what they can do, inspired me to put the family together to help them financially.


How do you plan to handle accountability through this initiative?

Nobody will dampen the grant for future beneficiaries. We are used to this; it is sour terrain, remember that what I have done in Europe was to take people that the community have abandoned and turn them into multi-millionaires. So, I have learnt that out of 100, 10 of them will get to make it and those 10 compensate for the 90 that didn’t follow through. So, we won’t be discouraged; we already understand what it means to deal with humans. We already know that many people won’t follow through. We’ve already started seeing that, and like I said, fifteen years in this, we know to how to manage this space.


Can you shed more light on the mode of the empowerment fund?

The aim of the programme is to have 1,000 millionaires this year. So we are targeting 1,000 youths and that is about a billion naira; so we do it as frequently as possible. We have done this online for 10 to 15 times, and without being online, people are still sending pitches and we have an office that is dedicated to making sure that pitches are seen. There are also many people we approve that are not even online. We offer them mentorship with big companies – the top five companies in Europe and the world. So it’s what we do daily – an online programme, once a month or once every other week.

On how we select the youth; there is no criteria, they just send us pitches. We look out for people who are registered with the CAC who have made money already, however little. Do you have a structure, no matter how imperfect that structure is? Once you’ve told us the idea and the effort you have made, our job is to come in and support you to expand and scale up.

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