Engr. Akarachi Amadi

Akarachi Foundation Advocates Youth Empowerment, Re-Orientation

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INTERVIEW

– Says-No Political interest for now

Aify Global

Here is an exclusive interview with the President and CEO of Akarachi Foundation, Engr. Akarachi Amadi. 

Engr. Amadi is a Nigerian youth that believes so much in the meaningful empowerment of the average Nigerian youth. 

The young Chemical Engineer an indigene of Eziama in Ikeduru LGA of Imo State who has touched lives through his philanthropic gesture and goodwill using his humanitarian organization, Akarachi Foundation. It was an inspiring moment with him, enjoy the ride. 

Ques. 

Let’s meet you officially Sir? 

Ans. 

My name is Akarachi Etiosa Amadi, and indigene of Eziama in Ikeduru Local government of Imo State. I am an Engineer by profession and a businessman by operation. I am happily married and our marriage is blessed with a son.

Ques. 

Could you let us know how your school and early life was? 

Ans. 

My school and early life was spent in many states in Nigeria, I was born in Warri, Delta State where I had my primary education and coincidentally, I had my secondary school education in Imo State, at Logos International Secondary School (LOGISS) Awomamma where I did my JSS1. After that I went back to Warri to continue my education. In fact let me give you more details at this point, I entered secondary school at the age of 8 years and I spent most of my time with my elders. When I entered LOGISS, the youngest person was 12 years which is 4 years ahead of me, from there I proceeded to Technical High School (DSC) in Warri. In fact there was a strike at that time so my stay in school was not that palatable despite the fact that it is federal school. 

Going forward, I temporarily moved to Stafford House and from there to Strict Gate College, Ogun State where I finished my secondary education. Same year I enrolled for JAMB and was able to pass all my papers. 

To be honest, the least grade I had in my WAEC result was a B, I immediately proceeded to Covenant University Ota where I studied Chemical Engineering. As a person, I have always known what I wanted and I have  always gone for what I wanted among my peers then. During my days, I was the only person that filled Covenant University as first and second choice. Some people were asking, what if I they don’t give me Chemical Engineering, I said that they don’t have a choice. By God’s grace, I am here today, as a graduate of Chemical Engineering. After the completion of my National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme, I ventured into business almost immediately and that is it for my early days in life and schooling.

Ques. 

From your introduction, you did tell us that you are an Engineer by profession and a businessman by practice, could you please emphasize on the kind of business you do? 

Ans. 

I am in Nigeria’s most competitive sector, oil and gas, I thank God that I ventured into Chemical Engineering, most people would have done Petroleum Engineering directly but Chemical Engineering gives one a wider range because petroleum engineering is only a branch in engineering. So with that, I was able to get in-depth knowledge. I will tell you one, for instance, my project was on the technical and economic feasibility of using natural gas to compress gas as domestic cooking gas. That project I did with my Professor and to assure you, my Professor wanted to publish it and I told him, not to publish it. This is a business idea because when you publish it other big names and companies will take up our business and go and implement it. But trust me, it was feasible, the profit, the savings on that was huge. At that time as a student, I didn’t have the capital to produce. You can imagine me telling my Professor, don’t publish this work because I want to make money from it.

I have always run side-by-side doing my business and my schooling. As a matter of fact, during my university days, I was the Vice President, Network of African Students Entrepreneurs. I have always looked at the gap in the Labour market, it is over choked. I has always been my focus to see how people can migrate from education into business, not to go around marketing their CV’s. So with all these knowledge I have gathered and with other experiences I gained while working for many companies even while in the university, I was able to structure out a business model. By God’s grace, in my own area which is oil and gas, my company is one of the most successful in Nigeria. I have received award on national dailies, I have broken HSC statistics and also exceeded some performances by NNPC.

Ques. 

Can you tell us what informed your decision to venture into Akarachi Foundation and your youth service life? 

Ans. 

My youth service life, immediately I finished my university, I was immediately called – up, I did my youth service in Lagos State. The camp was at Agege, while at the camp, I told people that youth service is where your life starts to change. While I was in the camp, I made a lot of contacts, I met a lot of people and the key about the lot of people I met was sharing of ideas, Ideas rule the world. I met people that had passion to go to the military, some had passion to start-up business, work in big companies, to do charity work. While at the youth service, I volunteered for good number of community development exercises and I have always been someone that loves giving.

Akarachi Foundation only came into light after I married my wife. I looked at it and said this thing should be a legacy. It must not just be someone that gives but there should be a legacy beyond my wife and I. 

