Paulcy Iwuala a humanitarian, an indigene of Ehime Mbano in Imo State, southeast Nigeria in this interview with our correspondent Chinyere Ogbonna speaks on his Non-Profit Organisation, Genius Eyes International Foundation For The Hopeless. The primary focus of the NGO is to give hope to the downtrodden in the society who have suffered neglect and have nobody to cater for their basic needs such as health care. Through this foundation Mr. Iwuala has saved many lives and still doing a lot. Mr. Iwuala also spoke on governance in Imo State, his home state and the country at large. He emphasised the need for the youths to wake up from their slumber and begin to take a stand on issues that affect them.
His interest spans fighting for the rights of the youths and what is generally right in the society.
Mr. Iwuala once shot down Owerri, the Imo State capital when he protested against the poor welfare of the low cadre police personnel by the federal government, demanding an increase in their salaries and general welfare package.
He was of the view that there was no way a hungry policeman would be left with a gun and not be expected to transfer his frustration on innocent citizens.
SHOUT-AFRICA: Tell me about yourself. Who really is Paulcy?
PAULCY IWUALA: My name is Paulcy Cyprian Iwuala, I am from Mbano, Ehime Mbano to be precise, the last child of Mr and Mrs Iwuala, whose father is fashion designer named Mansion Tailors, a man whose name was changed to the “breast pocket chief” due to his manner of giving out through his chest pocket sometimes he gives so much that we sometimes end up hungry, so to answer that question who is Paulcy? Paulcy is a nobody without his parents who whatever he is today, he learnt from them and their act of giving and fighting for the rights of the oppressed…!!
SHOUT-AFRICA: You seem to be doing a whole lot of humanitarian works. How did you find yourself doing such huge projects that I have read in the social media that have saved many lives?
PAULCY IWUALA: When I was small, I knew who I would be as much as I never knew it would grow this huge, I remember one time I was playing in Ariaria market Aba, I saw a woman supposedly, a widow, sitting on a trash crying, I tried to pass but I was drawn back somehow by a force of conscience, I then approached her and asked why she was crying, I was so little that the woman looked at me and mumbled some words with this little smile on her face and she said, my son, I don’t know how my children will eat today. I had nothing with me so I went home and collected my mother’s brand new Coroner machine for manual grinding and came back to the market, I spotted her, gave her the machine and told her to use it to be making money. Oh! she wept so much that I had to run away.
Yes, I faced the beating of my life, but I never told them till about a month later, I approached my mom, apologised to her and told her, what actually happened. Oh boy! she cried for laying her hands on me. But she told me something remarkable, she said to me, my son, never use others peoples sweat to give out as donation or a gift unless the person authorised.
So, at the brink of my father’s success when his name was a household name for anyone that wanted to wear the best handmade suits, I went into petty trade ranging from selling sweets, shoe papers, posters, I even remembered doing conductor work hehehe!!! Just to make sure I had my own money to give out when I needed to, and I have this spirit of discerning someone that is truly in need and one that is lying ..
I can’t even count how many people I have impacted their lives, there are so many of them that when I close my eyes, I find myself in a different world from ours in midst of this multitude of people smiling as I was passing, I know it sounds like a movie, but that’s how I feel when I remember it …
SHOUT-AFRICA: Tell me about Operation Feed the Street.
A; Oh well ehmm!! I know that Nigeria’s government is a government that stifle the economy making it impossible for the masses to have a sense of inclusion. A hungry man, they say is a weak man, I started “Operation Feed the Street” to tell them that food only feeds the stomach whereas love is the greatest gift that can conquer anyone and yes, it’s working.
We fed about 5000 people every other month. I’ve got friends who contribute immensely towards the project. By providing foodstuff such bags of rice, tin tomatoes, vegetable oil and a whole lot of other things.
SHOUT-AFRICA; Is the street feeding programme a one-off thing or a continuous process?
PAULCY IWUALA: I do it every two months and we even have another one coming immediately after lovers days, we hoping to spread love throughout the season.
SHOUT-AFRICA: Was it born out of personal experience or you just have empathy or sympathy for others?
A; I wouldn’t say it was born out of experience. As much as we are living in a world where empathy should abound, if you don’t have it in you I doubt you can live through it. Many have ventured in this humanitarian services and they ended up running out and some ended up facing scandals, mostly from misappropriation of funds or in some cases, even duped some ignorant donors, if you have love for charity none of these things will come to you, because it’s about you, your conscience and what you believe in …
I’ve been invited so many times to receive and award in return give them a handout, I refused and I said to myself, if what I’m doing is genuine and it’s from my heart, whatever award I’m receiving must be genuinely on merit and I won’t pay for it like most people do just to seek cheap recognition. Charity must be in you for you to be able to give to another.
SHOUT-AFRICA: You just made a point here. Many give awards to individuals to raise funds and not in appreciation of their kind gestures to humanity. For me, I do not recognise such awards as deserving. Are you saying that you have been offered such awards and you turned it down?
PAULCY IWUALA: Yes
SHOUT-AFRICA: How do you get connected to some of the beneficiaries of your humanitarian projects? Do they come to you or you hear about their cases and choose to identify with them?
PAULCY IWUALA: Both ways, sometimes they write me or call me, I get to read their cases and examine them, sometimes, I find them in the social media platforms such as Facebook and I run to them, especially when the cases are serious. However, not like any case requires less attention, but, some cases are redeemable and cash inflow is low.
