Ariam-Usaka Professionals is Apolitical… Prince Eleogu
*National Headquarters to be managed by individuals
*You have abandoned Ikwuano, Gov. Ikpeazu reminded
The National President of Ariam-Usaka Professionals, AUP, Hon. Prince Innocent Iroabuchi Eleogu has decried the rate of setbacks Government projects suffer in the hands of politicians.
In this exclusive interview with Charity Uwakwe of Famousreporters.com, Prince Eleogu disclosed that members of the Club, had consequently, resolved that their National Headquarters which comprises three major components, namely: Library, Skills Acquisition and Conference Centres would be managed by PRIVATE SECTOR and devoid of political INFLUENCE.
According to the President, the edifice which will be situated at Ariam-Usaka is a project for the entire Ikwuano kingdom. He, therefore, assured the people that in the NEAR future, Ikwuano would not only hear, but also witness something different.
Meanwhile, he used the medium to plead with the PDP Government of Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu to allow Ikwuano LGA feel the presence of his Government, lamenting that the area is at a zero level in terms of infrastructure AND GOVERNMENT PRESENCE.
As the NATIONAL president of AUP (ARIAM-USAKA PROFESSIONALS), how do you feel about the achievements and progress made so so far by the club?
Ans: I wonder what you expect me to say when you talk about the Club I’m leading. Before we got to this point, it was hitherto, a tough time bringing these bright minds together as A group ,but as i speaK with you today, aup is a force to reckon with. this status , will become gradually manifest in the months and years ahead . It hasn’t been easy though but I’m sure that other communities in Ikwuano will take on a few lessons from us, when it comes to community development. This is an organization that has no affiliation with any Government body whatsoever and then we have just started. This is an organization that is supporting the Community from their pocket and today, I can assure you that AUP has gained massive recognition; once you mention Ariam Usaka Professionals, even beyond Ikwuano LGA, people open their ears to hear what you are going to say. And I think as the president, we’re going places.
Que: Sir, AUP has evidently existed for a period over 9years, could you share with us your greatest achievements.
Ans: if we go by bruce tuckman, five-state development process. I, guess we are at the norming/performing stage of development, .We have just did our the Foundation laying ceremony. It was a wonderful event. In fact, you needed to be there to understand what we’re talking about; the high and mighty in the society both from the business cycle, political were all there, even those we did not invite, they heard about it and decided to identify with us and the crowd was so massive that the space could barely take all. It was wonderful and the support we got was massive.
I want to believe that no matter what they say about our people, I think they appreciate good things; they saw the goodness in what we’re doing; they saw the progress in what we’re doing and they came without we talking to them; they came around to identify with us even up until today, not fewer than seven persons have walked up to me when to express their regrets for not being present at the event. Some say they were deterred by the state of the road and some complained about the distance. “We love what you are doing and we want to identify with you”.
Que: Sincerely, sir, the erection of AUP National Secretariat, I can say without mincing words, is indeed a gigantic project, please, could you let us know how you intend to actualize this great vision of the Club.
Ans: Well, with the support we have got so far and the willingness of my members to keep supporting this project, as well as the willingness and desire of the public, (I mean the people who have been calling from time to time to say that interested in what we’re doing and are willing to identify with us), I think we are good to go.
Hopefully we may be starting the project from February/March and we’ll run it all through. We’ve made preparations to the extent that we don’t want to drop back and I can tell you that with the help of the people among whom I mentioned earlier who have been supportive, we will get there.
Que: Please, could you tell the people of Ikwuano when exactly they should be anticipating the completion of this edifice
Ans: Honestly, it’s indeed a very mighty project and consequently, I cannot categorically tell you whatever duration we would need to bring it to being. This is because there are always challenges when such things are being done, a lot of factors will always crop in but all I can tell you self-assuredly is that this project takes off from the month of February and as we progress and because it’s a public project, we’ll make reports to the public because we believe it’s a public project and we’ll make it open for people to see how far we have gone with their own support.
Que: Alright, sir, is your refusal to seek support from the government a deliberate act or have you ever solicited support from them, and what have been the results?
Ans: No, we’re not deliberately refusing to seek support from the government, if it comes good and if doesn’t, we keep marching on. The only reason we don’t want to align with politics and politicians is that we don’t want a situation wherein there would be some kind of political influence of some sort. For instance, somebody would wake up to tell you that this is the All Progressives Congress, (APC) or the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP) project. No, we don’t want that. These are the things we are running away from because the project is strictly for the entire Ikwuano kingdom.
Que: Sir, does AUP have political relevance of any sort?
Ans: Not at all! AUP is totally apolitical.
Ques: Please, could you tell us how you go about funding the Club.
Ans: Funding of the Club comes from the Club except now that we have begun to open up. At the moment, funding comes from the pockets of members; there’s no external assistance from anywhere.
So, for everything we do, we task ourselves and I must say that we have very committed members. Because the first criteria for qualification is we must be sure that you have the willingness to make sacrifices and help the needy out there. So, that’s one of the basic conditions for membership. So, the moment we say we are going to build something we key into it fast because we are all made up of people who are willing to give back to the community and I am very proud of them all because they have been very supportive.