To take you down memory lane, I had a son in August 2019, my first son, I was super excited and we were still at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) and three days later my son passed on and I was there when they said that he was having some issues like internal bleeding. I was looking at the doctor battling with him, all the machines linked to his body had gone flat and for 30 minutes the doctor was still battling to resuscitate him. I knew the only reason he was battling with him is because I was there. I told the doctor stop, I cried like every other man could cry, I said okay let me tell my wife. I went and consoled her and she was still in the ward with other women that had given birth. Most of the women that were there was because they didn’t have money to pay their bills. So I told my wife that as we are going, let us settle some of these bills. We went to the Matron at that time, all the outstanding bills came up to N360,000 and we paid for all of them. 

I went back to the intensive Care Unit where they were managing my late son, I told the Matron that if there is any other child that you are able to save and the challenge is money to buy drugs or whatever, take this N500,000, use it to take care of kids that cannot afford to be taken care of. They were shocked and thanked me so much. Even the money I gave to the nurses and matrons, they decided to use it to buy an incubator in remembrance of my late son instead of sharing the money among themselves and that touched me. It was there that the name ‘Akarachi Foundation’ was birthed because it was named after my late son and that is how we started. 

Ques. 

From your explanations above you stated that all these happened at Benin in 2019 and probably you were a fresh graduate, can you please let us know how you became wealthy at that age and was able to pick the bills despite your ordeal? 

Ans. 

The issue of wealth starts from work and comes from God. God alone gives wealth when he sees somebody that is working hard. My working experience started since i was in primary school. During my primary school days, i was working with my father, I would just come sit down and watch what they were doing in the office. I got into secondary school and I have always wanted to grow fast. The truth is that somehow you cannot grow faster when you are with your father. I will tell you the truth, everybody wants to pamper you. From secondary school, I started going to my father’s friends’ officed; I will have like three months holiday and I will call uncle, can I come and be working with you, sure, but what would you be doing in the office. And I will say, let me just come. There i was picking a lot of business ideas. There was a time still as a secondary school boy, my family was very tight financially and when I opened my savings box, we were able to feed for at least one month. When I worked for three months the person would call you and say boy you have tried, okay take and I was saving all those money. When I got into University and started working for companies, then I was making contact because the most important thing about life is contact. I had a lot of people calling saying, boy finish school and then we start doing business together. So while in school I was already making money, Remember I told you I was the Vice President of Network of African Student Entrepreneurs. We were teaching people how to do business. In some cases me and a group of friends started one company; Bottler Investment, one of them was from Uganda, one is from Warri. Three of us, pulled our savings together, if we see someone that has one business idea to be selling toast bread and needs like #5000 to go and buy loaves of bread, eggs, sardine, toast machine, we will say okay come we will give you the money, our share is 30% every night come and be remitting to us. At that time, one loaf of bread was #200 and you will be selling bread pressed together for #100 and we were making our money from school. In fact in school, we were ‘big boys’, because we had a lot of people in hostels selling one thing or the other. All we need to do is to gather our savings and say take, every night all we do is gather to do account. 

The first N500,000 I held in my hand as bulk money was made from someone into clothing line for matriculation. We took him to all our friends in different hostels, he made suit for them. He was selling suit at #30, 000 and the cost was #7000. I will not say I became wealthy over night ; it was years of consistency, it was years you make #5000 and put it into business you see #15,000 and so on, that’s how we grew in business. 

Ques. 

For record purposes can you highlight some of these business outfits? 

Ans. 

You mean the one I am running currently?

Ques. 

Probably, yes. 

Ans. 

The ones I am running currently as I said, because of am a very private person and I like to move freely and because of the nature of Nigeria right now, I don’t want to mention names. I can tell you a bit about it, I have some catering establishments, in the sense that I provide food for a lot of companies. I give the company my bills and they pay me monthly. This establishment has been running for years now. I also have an Engineering Offshore Support Company., I partner with a lot of IOC’s, I have done work for WILCOT, NNPC, even currently still doing work for SEPLAT, CHEVRON and all of them have to do with offshore services. But now the one that is in the public eye which is my own interest is Akarachi Foundation. Anything you want to know about it, I will give you 150%. For my business because of security that is the best I can do. 

Ques. 

Giving the magnitude of charity that you have engaged in, one will like to know if you are interested in politics? 

Ans. 

