Chima Anyaso is the chairman of Nigerian Young Professionals Forum (NYPF), South-East chapter, and a Chief Executive Officer of CEECON Energy and Gas. In this interview with CHAMPION editorial TEAM, he speaks on his education foundation, among other issues. Excerpts…
What prompted Ahuoma Anyaso Education Foundation, which runs a school that provides free education for children in Igbere community, Bende council of Abia State?
For me, education is fundamental because it can change the society. What is happening today in the North as a result of Boko Haram is due to poor education foundation.
There is no educated person that will allow himself or herself to be brainwashed by anyone in the name of religion.
How do you source funds to run this school. Are there individuals or corporate bodies who partner with you in the project?
Unfortunately no, and it is not that they don’t hear or see what we are doing. It is part of the campaign that we embarking on in the NYPF (Nigerian Young Professionals Forum).
Our voice must be heard; we must speak out because if we don’t, nobody will hear us. Even when we opened the school, we invited officials of Abia State government, but they didn’t bother to send represen-tatives.
That didn’t bother us because for me it is about the next generation. We are looking towards the future, so we must do things differently.
When you make a trip back home and look at those children, how do you feel?
I feel excited; I feel happy and accomplished because they all know me by my first and second names.
Any time I walk into the school premises, they will all jump out to meet me, and one thing I do every quarter is that I go home and we organize prayer sessions and every Christmas, we have parties, through these, they get to know me better.
Where did the inspiration to do all these came from?
It started in 2006 when I started to erect my house in the village. Then, I normally get home around 11.am, and at that time children are supposed to be in school, but I usually see some loitering about.
I started making inquiries over why those children were not in school and I was told that there was no nursery school in the village, so they have to wait until when they are up to the age of five or six before they can start primary school.
So, I had to stop the building I wanted to start and commence the building of a nursery school, but I was not able to access a free land from the community because apparently, they didn’t believe what we were trying to do.
I was lucky to buy a piece of land and started the building. Luckily, we completed the project as well as my house that same year.
That was how the school started, and three years down the line, we found out that the standard we have given the pupils is far higher than what obtains in the public schools. When they leave our nursery school and go to the public schools, their standard lowers.
That was why we decided to build a primary school and that is where we are today. Hopefully, we are praying that God will continue to bless us so that we can add a secondary school, so that the standard will remain the same until they are able to go to the university.
What was your experience before you got to where you are now?
I am just the normal young man who went to a university, came out and worked for some years, resigned and set up my own company because I have always been an independent person.
My parents were traders and even when I was in the university, I was trading. I did a lot of buying and selling; at some point, I even drove a commercial vehicle to make ends meet.
I have always cherished to assist people, and for one to do that, one has to struggle to make money.
I can’t depend on my parents to assist my friends, so I had to device means to generate funds on my own to be able to do that.
While I was working, I knew that one day I will start up my own firm, and I must confess that there were challenges initially but we were able to surmount them by the grace of God. Eight years down the line, we have grown stronger by God’s grace.
What is your philosophy of life?
My philosophy is transparency and forthrightness. If you are transparent and forthright in your dealings with people, you have it all.
I must also add that what has really helped me in life is humility. I don’t get overwhelmed by whatever progress or success that comes my way.
The kind of business that we do is one that involves trust, and you and I know that trust is not built in a day. So, honesty is our watch word.
I always tell myself that I am not the only one; that where I think I am today, some other persons have been there before and that others are coming behind.
My father lived a good life and he left a legacy; I want to equally leave such legacy. So, my philosophy is to leave a good legacy.