Barr. Luqman Akinsanya, the founder of the Pepc Foundation, studied law at the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, Lagos before travelling abroad.
The Ibeju Lekki and Ikorodu-born young man played football for many grassroots clubs, especially U-12 Pepsi Academy in Ikorodu which was coordinated by his father, Alhaji Kola Akinsanya, where he was nicknamed, ‘Pepc’. Also played for Akinsanya Babes, Lagos State Civil Service Model College, Igbogbo, National Pepsi Academy U-14, the Faculty of Law, Lagos State University, the football team of the institution which he captained as well as the Law School, Abuja.
As a football loving young man, he also played for some divisional soccer teams in America.
In this brief interview with THE IMPACT, he and his wife, Mrs Abiodun Idowu Talabi, spoke with the Publisher/Reporter-in-Chief of the newspaper, Kunle Adelabu, on their Pepc foundation and their dreams to assist in developing young ones and people at the grassroots. Excerpts:
IMPACT: What is Pepc Foundation all about?
Akinsanya: Pepc foundation is all about giving back to my community and Lagos State at large. It is going to be supporting schools in lkorodu and other areas in the State with donations of educational materials to primary, junior and senior secondary schools. That is our target.
Aside education, we are also going to be dealing with sports, health and we also have strong plans for the empowerment of the youths and cultural integration and entertainment. We are going to be doing everything in our power to reach out to the less privilege in Lagos State.
IMPACT: You got the name ‘Pepc’ during your playing days in Nigeria, are you still into football out there in the United States and do you have plan for sports, especially football, since that is your background?
Akinsanya: When it comes to sports, you know so well that I had played for Pepsi Academy and I was the captain of the Lagos State University team when I was studying Law. Sports has always been a major sector in Lagos State and as a result, I will try as much as possible to donate sporting materials to schools across the state.
IMPACT: Your parents, Alhaji and Alhaja Akinsanya, are known for grooming young ones through sports, especially football, and sponsoring football competitions. Are you also looking in that direction?
Akinsanya: My parents have always been in support of the people at the grassroots and I am a product of the grassroots. This is a very important area and developments should start from there. In view of this, we are going to start our projects from the grassroots, most especially our educational projects, because that is what brought me to where I am today. We are going to continue with my father’s legacy in sports development. He has numerous football clubs back then. Among these were Greater Tomorrow FC, Akinsanya Babes, Ikorodu Tigress and Ikorodu branch of Pepsi Academy. I will continue with the legacy. It might not be in the same line but we are going to try to key into supporting sports in Lagos State.
Football is a global phenomenon and we cannot neglect that and likewise other sports. You can see the keen interest people have for other sports too. You can see the way the recent Anthony Joshua-Ruiz Junior boxing match was viewed globally.
IMPACT: Cultural integration is another area that you said your foundation would be focusing on. What is your plan in this regard?
Akinsanya: This is one of the areas that my wife advocated for its addition into our foundation’s projects and she will be giving us insight into that.
Mrs Abiodun Idowu Talabi (Wife): As a foundation, we have people internationally that are willing to support our foundation’s projects, especially the educational and cultural projects. Internationally, foreigners love our culture. It is the best but we don’t even know the value of what we have. Through cultural integration, we want to teach the students about who we are in order to assist in moving us forward educationally and culturally.
IMPACT: Since you have launched the foundation today, it’s certain that you will be rolling out your plans and their implementation strategies soon. Have you selected any school(s) or individuals that will be benefitting from your foundation’s projects?
Akinsanya: My wife and I have made decisions to visit at least four schools across the state to kick start the projects. We are starting from Ikorodu and Ibeju Lekki. We are trying to finalise the arrangements with the authorities of the selected schools. Hopefully, we’ll hear from them soon.
IMPACT: People, especially your dad, will love to know how you are planning to sustain his legacies.We also want you to send a message to the youths.
Akinsanya: Legacy would be written. The direction is what we are working towards. By the grace of God, we will create our own legacy and Pepc Foundation will be known globally. For the young ones, I want everyone out there not to give up. They should always continue to work hard. Hard work pays. In whatever area or skill that you find yourselves, always work hard and the result will definitely come out.
IMPACT: Your message for the young girls out there?
Mrs Abiodun Idowu Talabi (Wife): One thing that I have learnt is that Nigerians do not cherish their culture and nationality enough. I want to appeal to them to cherish what they have because people out there cherish it very well. I also want them to be hopeful of tomorrow. You can do anything as long as you put your mind to it.
THE IMPACT: Thank you for your time.
Akinsanyas: You are welcome.