I will advise every Nigerian especially the youths to be interested in politics, I believe things have gone so bad because the average person in Nigeria believes politics is bad, they think that politics is for only big men, think that politics is for only old men. It is everybody’s franchise to be interested in politics. For me Akarachi Amadi, if you are asking if I am interested in running for any political position, as at today, the answer is no. When the time comes and I am interested, I will still call my friends and we’ll wishers to notify them. 

Ques. 

Some people believe that your father has a name and people who don’t know your background closely believe that your strength comes from your father. How true is that? 

Ans. 

My strength comes from God. My father has done so much for me that I cannot be more proud of the man than my father is today. That is where it ends. He is my father, he has done his bit. He has sent me to school. He also serves as my guardian in terms of his experience. My father and I were best of friends, I can count the number of times i call him daddy, maybe in the last eight years, maybe five times. 

Ques. 

Why is it so? 

Ans. 

It is because he is my friend. My mother I call her by her first name. Do you understand? There is a way friendship comes, when you meet your friend, you say o boy, how are you and he will respond, my guy I dey. That is the honest truth. So my strength comes from God. I was born into the family of my father and mother and I am happy for it. That is as far as it goes. 

Ques. 

Recently you made a donation of N100 million to the Imo State Government for youth empowerment, what informed your decision? 

Ans. 

There are a number of reasons, the paramount one is giving back to the society, giving back to the youths. You know a lot of people see government as one big masquerade that is different from us. There is no difference between government and the people because government is for the people and government is by the people. The people we see in government today after 8 years according to the Nigerian constitution go back to the people. So if I say I want to leverage on that structure, I want to leverage on the fact that I have a Governor that is very youth friendly, a Governor that has decided to empower 15,000 youths, I can tell you I was touched that this is somebody that understands that, empowerment is not the way, you have to empower people to do businesses and in line with Akarachi Foundation, hopes and dreams for the country, people say, why can’t I do it myself and I asked for instance, do you know how much structure costs?. For instance, I set my office I spent a lot of  millions but I have not done the work I set out to do. I also organized my football competition last year and I am telling you that the money that went to the teams, I spent more than two times that money in organizing it, and hurt me. We did a budget for that competition and it came up to about N50 million and I asked, what is the direct impact of the money on the team and that came up to about N20 million and between my team then, they said it should be N50 million football competition and I said no, it can’t be N50 million football competition. That we should spend some more money because of security, logistics and other things. That should be Akarachi Foundation’s cost, it shouldn’t be the cost of the competition. When I have to sit down to think of the cost and logistics I am going to use in gathering 1000 youths, where am going to keep them, what hall am I going to use. Am I going to feed them, the training I will give them and I see Imo State that government has already gone ahead to arrange training, put them in a hall and also arranged the logistics, I will partner with the government. 

Ques. 

This is quite inspiring having gotten to this, can you please shed more light on the reasons behind the setting up of Akarachi Foundation. Tell us too, the point of convergence and divergence between Akarachi Foundation and Integrity Group Initiative (IGI)? 

Ans. 

Akarachi Foundation wants a world where everybody has equal opportunity to succeed and to do that, we want to give hope and inspire as many people as we come across. So we cut across a lot of needs of people. We have given a lot of financial support in terms of educational support, a lot of training, empowerment for the youths because the bulk of our population is made up of youths. If you meet a youth, he either has a wife or children, parents, grandparents. Youths are the connecting force for this country. We have done a lot of community development, we have done a number of things. We in Akarachi Foundation want to stimulate our youths. I have traveled far and wide, it is only in Imo State that government has done roads and nobody is maintaining it. When I was working in Warri, every Saturday youths will mobilize themselves and clean their gutters, they clear the grasses because those youths are awake. I want all the youths to wake up. If you have the financial or physical muscle use it to better your communities. Those days sanitation was not done by companies or government, people willingly came out to do sanitation. For some reasons youths have lost hope, I will say they have forsaken themselves and the country. 

Akarachi Foundation wants to give help, give hope back to the youths. If we come together, we can make things happen. When I started Akarachi Foundation I had not bought a car of my own but I was doing charity. It was after that I bought a car. When I hosted the football competition, I had not built a house. The youth ideas these days is let me make money, buy flashy cars, live in lekki, travel out, get passport relocate from Nigeria. If we relocate, who are we leaving Nigeria for? So Akarachi Foundation is working on the youths to correct a lot of things and to inspire that hope and give help. 

