An online newspaper, Yerwa Express News, has recognised Tony Elumelu, founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, for creating business opportunities and encouraging entrepreneurship for the youths in the Northeast.
Mr Elumelu, a Nigerian economist, entrepreneur and philanthropist, is also the chairman of Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa and Transcorp.
In a statement by the newspaper’s head of administration, Muhammad Chul, the annual ‘North East Heroes Award’ is designed to recognise people who have exceptionally impacted on the lives of the people of the North East.
Mr Chul said: “This year’s award, titled North East Entrepreneurship Leadership Award, was unanimously resolved by our management and editorial board, after three months of intense deliberations, to go to Mr Elumelu.”
According to him, the choice of Mr Elumelu was premised on his role in promoting entrepreneurship in the region through grants and provision of non-refundable seed capital to youths.
“In March 2018, besides his commitment to supporting 1,000 entrepreneurs across Africa, annually, for ten years, his foundation, in collaboration with International Committee of the Red Cross, ICRC, supported additional 200 in specifically the North East and Niger Delta,” Mr Chul added.
The head administration explained further that Mr Elumelu’s model is the best way to bring out the region from the ruins of the Boko Haram war which has caused untold losses to the people
Mr Chul believed that the ruins of Boko Haram could not be easily reversed without active participation of the private sector.
“Government cannot provide jobs for everyone, neither can it end poverty. We need young people to start confronting these problems by, for instance, building schools, that, in the long run, will provide quality education, create job opportunities and ultimately reduce poverty,” he said.
He described Mr Elumelu’s model as ‘Africapitalism’, which simply holds that African businesses must solve African problems.
He emphasized that “Africans must begin to see African problems as theirs to solve.
“Elumelu has continued to advocate that African businesses should be anchored towards job creation, social development and prosperity for the people of the continent.
“It is our belief that the people of the North East need to be encouraged to create ‘business solutions’ to deal with their problems.”
Mr Chul disclosed that as part of the anniversary and award ceremony, there would be a public lecture titled Entrepreneurship, Media and Peace in the North East.
“We hope the lecture will open a conversation front on the subject of entrepreneurship in the region and among stakeholders.
“It is also going to be the official launch of our campaign, moving forward, for the promotion of entrepreneurship among young men and women in the region.
“We will unveil, at the event, #YouCan, a monthly program aimed at promoting entrepreneurship through multimedia productions,” he revealed.
DAILY NIGERIAN reports that Mr Elumelu is expected to be conferred with the award during the anniversary in Abuja in November.