Apostle Azemobor Gregory is a successful businessman and generous philanthropist. He is the MD/CEO of BethelMendels Group and the founder/president of the Azemobor Gregory Foundation, a charitable organization that helps widows and impoverished children in Nigeria. He also serves as the organizer of the Concerned Nigerians for Peter Obi (CNPO) support group. He revealed details about his humanitarian efforts and role in the “Obidient movement” in an intense interview with the Saturday Telegraph….Excerpt.
When it comes to politics and your foundation, I’m not sure how they can coexist…
My name is Azemobor Gregory, and I am an apostle. My primary interest in politics is driven by my business, which specializes in interior design, landscaping, and manufacturing. However, the economy is affecting my business. I work in manufacturing and employ nearly 100 people; I am a labor employer, so if things aren’t going well in the economy, it affects me.
For example, the exchange rates for the raw materials we import were too high last week, but we thank God that things are now stabilizing. As humans, our lives serve two purposes: calling and career. The foundation is a calling; it is something that comes from within, something that fulfills me; it is a calling and a way of giving back to society. As I previously stated, one must do something to generate income, and once that is accomplished, one is not supposed to live for oneself, but to give back to society.
Individuals can give back to society by participating in charitable activities. Taxation is also a way of giving back to society because the government recognizes that if one makes money, it is expected that the person will pay taxes to the government, which will then be used to take care of the citizens’ needs and to ensure equitable distribution of resources where everyone will be happy.
How long have you been working on this foundation?
I’ve been running the foundation for over 15 years, and our main focus is on widow empowerment and how to help indigent children who are out of school. According to records, there are approximately 13 million out-of-school children in Nigeria because the country lacks social security. In other countries, the government would provide for widows and the vulnerable, but in Nigeria, the moment a woman loses her husband, no one provides for her.
Even if the husband was wealthy, the in-laws would share the wealth with her and most likely leave her with nothing. We were doing N20,000 each to support 13 businesses when we first started about 20 years ago, but due to the current economic situation, we are now giving out N50,000 as a free grant to each of them, thus supporting their children’s education. I can confidently state that we have empowered over 2,000 women in the last seven years. All of our activities can be found on our websites and social media pages.
Is it by man-know-man that the beneficiaries are chosen?
We partner with other like-minded NGOs and foundations. We collaborated with the Police Women Association, as we did with the previous one (POWA). We also have volunteers who go out and find people. Some widows have benefited from our services through associations, which also refer people to us; however, not all widows are impoverished. We look for indigents and profile them; those who are having trouble paying their rents, those whose children are not in school, so that we can assist them. We will assist you if you say you are doing business with N10,000, for example. We also provide counseling because of the emotional trauma they experience when their husbands die. Many of them die psychologically with their husbands.The first step is to breathe life into them.