In a world where success involves ‘hustling hard’ and broadcasting every philanthropic gesture in order to earn bragging rights, it is refreshing to observe there are some individuals who prefer working towards solving societal challenges. Among these few are Tijjani Babatunde Folawiyo and Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede. Since their paths crossed while they were on the foundation board of Nigeria’s Tier 1 bank, Access Bank Plc., they have stayed connected ever since and share almost similar beliefs including charity.
It was gathered that these billionaires are putting their efforts together towards a common goal of solving the problem of poverty of their people through Global Citizen Nigeria, a global movement for citizen-led actions to eradicate poverty and improve human living conditions, with Folawiyo serving as chairman and Aig-Imoukhuede as vice chairman. In line with the United Nations’ agenda to end extreme poverty by year 2030 under the Sustainable Development Goals, Global Citizen is working with the Nigerian private sector to harness resources to achieve the objective of ending poverty and offers intervention on the healthcare delivery system.
At a policy forum last year, Global Citizen Nigeria committed to build a world-class primary healthcare centre in each of the 774 Local Governments in Nigeria. According to the billionaires, universal healthcare cannot be achieved without a robust primary healthcare system as the bedrock.
As a result, they are committing billions into achieving this lofty project across the country. Also, just as many nations are preparing for the post-COVID-19 challenges, including the expected mental health and well-being of the survivors and others, these two wealthy philanthropists are leading the charge here to raise funds to deal with the mental health challenge in post-pandemic Nigeria.
Since they announced their plans, many have been upbeat, knowing full well that they are quiet achievers who allow their deeds to speak for themselves. For Folawiyo, who has left his footprints on the sand of time as a billionaire tycoon with interests cutting across various sectors including oil and gas, telecoms and banking, his charity empire has committed billions of naira to philanthropic projects designed to address social problems, with a special focus on solutions driven by science, research and education.
The Lagos State-born oil mogul is that ubiquitous peg that fits into all holes. The graduate of the London School of Economics currently sits on the boards of various educational institutions, providing a unique perspective towards improving the conditions for students both in Africa and other parts of the world, with his membership of the esteemed Global Advisory Board of the African Leadership Academy.
He has also demonstrated a passion for fostering the next generation of African leaders. Folawiyo is also a fellow of the Duke of Edinburgh’s World Fellowship, a global network of philanthropists dedicated to inspiring youth development. In the same vein, since he left Access Bank Plc as its founding GMD, Aig-Imoukhuede, aside from his subtle role as a leading figure in Nigeria’s finance and investment industry, now spends more quality time on charity.
He is the founder of Africa Initiative for Governance, a partnership programme with the Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government, where qualified Africans are offered a scholarship scheme to acquire a Master of Public Policy degree at the British Ivy league University. Aig-Imoukhuede is also the first African Co-Chairman of the Global Business Coalition on Health, GBC Health.
His appointment as co-Chair of GBC-Health is consistent with his profile and reputation as an ardent advocate on issues of responsible business practices, good corporate citizenship and sustainability. In his financial sector turf, Aig-Imoukhuede remains a colossus both as the co-founder/CEO of Access Bank Plc and later founder of Coronation Merchant Bank.