BY ANOZIE EGOLE
Perhaps the federal government’s dream of water for
all would one day become a reality as delectable Multi-media Computer Scientist, Ego Anyia has promised to introduce a ‘miracle’ engine which will produce water from the air into the Nigerian market in the next five years. Ego speaks on different NGOs and the numerous challenges that serve as obstacles in helping young talented players.
What are you working on now?
For now, I have up to five NGO’s I am working on. I have another one , Concerned Women I am also working on together with Julie Coker . It addresses the challenges of women who are facing different types of domestic violence as well as child abuse.
There is also the one I started 12 years ago in UK that helps the youth though my colleague is in charge of that one. I have a Sports Sharing Foundation I am trying to establish.
In this Sports Foundation, we have five players from the UK and five from Nigeria. This foundation intends to assist players from both Nigeria and UK. Sodje, a guy I met in Warri was the person working with me as a scout.
He assisted me so much in searching for hidden football talents. We also want to establish a charity football match which will involve both Africans and Caribbeans. May 27, 2013 has been tentatively fixed for the match.
We got Odewinge to represent Africans and Rio Ferdinand to represent UK. So, we have to play this charity match on May 27. It will be a match against friends from Africa versus friends from Caribbean.
Have you been to Nigeria before?
Yes of course. I want to tell you something, I lost my British accent three years ago when I came to Nigeria because of the works I had at hand then. Honestly, when I got back to London, everybody was asking what happened to my accent? It was gone. What happened was that I was in Nigeria for straight eight months. During those days, I told myself that if I go on talking the way I do in London, I would not go anywhere. So, I decided to break it down and speak Nigeria’s way and even use pidgin English. My family noticed that my accent was fading away. So I now made it compulsory that I am going to speak in my English accent so that I will not lose it again.
Where are you from?
I am from Delta, the Igbo speaking part of the state.
What inspired what you are doing now?
I cannot really recall because I have a multi-media computer background. So I used to visit a lot of websites advertising for people. Then I started getting sponsorship for them and it led me to start getting sponsorship for charity organisations.
What actually led me into charity was when I got to Warri for the first time in 2007 with a guy Sodje. They were doing one tournament called, the Norway cup. They wanted to bring 26 players from Nigeria to Norway to compete. In that tournament, there were scouts looking for potential footballers. So, during that time, they were more than a thousand guys there with them. What I saw was quite shocking. I saw them exchanging jerseys with one another after each set. They were wearing worn-out kits. Both the jerseys and the boots were worn out. I was like; are there no new kits around? I found out that they did those things to help themselves. Amidst all these, I saw one small boy in the corner kicking a ball very well. The boy knows how to kick the ball so well. And I said that boy is good. Sodje asked me if he could call the boy, I said yes, call him, he is good. So the boy came over and I asked him his name and he said Gift. I asked his age and he said 10 years old. I asked him again, do you like football and he replied in the affirmative. Sodje suggested that I sponsor him and I said okay. I asked how much his school fee was then and he said N5, 000. I said that should be about $20, okay I could do that, it was not a big deal. That was the first charity football sponsorship I did. I went to his parents’ house and I paid his school fees and got him some new training kits.
So, what happened thereafter?
Actually, I continued until the boy’s parents messed up. Well, I got him some football kits and everything. I even got him a coach and asked the coach to buy him all those things. The next time I saw him in a pitch about few months later, he was kicking the ball but not as he used to do before. He was not doing that as sharply as before. I was like, what is wrong with this guy? This is not how he was. So, I called him and I asked what happened? He pulled down his socks and showed me his legs, which were lacerated with razor blade by the mother.
Was it as a result of his education?
Well, the parents were not the ones paying for his school fees. So, I saw no reason why they would do that. I called that child abuse.
Why do you think they did that?
I have no idea. The parents weren’t the people paying his school fees, I was the person doing that so. I see no reason why they must do that. With the blading, the boy was still struggling to play. I asked him why, he said that his mummy did not want him to play football. I said didn’t you tell your mummy that footballers make a lot of money, that if you succeed, you will have a lot of money to take care of them? He said that she does not want him to play football. I sent the coach to go and beg the mother to allow the child play, but to no avail. I decided to stop. I said, I am the cause of the boy’s problem. That if I didn’t buy him those kits, maybe, he wouldn’t have been bladed. That’s my first experience with charity.
What did you study in school?
My first degree was in multi-media computer and I just finished my Masters in Management Consultancy.
What prompted you into charity?
When I saw what happened to kids, I came back from London, I was doing something with Sodje’s foundation. I was helping to get sponsorship for them. So before I could get that sponsorship, another organization also wanted me to get a sponsorship for me. So, that was why I got myself involved in charity.
What is in your line –up now?
I have got so many things. I’m supposed to be in London now but because there is much snow there now and it is freezing, I don’t want to go there now. I decided to stay back here in Nigeria. The charity will kick off in March and we need a lot of money to that effect. I am also taking care of Concerned Women. We are trying to have a conference in June to create awareness for all these things.
For the Concerned Women, we handle issues of rape, human trafficking and organizing marriage lectures for young girls. It is intended to highlight the problems women go through in life. We have speakers who are specialists in that area. All sorts of topics concerning women will be handled that day in that conference including domestic violence. It will hold in June in Abuja. I will also organize an award at the same time in UK . The award will be for people in diaspora who have contributed in one way or the other to their communities.
What do we expect to see from you in the next five to ten years?
I should be married with children by then. Hopefully, I have some ideas I would like to put in place here in Nigeria by then. I have an engine that makes water from the air I would like to introduce by then. The machine makes water from the environment. There is no drilling, no bore-holing, no plumbing, all you need do is to plug it in and within some minutes, you will get a very pure and refined water to drink.
You still look very young, are you up to 30 years?
Hmm!!! not really. Somewhere above that. I am in my early 30s.
How do you handle your friends?
I got friends. But I have learnt how to be very careful with Nigerians. They are not serious people. But I can find serious people out there who are ready to market my products for me.
How do you intend to handle your event by March?
I am actually the co-coordinator of the event. We have gotten media partners from other countries but we have not gotten any in Nigeria. We have partners like BBC, Talk radio among others. These are the media houses that will be airing the events. We are also going to hold many competitions that day. There are also dance hall competitions and it will be fun filled.