‘We Have A Responsibility To Assist Government Attain Certain Goals’
The League of Imo Professionals is an organisation of top professionals from Imo State who came together to see what we could do for the State by augment government efforts, especially in the area of job creation. We hope to combine resources together to invest in the state through the establishment of corporations, which the government would later latch on to increase the states Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). By the time the institutions are in place and people are empowered, more money will accrue to the state because they will remit taxes to the government. Our coming together is also geared towards finding a solution to the shipping of talents outside the state.
The major industry in Imo State is education. And every year, more than 70 per cent of these talents migrate from the state to seek for greener pasture elsewhere. Meanwhile, if the state wants to develop, there is the need for us to put some lasting institutions in place to absorb the talents produced by the state to take it to the next level and that is what the LIP has set out to achieve. We believe that harnessing these potentials will help us to achieve the goals that have brought us together.
However, I want to stress that the organisation is completely non-partisan. We don’t belong to any political party and will remain neutral in the political affairs of the state. However, We are not against government. We only want to complement government efforts at footing the state well. So, it is like a symbiotic relationship. But the most important thing is that we really want to assist in job creation in the state because we believe that failure to harness the potentials of the unemployed youths will not be best for the state.
Why is the body being launched in Imo at this stage of the socio-political and economic development of the state or do you just want a body similar to the League of Anambra Professionals (LAP)?
The League of Anambra Professionals (LAP) has existed for years and I have been opportuned to attend many of their functions. I follow their programmes so closely and know their impacts they are making in their state. So, we also felt that since theirs’ is effective, it is also imperative that we replicate the same in Imo State. We believe that if it is working in Anambra, it will also work in Imo.
We have been holding meetings since last year trying to marshal out our programmes. But this is our first time of going public and we wish to let other professionals from the state know that there is now a body where we could come together and brainstorm on how to move the state forward. Government cannot do it alone and all of us cannot be in politics. So, it is our conviction that we as members of the civil society have a responsibility to assist government to attain certain goals. I believe that this is the right time. It is still not late.
Is this body the same as the one that has been in the news for some time now?
We are registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). So, any other body claiming to bear the name is neither known to us nor by the law. This is the only LIP that legally exists in the country and we want people to always bear that in mind or else they would be deceived.
How do you hope to achieve your vision being a non-partisan organisation, especially in the area of job creation?
We plan to float a company in due course where there will be placements by members and other citizens of the state. We have intelligent people who can manage these funds. We are not sourcing funds from government. We will try to get some placements within us from which we would put some of the institutions in place. The institutions are going to be sustainable and will mature to bring up other institutions.
Today, people are talking about Independent Power Stations (IPP) but we had in Imo State during the Sam Mbakwe administration. A lot of industries had come up in the state but those industries are no more. We have that Imo spirit in us. We had on our own built an airport. We also believe that we can recreate the state to prepare it for the challenges ahead.
What obstacles do you envisage in the process?
We have told our members that any person who has interest in partisan politics should resign now because this is not a political organisation. That is the only area we envisage problem if we do not get it right at this teething stage. That is why we screen anybody that wants to join. So, we are conscious of that and will leave no stone unturned to ensure that we don’t derail this great opportunity we have to make a difference in our state.
In the area of funding, we believe that people who believe in this vision will latch on it and when that happens, there would certainly be no funding problems.
What is the qualification for membership?
Any indigene of Imo State from the age of 18 and above who has a proven means of livelihood. We don’t admit criminals or fraudsters. We want only credible people on board.
What is the membership strength of the organisation currently?
We just launched in Lagos. But we know quite well that with time, the number would increase. As you observed earlier, our brothers in Anambra State have a similar organisation, so it is not a new concept. The most important thing is to pass the message to professionals from Imo State and let them know what we stand for and people who believe in selfless service for the state would come on board. We had done it before and we believe that we can do it again.
Will there be areas of collaboration between the organisation and the South East Nigeria Economic Commission (SENEC)?
For now, I don’t know but I am also optimistic that there would be the possibility of collaboration at the regional level in future. At the moment, we want to get our feet on the ground after which we can begin to collaborate at the regional level.
What your message to the people of the state, especially professionals?
They must embrace this idea. Let us see how we can recreate the state and revive the ailing industries and even build more. We need to come together and put some lasting institutions in place. There is no way we can be talking about moving the state to the next level when the brightest brains it produces are leaving for greener pastures because there is nothing around to absorb them. There is nothing novel about what I am saying because it had been done before. So, let us go back to work and do it again.