Politics

Why Obi is best choice as next Nigerian President, by Apostle Gregory

Apostle Azemobor Gregory is an accomplished businessman and a philanthropist per excellence. He is the MD/CEO of BethelMendels Group and Founder/ president Azemobor Gregory Foundation, a charity organization catering for the welfare of widows and indigent kids in Nigeria. He is also the convener of Concerned Nigerians for Peter Obi (CNPO) support group. In an explosive interview with the Saturday Telegraph, he gave insight into his charitable activities and involvement in the “Obidient movement ” Excerpt…

Talking about politics and your foundation, I don’t understand how that can be mixed together…

My name is Apostle Azemobor Gregory. I have a business, we are into interior designs, landscaping and manufacturing which drive my major interest in politics, but the economy is affecting my business. I am into manufacturing, I have close to 100 people that are working for me, I am an employer of labour, so if things are not working well in the economy it affects me.

For instance, as at last week, the exchange rates for the raw materials we import was too high, but we thank God things are stabilizing now. As human beings, our lives serve two purposes; calling and career, the foundation is a calling, it is something that comes from within, it is something that makes me fulfilled, it is a calling and a way of giving back to the society as well. Like I said earlier, one must do something to generate income and once that is done, one is not supposed to live for self, but to give back to the society.

As an individual, one can give back to the society through charitable activities. Taxation is also a way of giving back to the society as well, because the government recognizes that if one is making money, it is expected that the person pays taxes to the government and they will in turn use it in taking care of the needs of the citizens and to ensure equitable distribution of resources where everybody will be happy.

For how long have you been engaging in this foundation?

I been operating the foundation for over 15 years, our major interest is about widows’ empowerment and how to support indigent kids that are out-of-school. From records, we have about 13million out-of-school children because Nigeria doesn’t have social securities, but in other countries, government would provide for widows and vulnerable, but in Nigeria, the moment a woman loses her husband, nobody provides for her.

Even in a case, where the husband was rich, the in-laws would also struggle the wealth with her and probably leave her with nothing. When we started about 20 years, we were doing N20,000 each to support 13 businesses but because of the current economic situation, we are giving out N50,000 now as a free grant to each of them and by extension supporting the education of their children. I can categorically tell you that between seven years and now, we have empowered over 2,000 women. If you go to our websites and social media pages, you will see all our activities.

How do you select the beneficiaries, is it by man-know-man?

We partner with other like-minded NGOs and foundations. Like the last one we did, we partnered with Police Women Association (POWA). We also have volunteers who go out to source for people. Some widows have benefitted from us through associations; who also refer people to us, however, not all widows are poor. We look for the indigents and profile them; the ones that have issues with paying their rents, the ones whose children are not in schools, so that we can help them. If you say you are doing business with N10,000, for instance, we will support you. We also do counseling because of the emotional trauma they go through, when they lose their husbands. Many of them die with their husbands psychologically. The first thing is to inject lives into them.

How do you do that?

We counsel them because the challenge is that they are overwhelmed with the bills as they will have to pay school fees, and raise teenage children. We are aware that the government is not caring for them, the society is not caring for them. So they are just on their own.

You give them money to establish businesses and all that, do you do any kind of empowerment for them?

Oh yes, like I said we start from counseling and we would train them based on what they do as businesses. We ask them if they are doing certain kind of businesses and we do a follow-up and tell them that the money is meant for businesses and they are meant for paying rents or school fees. We tell tem that they need to have sustainable businesses.

So, why are you doing this as an apostle?

Like I told you, it’s a calling, everybody is created for a purpose, and that purpose is to come and solve a problem. We are providing solutions to problems and it is identification of that solution that makes life meaningful, and brings complement to life. The problem you are able to solve is about your passion. Mike Murray said what you have a passion for is what you are created for. If for instance, you are angered about corruption, may be God wants you to do something in that direction or you see school children that are suffering, may be God wants you to do something to help them. When I started, I was struggling and because it is a ministry, it is now that I have friends supporting me, most of the things I used to do then were 95% supported by my business. I’m happy doing it because it gives me fulfillment. The more I do it, the more I feel satisfied. When we started, we were giving people N20,000, and it was very difficult, but now we give people money easily. God provides for what you have passion for. He makes provision for the vision. Going into politics should be an opportunity for you to serve humanity. Most of the politicians don’t understand the meaning of politics. Going into politics or government offices should be about what you want to do for the people.

What have been the impacts of this so far?

Your impact starts from your areas of interest. I have been able to influence a lot of people that follow me on the social media and they have now started to copy me. So influence is there, I have posted a lot of the things that I do on the social media and people have been copying me, and everybody around me wants to buy into it. Somebody in the United States of America said that he wanted to support two widows and he sent N100,000 to us. We have been reaching out; people are so self-centred in this country that they don’t understand the meaning of true living. Some of the people in government have a reprobate mind. The bible says that a bad tree cannot bear good fruits. These politicians don’t have the capacity to do good. Many of them profess to belong to one religion or the other; they go to mosques and churches to pray, yet they don’t have the capacity to do good. You can only do good if you are good. In most of the advanced countries it’s not about the system, it is because the people are good.

So, what would be the solution?

We have given up on most of these politicians, which is why we are rooting for the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi. We are not voting for Obi because he is a politician, we are voting for him because he is a good man.

Is he not going to be a scammer?

Of course, he is not; you have listened to him. Most times, when he talks he would say go and verify. We have seen people that benefitted from him, even as students, when he was governor. There is no doubt that he is a good man. He said that since he left power he is not collecting any pension. He said he already had money, why should he be collecting money from the state and say they should pay him full salary and buy him a house in Abuja. We cannot stick to this crop of politicians, they cannot do good. That is why Nigerians want the real change to change the human beings that have sold their minds to the devil. You cannot be talking about security in the midst of mis-governance.

Some people said that Peter Obi had been in government and that he is part of the system…

He is not part of the system, because if he is part of the system he wouldn’t do what he is doing. Look at the primary election; he decided to move to another place, when the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was not doing what should be done. Thank God he left the PDP, he is the only hope that we have now.

But, people are saying that the Labour Party doesn’t have the structure to win the presidential election…

What structure, are they inanimate objects. He has answered the question and said that the 100 million Nigerians that live below poverty level are his structures; the unemployed youths that have become criminals and girls that have become prostitutes are the structures. The students that have been at home since February due to the strike action of the Academic Staff Union of Nigeria (ASUU), whereas the politicians have shown us the pictures of their children schooling abroad, are the structures. I attended public school, why can’t public schools work, so we are the structures. You can see the tempo and you see the way things are going.

Some people said that it is just a frenzy and that it would soon die off…

Let them underrate our might, if they say it is just a frenzy, why are their media dogs ganging up against Peter Obi. The election is going to be a watershed.

Do you think the movement will be so organised to achieve this?

I am the Convener of Concerned Nigerians for Peter Obi. It is a support group, we have members spread across the federation. We have website, instagram and we are involved in grassroots mobilization for Peter Obi presidency. By the time the campaign starts, we will streamline the support groups. In Benin, Edo State, Labour Party invited our state co-ordinator for a meeting; all the support groups in Edo State had a meeting, we will do it state by state. All the support groups would come together and they will be coordinated so that we will not shoot ourselves on the leg. Obi should not be presented as an Igbo President. Obi is not an Igbo president in waiting; he would be the president of Nigeria. We have a lot of work to do in the north. Like the presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku said that 90% of northern youths are not on the social media, he is correct. So, how do you reach the northern youths, they listen to radio, especially BBC Hausa.

 

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