Well-being of Imo people our priority-Barr Pascal Egbujuo, Secretary, Guild of Imo Elders

Barr Pascal Egbujuo

Barr Pascal Egbujor, is an Owerri based legal practitioner and the Executive Secretary of Guild of Imo Elders. Guild of Imo Elders is an incorporated group with the Corporate Affairs Commission, Abuja. It has as its main objective the development, welfare and well-being of Imo people. In this interview with our Group Editor, AFAM ECHI, Egbujor explains the activities of the group emphasizing its development agenda. He assures that a mega palliative awaits Imolites and admonishes other organizations to join hands to develop Imo.
Who are those on the Board of Trustees?
They are carefully chosen elder statesmen with varied background and immense experience. The chairman of the Guild is Dr. Pascal Dozie (CON). Others include Air Commodore Luke Ochulor (rtd)., Prof Francis Dike, SAN, Major General Collins Ihekire (rtd), Dr. Douglas Acholonu, Engr Charles Ugwuh, Rt.Hon Dr Maxwell Duru. They were selected based on their professional background, immense experience, character and wisdom.
Are they championing any political interest?
The Guild is non-partisan, non-political, independent socio-cultural organization with their registered place of business as No. 1 Kunoch Lane, Item Street Owerri.
What roles are they supposed to play?
These are distinguished men who came around to ensure that Imo State is developed for the welfare and well-being of indigenes. That they are non-partisan means that if any government present is doing well they will commend them. If for any reason that they are not doing well they will also make their opinions very well-known with a view to ensuring that Imo is developed.
To what extent have they played this role since they came into existence given the myriads of issues bedeviling the state especially on governance matters?
You see you have to make a distinction between Imo elders and the Guild of Imo Elders. There are a lot of elders in the communities, in the 3 geopolitical zones of Imo State, Owerri, Okigwe and Orlu. By incorporation, the group was birthed on December 3, 2019. And as elder statesmen they have to take their time to digest it before coming out with a position. Besides, since that period and now what is topical is the issue of Covid-19 which has taken the world, the state, the nation and the African continent by storm. The elders in this Guild don’t rest on their oars. If you have been following trends, you will recall that the Imo Task Force on Covid-19 had a meeting with the Guild’s Board of directors.
What was the meeting about?
They enlightened us on what was on board and the looming danger if people don’t comply with the protocols and regulations of the United Nations on Covid-19. After the meeting they made certain appeals based on the quality of the elder statesmen in the Guild. In our local parlance, Okenye anoghi ano n’ulo ewu amuo n’ogwu (an elder does not stay home and the goat delivers in tethers). In the exercise and expression of the independence of the group, the Guild went back to strategize on the best way they can impact on the welfare and well-being of our indigenes. If you had kept touch with the radio you will hear the jingles. The jingles have been on in the radio to sensitize our people about the dangers and reality of Covid-19. The elders chose to take the bull by the horn. As a follow we did 30,000 customized masks were produced and distributed among the 3 geopolitical zones of the state. That is the first step.
Are there other programs you have on hand?
And I know we are working on Mega palliatives beyond the rice and beans. Already, very soon we will launch our website where people can go and access information on what the Guild is all about. The activities are designed to last beyond the lives of the founders. The website is coming up in a couple of weeks if not days. We also have on our cards an international secretariat complex that would host meetings, conferences, and act as a resource centre for the Guild and indigenes who may be interested to access information. We are already assembling data, reports to hoist on our website. We want to ensure that the program goes beyond the frontiers of Imo State, Nigeria and to the world to get to our indigenes in the diaspora.
It is not in doubt like you remarked earlier that the issue of Covid-19 has overwhelmed activities within the period the group came on board but there have been governance issues in the state which people expected that the Guild should have given a shot or expressed concern about. We are yet to hear their voice?
This is a relatively new group and we are still setting up the structures. We can’t set the cart before the horse and at the same time we must have to look before we jump. We can’t just act on the spur of the moment. The elder statesmen will watch, analyze and internalize certain things before they come out with a position. The structure we are setting up will include people from the various local governments, various town unions etc. So far our preoccupation now is to ensure the lives of our people are preserved by our little contributions against the Covid-19 pandemic.
How is the group funded?
This is through personal donations from members. But if we have credible groups with a spirit of philanthropy giving money to us we can acknowledge it. We are very very concerned about the particular source of finance. We are concerned with dealing with credible people and credible institutions.
Going forward what should we expect from the group in terms of value addition to Imo?
From the objectives we are set up for the development of Imo and to ensure the welfare and well-being of our indigenous people. This is just the beginning of a million mile journey. Very soon we will announce a mega palliative that will affect the lives of Imo people beyond the mere rice and beans thing, beyond the stomach infrastructure, I cannot announce it to you until we have concluded the logistics. It is going to be a mega mega palliative. Anytime it will happen you guys in the media will be put in the know.
Who qualifies to belong?
At the right time we look at our constitution and check. One, the person must have attained the minimum age of 65. Two, the person must be of impeccable character. The person must be accomplished in his area of specialization. Again, the person must never be a convict or have anything to do with crime or allegation of crime.
So far what challenges are confronting the group if any?
So far it is just a typical challenge but not beyond what we can surmount. This is a well thought out group. People are prepared to help our state and even beyond. You will agree with me that the man leading the group and the members of the board of trustees are well accomplished gentlemen. They would like the projects or actions of the Guild to sell the Guild. So many people do not have any idea about us and what we are doing if not for this little palliative of masks donation. We have started on a very good note and we want to make our people do the right thing. Let other groups chip in things because the government alone cannot solve our entire problem. We own the government. We should be part of that government. There will not be any government without the people. Now that we have done this little, we expect that those who have been doing and those that have not to continue. It is our state; everything is for the betterment of our state and our people.
What is your final word now to Imo people?
The Guild has come to stay. Be rest assured that this is the best thing that will happen to the state. It is not something that is going to last like 5 years or more and disappear. It will last beyond our lives. There must be continuity. We want Imo State to be good, well developed for our people based on equity and justice.
Thank you Sir.


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