James Ibechi

Special report: The birth of Ainu Elite Foundation

Prof. Oto Okwu, President, AEF

If community must grow, everyone’s hand must be on deck. Government’s efforts alone are inadequate. This realization has brought Ainu elite under one development umbrella with the aim to raise the socioeconomic and political development of Ainu, a community in Oju LGA of Benue state. JAMES IBECHI reports the birth of Ainu Elite Foundation.

December 18, 2021 marked the birth of Ainu Elite Foundation (AEF) and the inauguration of pioneer national executive council (NEC) which will pilot the affairs of the foundation for the next two years also took place in the twin event.

The NEC comprises Prof. Oto Okwu, President; Dr. Samuel Omachi, Vice-President; Dr. John Egbere, General Secretary; Dr. Andrew Ugboji, Assistant General Secretary; Architect Dominic Angwa, Financial Secretary; Pharmacist Jones Odubia, Treasurer and Barrister Jonah Abari, Legal Adviser.
Other members of NEC include Dr. Achokwu Idaa, Intervention, Research and Development officer; Pastor Jairus Enyi, Social Secretary; Eng. Josiah Ahueyi, Provost; Mr.Uhiah Jay, Auditor; Ode Emmanuel Okoh, Public Relations officer, while Professor Idugba Echi and Amos Ekirigwe constitute Trustees.

Justice David Igo of Benue State Judiciary administered the Oath of Office to the NEC members while Barr. Ocha Ulegede chaired the twin event that held at Amos Ekirigwe home in Makurdi and participation was both by hybrid and virtual for local and Diaspora members of the group.

The two learned men were in the event as special guests.
While DSP (Mrs) Comfort I. Ode (rtd) was Chairlady and Hon. Silas U. Ogbaji Father of the Day, other dignitaries at the event including Dr. Ben Okpa, President-General, Ominy’Igede (represented by Mr Andrew Eru), Surveyor Jonas Eje, Chairman, Ainu Development Association, Makurdi Branch and Elder Elijah Adegwu witnessed the event.

In a post-inauguration speech, Prof. Okwu stated that AEF was established to unite Ainu elite at home and in the Diaspora, to chart ways forward for the socio-economic growth and development of Ainu community in Oju LGA, Benue State in particular and Igede in general.

The pioneer president of AEF said that AEF is by no means a competitive organization or a duplication of Ainu Development Association (ADA), but complementary body to it, aiming at moving the community forward.

He pointed out that the group is made up of Ainu sons and daughters of integrity in academia and other noble professions in public and private sectors that could be a Think Tank to address challenges and topical issues of interest to Ainu and Igede in general.

He said that one of the objectives of AEF is “to encourage entrepreneurship development and provide useful information on available employment opportunities for our teeming unemployed youths and discourage child trafficking and labour migration, particularly to Western Nigeria (Ukwurumi).”

The don stated that the AEF is apolitical, but could assist in providing political, educational, socioeconomic and security counsel and directions for Ainu community.

The special guests delivered goodwill messages including congratulations to AEF on its take-off and admonished the group to focus on its developmental mission and be a role model for other associations in Igedeland.

A highpoint of the event was a paper titled, ‘Redefining Elite’s role in Community Development Process: A charge to the Inaugurated National Executive Council of Ainu Elite Foundation’, presented by a member of NEC, Dr. Achokwu Idaa. The paper gave a brief history and organizational structure of Ainu as a people as well as the community’s role in the development of Igede nation. It stressed the need to purge Ainu elite of pride, hatred, greed, acrimony and all other vices that could inhibit growth and development were pointed out.

Dr. Idaa’s paper tasked AEF to free Ainu from ignorance, poverty, diseases and squalor.

How AEF all started
Sometime in February 2021, two illustrious sons of Ainu mooted an idea to bring together Ainu elite at home and in the Diaspora to chart the way forward for socioeconomic growth and development of Ainu community in particular and Igede in general.
The idea received overwhelming support of many who now constitute the pioneer or foundation members of the organization.
“To the glory of God, the process took less than a year,” said Prof. Okwu.

Mission statement of AEF
Ainu Elite Foundation is established to unite Ainu elite at home and in the Diaspora to chart the way forward for the socio-economic growth and development of Ainu community.

Prof. Okwu the president of the foundation in a chat with jamesibechi.com said: “The forum, by no means, is a competitive one or a duplication of Ainu Development Association (ADA), but complementary to it in moving Ainu forward. The group is made up of Ainu sons and daughters of integrity in academia and other noble professions in public and private sectors.
“The Forum provides opportunity for Ainu elite to know themselves better and for the purpose of unifying and sharing their brotherhood aspirations. It is a Think Tank to address challenges and topical issues of interest to Ainu in particular and Igede in general.”

Specific objectives of AEF
The cardinal and specific Objectives of Ainu Elite Foundation are to a release made available to jamesibechi.com are as followed.
1. Provide a platform for possible roles each member could play from the backdrop of professional competence, experience and expertise towards promoting the development of Ainu.
2. Provide an opportunity to unify and share brotherhood aspirations among members and Ainu in general.
3. Provide visionary road map for peaceful co-existence, security, socio-economic growth and political aspirations of AINU clan.
4. Serve as a Think Tank for addressing topical issues of interest to Ainu.
5. Undertake intervention Research and Development tasks that would put Ainu on a national and global map through collaborations with relevant development partners.

Core values
The press statement states the core values of the foundation to include the followings.
‘i. We place the Almighty God, the invisible builder and enabler, at the centre of our activities.
“ii. We tread the path of honour, humility, honesty, integrity and accountability in our service to Ainu on which we place high premium above personal interest.
” iii. We strive to build a new Ainu Clan with a bond of unity and synergy of our individual knowledge, expertise, experiences and professional competencies.
” iv. We value all aspects of sacrificial giving by our members towards the development of Ainu and Igede.
Immediately after the inauguration ceremony, a maiden meeting of the foundation’s NEC was held. The council set up a Blueprint Development Committee to develop an inclusive and detailed blueprint for the foundation.
“A three-man budget committee was also constituted to draw up the 2022 budget which would be presented for approval to the General House at its next meeting.

Categories: James Ibechi

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