The chief executive of Blaubrana Sport International, Mr. Leslie Oghomienor, has provided new opportunities to 1,000 indigent students across Nigeria through his FCB Escola Academy. Rebecca Ejifoma reports

Zig Ziglar once said, you can have everything in life if you will just help other people get what they want. This was what crossed the bridge of Mr. Leslie Oghomienor’s mind when he steered into raising the stake for Nigerians especially those in the grassroots.

It was a Friday evening. Seated unruffled right beside the main bowl of the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, I watched meticulously how these young talents trickled in with their parents and guardians. And just at the far entrance, came Oghomienor. He was sprucely dressed in varying shades of blue. Every piece on him made a statement; from the cufflinks to the brooch. “Oh, thank you. We are trying our best,” he responded to my compliments with a mannered smile.

Now, when asked what motivated him into such drastic philanthropic drive especially in this ‘economic recession,’ Oghomienor simply chuckled and explained, “The motivation is more of a passion – bigger than ordinary motivation. I was opportune to have a very successful work life. I started with working for an oil and gas firm. Later, I delved into oil service firm. God also helped me and couple of my friends to set up oil service firm which is doing well till date.”

No doubt, having been generously endowed, he brooded on how to throw back down the ladder and breathe life into dreams. “What we mean is that moving from the realm of doing business for business sake. What we are doing now is passion to develop and transform people and also to give back to the society in such a way that it will trickle down to the common man on the street. We look at a situation where children are empowered to become bread winners and start to solve problems.”

Interestingly, this patriotic detribalised Nigerian, who schooled in different parts of Nigeria like Lagos, Enugu and Plateau States, has sure grabbed more experience. He said living across Nigeria has equally put him above thinking on tribal or ethnic levels. Hence, his choice to reach all tribes and tongues. “People from all parts of the country are invited. We should quit looking at ourselves from state of origin perspective but as an entity that is called Nigeria.”

According to him, besides helping them in various aspects to achieve their goals, “We focus majorly on football, money and value. Value is the biggest of them all. It has to do with what you are transforming these children into, what they will become tomorrow, the value and the attitude they will carry towards life.”

Swiftly on the heels of this, the Delta State indigene of Jesse Town and business mogul in the oil and gas lane for over 20 years reiterated that they are trying to inject respect, humility, value and hard work in these young talents both on the pitch and in the real world.
But sadly, he lamented the obstacles, listing the gap in the country as lack of opportunities. “There is talent across Nigeria. It might be innate or acquired. Hence, we are going to hunt for those kids and give them the right certificates so that they can go and look for their football career.”

But this rare fortune will smile on children within the age brackets from next year. “Hopefully, we shall kickoff the academic session with about 1,000 participants between ages five and 18 comprising both male and female.”
On why the choice of football to reach out to his target, he noted that “We see football as the quickest way to reach the grassroots. If you think about it, sport is one of the unifying factors. In football, we become friends when watching football, especially if we support the same team.

“FCB Escola Academy is programmed to have local effect where these players and coaches contribute positively to local leagues. The Spanish coaches will reside here and train the students with a penchant to imbibe in them the culture of value. “This is to ensure they are good people and they can manage their business. It is not my dream. It is theirs. Mine is simply to help them achieve it.”

As a result of his laudable gesture, he said that the Lagos State Government has been supportive and thrilled about it as well as the Chairman of the Lagos State Sport Commission.
Interestingly, members of the club will be empowered economically, because the project will give them global ticket to reach the world. “Some people just want to survive that is why they involve in criminal activities,” he added.

Indeed, with such a glorious gesture and a sliming penchant for national development at this time of much needs there is no gainsaying then that Oghomienor’s passion is worthy of emulation.