“Role models under 40.” Meet our personality for the week…

“my quest to change the status qua and that kept me going all my life” Ahmad Lawal

Lawal Ahmad is the Director-General of the Nigerian Youth Chamber of Commerce (NYCC). He holds a first degree in Geography from Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto and a masters in International Affairs and Diplomacy from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. Lawal also has the rare priviledge of being trained as an Agric Value Chain practitioner in Thailand and Germany. He is a fellow of the African Center of Excellence, Canada and an official partner of the World Food Program. Ahmad is also a program officer, Alliance for Renewable Energy, Berlin, Germany and an individual consultant on mitigation and action against climate change. He is committed to giving back to his native Sokoto community and enthused by dynamic young Nigerians that are passionate about carving out a niche for themselves in their endeavours.
RM Team: what were the challenges faced while growing up
I faced quite a number of challenges while growing up. I lost my mother when I was 7 years old. Mothers generally provide special protection, unmeasurable love and all that child needs for his/her development. Another challenge was the fact, I came from humble background. That it in self was a huge challenge. But I was determined to change the status qua. That was the motivating factor, that helped me to overcome some of the challenges.

RM Team: what is your life philosophy.

my life philosophy is, I’m here for a purpose and finding my purpose will largely determine my progress, success and happiness.That has been my guiding principle. Life has constant ups and downs, unless you are properly guided by an informed philosophy or principle or set of principles you are likely not to have sense of direction. Having lived with my poor grandmother Hajiya kulu Sharifya, my goal while growing was to grow up to support her, to provide her with better shelter and clothing. That actually thought me compassion and kindness and also kept me strong , whenever there is storm on the way.

RM Team: who is your role model
My role model was my grandmother, Kulu sharifiya, she was kind, caring and protective to me. She made sure I was happy and protected. She was involved in community services such taking care of volnearable people within the neighborhood, she was a pillar to my success. She inspired me and realized that, you don’t have to have everything to make impact. I learned community services from very early years of my childhood. She encouraged me to embrace volunteerism and I have been doing that for a very long time.

RM Team : Involvement in charity/youth empowerment (if any)

After my University education, I have volunteered as a teacher at a Yakubu Mu’azu model primary school, sokoto. My intention was not just to teach but inspire pupils from poor homes like me. Fortunately, I made a landmark in the lives of few students, one of them is Dr Fateemah Bello, whom I encouraged to study Medicine and she did, she was brilliant and deligent. I became interested in her progress, mate her father talked to him about the need to support her educationally. I made sure she got admission in to usmanu Danfodiyo university, sokoto. By the grace of God she later graduated from medical school with my little financial support. I also started an adult classes for mass education, where I thought them how to read and write. Fortunately one of them Auwal sani Is now a graduate, two are HND Holders. I still provide mentorship to many younger ones, especially young entrepreneurs.

RM Team: a word for the youths.

I would say, they should invest their energy and time on worthy ventures that will move their world forward. Period of transition is often challenging from peer groups to societal expectations. I have refused to be distracted by both peer groups and society. I have refused to allow societal standards and expectations, I had defined my own decisions and choices. I have had many instances where my childhood friends would say all sort of things but i have never joined issues, for me i had a bigger picture. I chose not to get involve in any negativity that will drain my energy. In essence, as a young person remain focused and always move on.

RM Team: Where do you see yourself in the next ten years.

I’m currently serving as DG Nigerian youth chamber of commerce. Part of my mandate is to strengthen the organization to serve as platform for young entrepreneurs in Nigeria. I have already introduced number of reforms that will ease entrepreneurship in Nigeria. I’m also a founder of Green milestones innovation, an organization that is creating innovative solutions in the area of agric value chain,value addition and climate-smart agriculture. I’m also an official partner with IBM in block chain management.

RM Team: what’s your driving force ?
my driving force, as I mentioned earlier was my quest to change the status qua and that kept me going all my life.

My wife has been instrumental to my success, it’s important for any young man to know that it’s difficult to succeed without a good wife behind you to understand and give you love and encouragement.