By Ayo Arowolo

While I was reflecting on my 60th birthday yesterday, especially after reading the endless flow of goodwill messages from people, it just dawned on me that apart from God who has continued to hide me under his wings and shield, the real people who should be celebrated are those individuals who stood behind the scenes to ensure I was not consumed by raging waters of life. So in the process, I came with the list of 60 people God had lined up on my path to assist me to this very point I am now.


On the top 10 of that list is Tim Akano (I call him KAYODE), a friend since 1989 two years after we both graduated from the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife.

Many people on both the THISDAY LIFE LESSONS and WEALTH IN HIS PRESENCE, ( two of the whatsApp platforms I created ) know Tim as “professor” and “mystery writer” on account of his highly cerebral articles regularly dished out.

I was with Prince Yemisi SHYLLON, (a friend of over 25 years and one of the prominent members of the THISDAY LIFE LESSONS platform ) in his house two Thursdays ago. The first question he asked was: ‘Who is that Tim Akano? He is a damned good writer’.

Tim, not a trained journalist nor an established author, has worked himself into the consciousness of many Nigerians through his seminal articles, which sometimes stretch into several pages. Yet his admirers consume them once they get hold of them.


Yet that is not what has endeared Tim to people like me and several others in his circle of influence.

Tim has remained a friend in need and deed; a friend when things were smooth, and a friend when you are passing through life’s troubled waters. A time it was when I was caught up by the vicissitudes of life when my financial pocket was badly affected, Tim put me on a monthly stipend and he sustained it until he heard directly from my mouth that the storm was over.

A time it was when I had to relocate house, Tim assigned the New Horizon’s bus to me for two days and paid the company driver for the period. During that period of financial storm, my daughter gained admission into a university outside Lagos but my car was not in good shape: Tim assigned his jeep and his driver to get that sorted.

Those in my circle of influence, when I was running seminars across Nigeria, are familiar with Tim. He was a leading facilitator in most of our programmes. Not only were his presentations fresh and sterling, but he delivered them pro bono ( not collecting a dime).

Last September, a foundation I was involved with asked me to invite Tim as their guest speaker at the pilot edition of the coaching programme they were about to introduce. As usual, Tim’s presentation was a table-shaking one that left all the participants awed.

A week after, the organiser decided to put together a unique gift pack that would include a hand-crafted pair of shoes. I was assigned to find out Tim’s shoe size. So, I sent a note to him to that effect, and his reply opened up the real side of Tim that was unknown to many including some of us his close friends.

The conversation:

“Headmaster ( that is what I call him), kindly share your shoe size with me, the CEO of the foundation at which you spoke recently want to send you a gift pack that includes a handcrafted pair of shoes”

Tim’s reply: “Yeah, I have more than enough o. I try not to become materialistic by acquiring things I don’t need. Everything now I give to charity. Thanks.”

In further conversation, he shared with me some of his quiet philanthropic endeavours, including the building he had just quietly donated to the primary school he attended in his home town in Iwo, Osun State ( see the photos)

He said, “By God’s grace, I did this for the primary school I attended. I gave students two pairs of uniforms each as all the 300 students didn’t have uniforms. I provided water and a toilet, fenced the school with a gate and helped the teachers in memory of my late father. That’s how I am spending Part 2 of my life now.”
And you know the interesting aspect, Tim was not at the presentation event, he sent his uncle who is the king of his town, Iwo, in Osun State and his pastor friend to represent him.

For the past 10 years, Tim has maintained a policy of adopting a Youth Corps member in his house until he finds his level. He would be treated as a full member of the family and cared for until he found his level. More than five youth corps members have passed through Tim’s caregiving arrangement. Three of them are currently in the United States of America doing wonders in Silicon Valley while the remaining two are already fixed up in top ICT engagements in the country.

Through his One Africa Initiative, Tim mentors over 10,000 youths in 54 African countries including job placements where necessary. In a unique arrangement that started with Covenant University, Tim’s New Horizon partners with more than 25 Universities and over 150 High Schools in Nigeria to run their ICT programmes. This involves building an ICT centre in the partner university, equipped with ICT gadgets, and a laboratory with a team of New Horizon-trained facilitators assigned to each centre. Tim pays the school fees of over 20 students and takes care of several widows and financially challenged individuals without expecting any returns. He awards over 20,000 scholarships ( partial and whole) yearly through New Horizons

Last September after his outstanding presentation, I got an artist to frame Tim’s image on display at the seminar venue and hung it in my study to serve as an inspiration.

His statement of devoting the rest of his life to giving and sharing only during our last conversation sealed it for me.

Even though I had done a couple of quiet care giving on my own, as my 60th birthday approached, I made a firm decision to join the WEALTH MASTERS CLUB, a group of business owners and career professionals who generate wealth from their passions and devote a substantial portion of their wealth to blessing others and sponsoring worthy causes.

Tim is a worthy WEALTHMASTER that deserves accolades from us all. He has remained a sterling inspiration to me. I have also decided to spend the rest of my second half to toe Tim’s line of caregiving.

Ayo Arowolo is a famous, awards winning journalist.