The nine groups with over 60 million strong memberships cut across Nigeria, Africa and in diaspora came through their representatives to recognise and honour the CEO with various awards at New Horizons Head office in Lagos.
Among the groups are the National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS), Northern Nigeria Students (ANNS), Nigeria Youth Representative Council (NYRC), Coalition of Nigerian Young Patriots (CNYP), Nigerian Youths Initiative for Peace and Good Governance (NYIPGG), Students Coalition Rebirth of Nigeria (SCRN), Inter-Faith Youth Council of Nigeria (IFYCN), National Association of Mathematical Science Students of Nigeria(NAMSSN) and League of African Development Students (LEAD Africa).
Recently, the federal government of Nigeria named Akano as Nigeria’s Icon of Youth Empowerment through the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Skills Acquisitions and Empowerment Department (SAED).
Similarly, over 120 national, continental and international organisations including the Students Union Council (Nigeria Universities Students), Northern Youth Council, Oodua Youths Parliament, Trans Africa Youth Initiatives (TAYI) and Nigeria Committee of Vice-Chancellors have conferred different honours in appreciation of his contributions to mankind.
Speaking for the Association of Northern Nigeria Students (ANNS), Ambassador Nafiu Danlami,the national secretary, said, “We want to appreciate you for what you have been doing for Nigerian and African youths. You have given us a better platform to showcase Africa to the world through what we produce on the continent and also earn money from it. With this, I am challenging everyone that we can make Nigeria a force to be reckoned with again because you are a man of substance and we encourage you to leave your comfort zone and seek political office to liberate the youth from the shackles of poverty”
Also speaking, Sunday Asuku, the president of the National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS), said Akano has proven that he has the interest of the youth at heart even when the leaders of the country are not looking at the youth. “I want to tell you that you have rekindled our hope with all you are doing for us and we are glad. So, on behalf of 20 million Nigerian students home and abroad, we honour you with the most prestigious NAPS award, The 2022 Beacon of Hope award, which is given yearly to just one most outstanding Nigerian,” he said.
Daniel Friday, Vice President, Inter-Faith Youth Council of Nigeria (IFYCN), on his part, said: “We are here to honour Tim Akano with the Ambassador of Peace Award because we see him as a leader with an innovative mind and the impact he has made in the lives of youths that once took to violence but now living in peace with others. We appreciate him for that.”
Receiving the awards from the groups, an elated Tim Akano said he appreciated the thoughts and the thinking that went into it and assured them that it would challenge him to do more.
He said many people have seen the work his company has been doing to transform the lives of youth and this prompted them to give him the awards.
Akano, however, said he was not doing it because of the recognition but narrated a story of how he met a Nigerian graduate refugee graduate seeking employment many years ago in Switzerland which challenged him to stand in the gap for millions of Nigerian youths who need help and mentorship to identify their talents and guide them to success.
“Over the last two years, I have been receiving dozens of awards from all over the world, and they [these groups] validate the decision I made 18 years ago to leave my job at Coca-Cola and dedicate my life to youth empowerment. I do not do it for the recognition, but it feels good to know that we are truly making an impact in the lives of these young people”
“This forms the imperative of the establishment of One Africa Initiatives Academy where we Mentor African youths from over 50 countries worldwide. The soon-to-be-unveiled FABAAW is the platform set up to bring prosperity to Africa, especially to the youth. With FABAAW, African youths can network, showcase their talents and do genuine businesses with the global community on mutually beneficial terms, better terms than what is obtainable today on e-commerce and social media platforms”
The New Horizons Nigeria CEO believes that poverty and unemployment are Africa’s twin problems. “Our problems in Africa are the same. Go to Uganda, South Africa, or Nigeria it is the same. Africa has the largest unemployment rate in the world”
Tim Akano said across the globe, African people are known for going to school, graduating and earning certificates. “If you want to be successful in life today, the youth need 4th Industrial skills in Data Science, Cloud Architect, Big Data, and Artificial Intelligence, among others.
“For instance, India’s raw materials are its population and it decided to develop along software line. China toed the line of manufacturing, Israeli owns military security, and Germans are known for their machinery. So for us in Africa, what we can bring to the table that would make our youth prosperous are 4.0 skills.”
He said there is a solution to every problem and the solution to this present generation’s problem is knowing how to use technology to solve the poverty problem, using the newly created FABAAW platform due to be launched in July.
“I have committed the rest of my life to concentrate on the transformation of Africa by raising and grooming the Youths that will take Africa to the promised land before 2063,” concluded Akano.