The issue of entrepreneurship and youth development are about the key discussions in the front burner of national growth in Nigeria in recent time. McEva Temofe, President and Founder of the African Economic Merit Awards initiative in Nigeria, highlights the intentions of AEMA for the growth of the nation’s economy and other challenging issues bedevilling entrepreneurial development and youth orientation in Nigeria, in this interview with Patrick Aigbokhan. Excerpts:
Could you give us a brief insight into the background of the AEMA initiative?
African Economic Merit Awards is beyond an award, it is a social responsibility service. An initiative to help lives develop. To build sustainable development programmes. To encourage jobs at the grassroots and make the society a place to co-exist peacefully. We would be awarding successful African entrepreneurs and unrecognised NGOs and the recognised. We are also tapping into latent talents at the rural community.
What actually inspired the birth of the initiative?
It was in 2009, in my closet. I heard the word AEMA to help lives and the vision kept falling in place gradually till date. It took time to build the structure but today, AEMA has been birthed to the public and we ain’t stopping from enriching the African soil.
In your own personal capacity before you eventually launched out with AEMA, in what ways have you been able to impact the society: I mean the business sector, youth and political terrain?
Personally, I do my self humanitarian work to help school children develop themselves and believe in their future. I give back to the society materials like books, fixing of houses in the very little way I can, like netting up houses in rural communities to protect them from mosquitoe bites. I have helped lots of youth to believe in themselves by offering them trainings. And in my professional career, I have worked in multi-national organizations and with my contribution, the companies have risen from growth to growth. Politics is like a natural phenomenon that you can never shy away from. It is the society itself. I have done the best I can and will still do the very best I would to give politics a better phase in my own world.
How would you assess and rate the kind of business and political system that we operate in Nigeria, compared to what is obtainable in other parts of the world?
Just like you and your wife do not compare yourself with anyone. Only learn from your mistakes and learn from others, but don’t compare. Nigeria as at today, politically, we have seen the bad, the good and the very ugly. We are progressing and let’s work together to make the society a better place for all. It doesn’t lie only in the hands of politicians. We decide if we stay United and speak in one voice.
You must have gone through a tough process to bring AEMA into limelight, what are the likely challenges that you have faced so far, and how have you been able to weather the storms?
God has been the source of this great outcome. I knew it would come out this way because I held, and still holding on to the voice I heard in my closet in 2009. As a professional, I see no pressure, I only face it and solve it without nagging. Solution is progressive. When I face challenges, all I do is praise in it and everything gets solved easily.
Who are the supporters behind AEMA, and if none, in what ways would you want the government and public sector to be of support to this initiative?
We have supporters for AEMA, ECOWAS and Commonwealth Awards. We are about to start talking to sponsors and world renowned organizations to partner with us to make our vision / mission and theirs to reach the grassroots.
Where do we expect AEMA to be in the next ten years, and what should we expect from the initiative around that time, in terms of socio-economic impact?
More developments. Impartation of lives and discovery of latent talents to realise their potentials. By the, we want to have given Africa a positive face lift to set the pace for other continents. We want to have by then, made African youth independent and sustain themselves for generations benefits.
Now, just tell us in brief, who is McEva Temofe?
Just as you have known, I am the President and Founder of AEMA; CEO of PurpleHundred-a McEva Media company.
I am a principal consultant. A believer of ‘nothing is impossible’. A creator, achiever and a deep thinker.
Who is(are) your mentor(s)?
God and my mother. God because He inspires me as the greatest and greatest creative creator. I sink into His creativity. My mum because she makes me believe in Godly principles and how to tap into the blessings of the blessed generations. She is a strong African woman. Bless her heart.
What word of admonition do you have for the Nigerian youths, especially those who have been caught up in the web of the ‘get rich quick’ syndrome?
You can never get rich quick and sustain it. You might get rich quick and feel it has happened but it might not lead to a generational blessing. When you live for people and impact into their lives positively, people will live for you and your generation will be blessed. Believe in yourself and keep to the principles of “HARD and SMART work pays”. Always pray and thank God for the yesterday’s blessings to get more.