But, I believe that with the way we are going about it now, as people start to identify with us, funding will come. I’m certain about that. We took our time to grow the association from nowhere; we grew the association from as little as two members to as many as 68 members as I talk to you now and many people want to join us.
Initially, we wanted to bring ourselves together within our small community before we come to the limelight and now we have decided to make it open and a lot of people are planning to join us.
I want to use this opportunity to thank a good number of personalities who have aligned with us, who have been very supportive. Some of these people are Dr. Nwabunka, the Managing Director of The Grooming, the local government Chairman, Chief Steve Mpamugo, Dee Alex Enyinnaya, who is my Uncle, Hon. Stanley Nwabuisi, the state House member, and a whole lot of other people who call me to say “we love what you are doing”. I must tell you that they really have been so wonderfully supportive.
And let me tell you that the foundation laying ceremony of AUP National Headquarters which we did a few days back, precisely on December 29, When we say Ariam Usaka Professionals, it’s only a name. It’s a structure that’s going to take three components namely: a Central Library that’s going to take the entire Ikwuano even though it’ll be located at Ariam Usaka; second is the Skill Aquisition Centre which is equally for the entire Ikwuano and lastly, the Conference Centre. These are public projects and facilities that will provide for our people. You see, we did this realising that in the time past, when Government establishes these things, management becomes a problem. And so, we have decided to take away Government’s influence and do a private establishment, something that will be managed privately such the usual governmental setbacks occasioned by the nature of politics we do here will not come into play. And I can assure you that in no distant time and at about this time next year, you’ll see and hear about something very different; Ikwuano will see something different;
Que: Sir, could you tell us basically what your major challenges have been since inception and how far you have gone in tackling them:
Ans: Well, like in every project, there are challenges and there will always be challenges, so we were not oblivious of that fact when we started that; we were Sure that these challenges will come. But, I can assure you that by God’s grace, we can always surmount them. In AUP, the major challenge is funding. Like I told you, it’s not easy to go out and keep telling your members to contribute for this or that and that contribution is not going to any member of their family, is not going to anyone of their friends rather it’s coming to the public. Sometimes, it gets too stressful, too disturbing to ask them to contribute. So, the very major challenge we have at the moment is funding but we hope and believe that people who are good-minded so to speak; people who know what it means to support the community, to help those who are helpless will not hesitate to render help because I believe that and like it is said ‘service to mankind is service to God’.
For instance, in the society these days, the reading culture has died you and I know that. In today’s world, some of the young no longer interested in working hard rather they’re now interested in making it fast and we intend to change that orientation and to make them understand that you need to work hard to become whatever you want to be and then impact positively on the society where you live in.
And it’s on this center that these things will continue to change; to bring out all of them out there on the streets indulging in the various kinds of social vices, such drug abuse and addiction, etc. Of course, in recent times, we heard about the one called Mkpuru-mmiri ((Methamphetamine or Crystal Meth) and all of that. So, these are some of the things the society has carelessly allowed these ones to indulge in either directly or indirectly and we want to change this orientation and make them understand that there is something about hard work; that there are rewards for hard work.
Que: Sir, as a prominent son and leader, please, tell us the state of things in your community in relation to security and youths’ restiveness.
Ans: I guess you’re talking about my immediate Community. I think that’s a nice question. Well, prior to the year 2019 when we had Ariam-Usaka Conference, the restiveness among the youths was quite enormous, it was hard to contain. There were various cases of kidnapping, robbery and, of course, I was a victim sometime. But, then, I can assure you that before 2019, we instituted a security outfit, Ariam-Usaka Security which comprised able-bodied young men from the various villages and today, I can assure you that you can hardly hear about restiveness in the community. So, that’s to tell you that AUP had since 2018 and before 2019 when we had the conference, put under a strict check every of such incidents as regards restiveness.
Que: Finally, sir, the long awaited year 2022 has already crept in, what message would you like to send to the good people of Ikwuano, Abia and indeed Nigeria in general?
Ans: Yes, thank you for that question. As we move into the year 2022, let me first of all wish our people the best of the year. Let me equally use this opportunity to plead with the powers that be, the Governments to ensure that we receive the dividends of democracy. Let me use this opportunity to reach out to the Government of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, to let him understand that Ikwuano is suffering, in terms of infrastructure, we’re at zero level. There’s no road as far as I can understand that the state government has done in Ikwuano. At least, you can admit to the fact that the federal road is nothing to write home about. It’s a complete mess. Then go to the hinterlands, go to places like Ariam-Usaka for instance, the roads are practically impassible. Go to Oloko, Umugo Oloko, Ahaba, Azuiyi, I can’t name them all. I cry each time I go on these roads and sometimes, I wish I could go to those areas and take photographs of those places. If it’s possible for government to come into the hinterlands, he would appreciate the fact that we’re really suffering. No light, no roads, no good learning environments, no even water. There’s nothing completely. We’re at zero level in terms of infrastructure. I wish they could understand that they’re leading a people and they’re answerable to the people they’re leading and that it’s their job and duty to provide for the people those basic social amenities. So, sometimes, you don’t blame these youths when they indulge in some kind of lifestyle because the Government doesn’t proven them with any opportunity. So, my wish and prayers are that by this January, 2022, the PDP Government of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu will understand that there is a whole lot for him to do.