Helping the underprivileged and championing for the cause of the marginalized is the soul of which Andus Humanitarian Foundation was born. The Non-Governmental Organization which started unofficially over 10 years ago by Prince Jimoh Olawale Akande ANDUS, the Asiwaju Eluku of Ikorodu has kicked start its humanitarian tour today, 29th of March 2015 being his birthday. Speaking to newsmen, Prince Jimoh Olawale explains reasons behind the foundation.
How long have you been into philanthropy?
I have been doing this for many years without informing or announcing it to anyone even the press. The organisation was started over 10 years ago with no grants from any quarters. The unveiling is my kinsmen doing with everything documented. This is why I called my friends and supporters to come together to form the foundation.
Most foundations have a particular target group they seek to help, which specific group will ANDUS foundation be helping?
This foundation is not marginalised. Whoever comes through the foundation will be helped. It is to bring succour to the downtrodden and battered. Students won’t be left out as WAEC, JAMB & GCE forms will be distributed yearly. So we have come to help. If it is based on a particular group, only people with a particular issue would ask for help. I want to form an organization that will help whoever comes to me.
As a philanthropist of over 10 years, what are the challenges you have faced so far in the course of your humanitarian service?
I have encountered many challenges in helping people, at times people I will get calls on the phone with different tales and later discover those were lies.
I was at my home in Lagos about 4 months ago; someone called that his wife was operated upon and needed money. I deposited N100,000 into his account only to discover the said wife wasn’t pregnant. I was annoyed but had to let it go. This is who Prince Jimoh Olawale Andus is, a giver!
Funding is an important part of an NGO. How do you intend to sustain it?
Like I told you, I started philanthropy over 10 years ago. Everything I’ve one and still doing for people has always been from my hard earned money. It is a way of giving back to the society and also saying Thank You God for all i have. I’ve never begged for money. I do everything by myself and that is how it will continue to be. That is what has brought this occasion because I was helping people and didn’t have any written document on it. Even I organized a football match but not media was around for coverage. I’m quite popular in my circle. And henceforth, anyone that need my assistance would have to go through the foundation. People call me on the phone and say ‘Alhaji I have a problem’, I will assist you on what God has given me. But now I want it documented so that it would not be abused. My phone number is worldwide. It is spread worldwide, even in London. I was in London last year and I did a radio program in which I donated for them there. There is another I did in Houston, Texas. The mayor of Texas had to call me by all cost because of my helping hand and wrote to me, my house, office and my shop because I donated money to them and assisted them on a course.
Would you say this foundation has some political undertone considering the current political atmosphere?
Laughs.. Anything pertaining to the election, the foundation is not for that use. It was formed for assistance. As you see I don’t have any flag of any political party here but I wish almighty God to protect and give as a good government.
As a philanthropist with huge credibility amongst the people in Ikorodu and beyond, so many politicians would want to identify with you to gather support, what would be your response to them?
They have been coming. We sit and talk together. You know for someone who just unveiled a foundation, you’ll need people around you. If anyone comes I would attend to them, that is how it should be.
With a very tight schedule, how do you balance your time as a family man, business mogul and philanthropist? Not to mention relaxation?
I try as much as i could to balance my time. Everything has its own division. I am a responsible family man who’s equally a serious businessman. I get relieved as my wife and Personal assistance handle some part of my business. And to tell you; i do come to my home town here in Ikorodu to relax and also attend to other matters. Then at other times when I’m tensed and really do need time off, i travel to America which is my 2nd home and i don’t spend more than 2 weeks, mostly 7 days. I travel with my children who are always with me. I am a Chelsea fan as well. I am presently the Lagos island Chelsea fan Chairman. I am recognized everywhere.
As an emerging royal father of Ikorodu, will the foundation cater for only the Ikorodu people?
The foundation is worldwide or do you want me to put ANDUS worldwide on it (he laughs). The foundation is worldwide and we will definitely put that in registration. For someone that goes to Europe, USA, UK, such won’t be known in his home. And that’s the primary reason why my relatives, friends, family and supporters are part of the committee.
The chairman of the foundation, Olatunji Oyebanjo, who is also the Baale of Eyita in Ikorodu gives some insight into the projects they will be handling.
Would you be working with any international organization?
Yes. We intend to collaborate with people who share our vision. He has an intention to build an old people’s home just to take care of the aged. They are neglected at a certain age most when their children are not around or have gone for greener pastures and they would be left alone to cater for themselves. We have a genuine intention build and we’ll definitely incorporate with international donors.
So many foundations suffer low credibility because they are used for selfish reasons, how will this be different?
This is why we are different. We are not relying on donor agencies for now. We can go into partnership. And i can assure you; this NGO won’t die because we are friends of Andus Humanitarian Foundation.
As the chairman of the committee, what system would you adopt to ensure that those you’re offering help to are genuinely in need of help?
There is no perfect system, there’s bound to be flops in certain areas, what we want to do is to ascertain those truly in need; for example, we’ll be assisting the less privileged whose parents cannot afford exam forms. When you are educated, your future will be simpler than the illiterates’. We will take out time to do feasibility studies and come out with recommendations so people won’t take advantage of the foundation.