Then you brought IGI, there is no link between IGI and Akarachi Foundation, the same way I thought about the circumstances and I say let’s have a structure for my charity and i say let it be Akarachi Foundation, me and my wife said let it be about the youths, the same way Akarachi Foundation started moving, we also saw that there is another vacuum that is dear to my heart and I say how do we get people of integrity to think and work how to put Nigeria and Imo State on the right path and i called some like minds, you can see some men and women around me on this vision of IGI, you can see that they are men that always want Imo State to progress and we came together to start Integrity Group Initiative, we went round to men that have integrity and the bought into this vision to join IGI. You can see that Akarachi Foundation and IGI are totally different. Let me take it a little further, Akarachi Foundation, Akarachi Amadi and IGI, they are totally different entities. 

Ques. 

While you were introducing yourself you didn’t mention your age, the public will like to know how old you are because there is so much energy in the person speaking to us, how old are you? 

Ans. 

I am in my late 20’s 

Ques. 

Can you be exact? 

Ans. 

I don’t like being exact, when the time comes am sure there are documents you will lay your hands on. I am a happy man with my happy wife and my new born son and I give the glory to God. 

Ques. 

How do you relax? 

Ans. 

This is a very good question, me and my wife only quarrel because I don’t stay one place because between me and you, I travel to almost four states minimum every week. In fact I fell ill last weekend and before I think say I be, I came in late around 12am I slept and around 3am my baby started crying and my wife was tired and having headache,  I carried the baby from that 3am till around 6am before the boy slept. Even when I come home, I baby sit and God has been helping me. You know one thing is the strength you draw when you are fighting for something and the strength has been coming. 

By God’s grace in my business I have been able to groom some people that now they are having an important meetings in Lagos even in my absence that I will call and say go to Lagos this what I want the outcome of the meeting to be, so business wise I am settling down  very well and I think my calling is to help my people. If things go well very soon I may be the first to retire from business at 35 years. 

Ques. 

How can you estimate yourself in terms of job creation, what number of people do you think are in your employment? 

Ans. 

I serve in the board of about five companies which I started and my total direct labour work force is about 200 and indirectly I also maintain about 150 contract staff and for me that’s the joy of business. There are other businesses I would have done that we call portfolio business that you sit down, make some documentations, you get job but they don’t employ as many.

I made all my successes in business by the number of people I have spoken to and in 10 years time, my direct employment should get to 10,000 to  20,000 and now we are 200 direct employees and about 150 indirect employees and God is helping us. 

Ques. 

Going forward what is your programme for the Imo state, country, community and constituency? 

Ans. 

Going forward, one tree does not make a forest, I want to be that symbol for the youths to come up and join us in Akarachi Foundation, to come and join IGI to create a better country, to tell our brothers abroad to come back and not the ones at home to leave. Nigeria is our own and we must fight for what we want. By fighting, we need to invest in Nigeria, we need to preach the gospel of peace in Nigeria, by fighting we have to go round and interact with people and engage them meaningfully, empowerment is key. For instance sometimes when I am doing job interview and the candidate is in front of me and when asking him questions, I look through his CV and ask the person, come you said you were doing this business from this time to this time what happened? Don’t you like the business, you can see that the person is sharp and can manage business very well and he will say, Oga because of funding that’s why I am looking for this job and I say go ahead, this idea is good let me mentor you how you can go about it and I will fund it and a lot of businesses I have funded that way. 

As a Nigerian youth, you just have to think, how can I better myself and my country. A lot of assets people don’t know about so my major preaching is on youth empowerment to see how people can access fund, to see how people can partner with Akarachi Foundation and with other bodies that are willing to partner with the youths. 

Ques. 

How has the journey been, has it been rough? 

Ans.

Before you have that harvest, you must have been toiling toiling, if i sit down and tell you that the journey has been smooth i lie to you, the journey has been difficult, the journey has been tough but i thank God i don’t give up, I thank God for he has been kind to me. Am also telling anybody that want to start a business or pursue their dream that it will not be easy but the most important thing is to talk to yourself and when you start don’t give up, keep going you will get there. 

Ques. 

Is IGI going to be an association where any like mind can join?

Ans.

Integrity Group Initiative (IGI) is an initiative that want to bring around people that share integrity, as a small boy people started calling me ‘Ekwueme’ because if I tell you look this how it is, that is it and you can take it to bank. Some people do business with me and they say the want to sign contract with me and I say why are you signing contract for this business this is your portion and instead of going to struggle with your lawyer let me pay you upfront because my word is my bound. We need people that will have the same spirit. There is a lot of distrust in the country, am this he is this, we need these like minds to come together to deliberate on how to move our country, state, LGA’s and communities forward. 

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