BY FRANK KINTUM, 16 JULY 2003
Lagos — Moved by the plight of the less privileged in the society and the dilemma of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the face of dwindling funds, a group of entrepreneurs and international businessmen have floated the Jose Foundation.
With the mission statement: “Building Bridges to Eradicate Poverty and Improve Life”, Jose Foundation, according to the initiators, was established to assist governments and charitable organisations in their effort at helping the impoverished peoples of the world.
The organisation seeks to use its vast resources, as well as such funds and contributions it receives from world bodies as government institutions, aid donors and philanthropists to help develop communities in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean Island.
President and Founder of the Foundation, Prince Martins Abhulimhen, said it projects to spend an average of N1b over a period of five years, beginning from this year.
“It has always been our belief at the Foundation that helping a fellow human being, no matter what his condition or ability is, is profitable. We are seriously dedicated to removing poverty from third world communities through the development of such communities. An enabling environment is a panacea for rapid development and consequently economic growth. Our concern is to convert disability to ability.
“Poor nations are increasingly finding it difficult to develop their communities due to the state of the world economy. Aid programmes and donations to such countries over the years have been seriously mismanaged by despotic regimes or corrupt democracies. The funding or benefits do not reach the communities for which they are intended. Our focus at Jose Foundation, therefore, is to directly commit our resources to the education of inhabitants of these communities and the establishment of an enabling environment for development to thrive”,Abhulimhen said .
The Foundation’s strategy is hinged on helping communities to develop and ultimately erase the burden of low and slow growth rates in African economies and strengthen per capita income, which are currently very low for the 21st century global economic trend.
“The foundation will help develop the domestic economies through various development programmes sponsored by the United Nations(UN) and other world organisations. Our scholarship programme for specialised skills will help transfer technology that would make adequate impact in poor communities.
Abhulimahen again: “We are budgeting N1b to be spent in Nigeria for a five-year development programme. The money would be targetted at poverty eradication, donations of NAFDAC registered drugs, funding of scholarships sending out the best of our handicapped, including the blind abroad to learn the art of teaching the blind so that the Braille technology would have become common by the time the schools are set up here; we would help destitutes, NGOs in their quest for funding, and even set up a website (www.josefoundation.org) through which NGOs can register with us for support. A monitoring team based in Geneva, our headquarters, will be coming periodically to see what we are doing, and how judiciously money is being spent”.
On what NGOs would require to qualify for the Foundation’s funding, he said: “we will like to know what they are about, their registration documents, their activities to date, we will also inspect their sites with due diligence, these information we will pass on to Geneva for vetting and scrutiny. Those to benefit will cut across the country, ” saying that it would be ensured that beneficiaries cut across the country.
Born in Lagos on July 31, 1965, the graduate of Economics and Mathematics from the University of Benin, is a 5th generation member of the Abhulimhen dynasty, which put him atop a major conglomerate and financial empire with interest in marine services and transportation, shipping, oil and gas, textiles and finance. Much of his inherited wealth has since more than quadrupled.
A shrewd businessman of international repute, the multi-billionaire prince has over the past decade dedicated his life to philanthropy, reaching out to the impoverished peoples of Asia and the far East, where his vast family wealth came from. With the belief that more must be done in Africa, particularly Nigeria, his home country, the Jose Foundation was established to help bridge the gap between the rich and poor people of Africa.
Mr. Edmund Otudeko holds the position of Vice President of the foundation. A political activist, industrialist and communications consultant, Otudeko was born on December, 28 1961, in London. His involvement in the Foundation stems from his background in international politics. He is a graduate of International Studies from Staffordshire University in Stoke- on-Trent, England.
He is the Chief Executive Officer(CEO),Edmund Consulting, an information technology solutions company, and Chairman, Terminators Inc, a pest and termite control firm, operating in the country.
Chris Ugboke, on the other hand, is the Foundation’s Vice President (North America). A graduate of Business Administration from the Howard University, Washington D.C., Ugboke brings his wealth of experience into the Foundation’s initiative and programmes for the less fortunate peoples of the world.
Ugboke, who is currently with the Washington D.C Department of Health, catering for the mentally ill, where he has been in the past 15 years, is responsible for the Foundations’ scholarship and human resources management programme for the handicapped and less privileged.