There is no limitations, I travel to northern states, southern, rivers and Imo communities, I travel to places I’ve never been to before to meet with people living with some of these medical conditions. Sometimes, it’s adventurous, sometimes its risky as you can feel but we keep pushing because it’s the religion I’ve chosen.
SHOUT-AFRICA: For how long have you been in the business of touching lives?
PAULCY IWUALA; I would say all my lives, the only difference is the scale of things I do then and the ones I do now, I’ve lived in China and I’ve done charity works there, lots of our brothers in China that came there and got stranded I took them in, you know how people invite you over and when you come in, they switch off their numbers on you. Oh yea! it happens like that, people get to call from Guangzhou Airport hey Dj Paulcy there is a stranded Nigerian here can you do something about him before the authorities starts to question him or deport him back? , I’ll just go and bring in the person and voila in a few months he is liberated and go about his own duties, I did it for 10’s of people there, so, I would say, charity is what you make of it and I’ve spent all my life doing it because there is no greater joy than when you help your fellow man and watch him smile back at you eyeball to eyeball…
SHOUT-AFRICA: What has the experience been like?
PAULCY IWUALA: It’s the greatest feeling, As I said earlier, it’s a very great feeling when you hold a man up and watch him stand eyeball to eyeball, or watch the person die without fear in their eyes, sometimes some patients are aware that they can’t make it, but you know what they are scared, but then you come to help him/her that period you are there trying to make them feel loved, they feel strengthened, they know they’ll die but they feel good knowing that there is love all over them, I’ve got a rare case where I was traveling to Lagos for a case of a certain girl who had a stage 4 cancer in the process I had an accident, I broke my legs in God is Good Motors along Ore Road, I called her and told her the situation, she cried so bitterly but I told her I won’t stop checking up on her, we spoke every morning and every night, despite the pains I was going through, and every day she looked forward to the call it kept us going this was a girl they said would not survive a week or 2 without a chemo going through months and holding up just because of the love she felt, well after my surgery 2 days later I insisted I must travel from Abuja to Lagos to see her which I did. On getting there still on wheelchair and crutches we met for the first time it was heart-warming we sat at the back of my friend’s car and chatted for some hours before embarking on our health mission.
Just immediately after raising enough money and securing her visa, she died a night before then, and her last words to her mother was, “HEY! I’M STRONG AND BETTER NOW. PLEASE TELL MR. PAULCY THAT I’M DYING A BETTER WOMAN. AND IN NO ACCOUNT SHOULD BE GIVE UP GIVING LOVE THE NEEDY. SOMETIMES, IT IS NOT JUST ABOUT MONEY BUT BEING THERE FOR THAT SOMEONE THAT YOU DO NOT KNOW YET, YOU HOLD THEIR HAND IN SOLIDARITY TO FIGHT WITH THEM AND TELL AND TELL THEM, I LOVE YOU” And she died a few hours later.
SHOUT-AFRICA : This is quite touchy. How did you feel and what did those words mean to you?
PAULCY IWUALA: Well it was a storm of emotions. But then, we must move on
SHOUT-AFRICA: Getting involved in an auto crash and braking one of your legs, trying to show love to another, did that deter you in any way?
PAULCY IWUALA: Not at all
SHOUT-AFRICA: How do you source funds for the kind of humanitarian assistance that you render to people?
PAULCY IWUALA: Social Media, especially Facebook have helped a great deal towards that, and also I happen to have lots of friends and brothers in the diaspora, they reach out to me when I call for help, some of them here too assist when there is this call, I just put up these cases and they respond, depending on how sympathetic the cases are, or how you make your appeal or how convincing you sound with these cases, as you need to stress it more because you need to dig in more to some people’s conscience before getting a response from them, so mostly it is through online and through reaching out directly to them through phone calls or messages as some people prefer to remain anonymous.
SHOUT-AFRICA: Do you get supports from International donor agencies?
PAULCY IWUALA: No, I’ve not, neither have I reached out to any, the reason is because I saw no need for it at a time, due to the fact that I was getting most of the help needed around, but sometimes people get tired of giving because the truth of the matter is sometimes life gets hard and you just withdraw to work more, so No I’ve not at the moment but hopefully soon, because there are so many cases that need my attention but I just watch and do the ones I can do..
SHOUT-AFRICA: What’s your plan for the future?
SHOUT-AFRICA: Recently you made an outpour in the social media over the docile nature or attitude of Imo youths towards what is going on in the state. What prompted that?
PAULCY IWUALA: A lot of things prompted that, if I start naming them the time won’t be enough for us, but then, these are called youths, the bible even said the days of youths are like drunken days, filled with strength and wisdom, it’s a period you have to lay a foundation for your children and your old age. But look at our youths today due to the suffering they are going through, in the hands of our wicked politicians they decided to be ass lickers, and no more call a spade a spade, they carry bags around for politicians and call it serving poverty so that afterwards, they would be given a stipend or portfolios. As a result, they are weak, and have turned themselves to killing machines, they went to school, trained by their father’s sweat, came out intelligently, only to use their skills to fight for a government that have been is destroying them. In Imo state, different parliaments were formed around the students to be able to be used as platforms to speak their minds and problems to the government so they could be heard, do their bidding as students and determine the future of the state and the nation at large, but unfortunately hunger made them bend because they lack dignity and principles. With a N100,000 you can get 100 youths to do a rally for you that is bullshit selling yourself for as cheap as 1000 Naira as a prostitute, I mean the worst of them wouldn’t collect that amount for a short time with her, but our youths would and go home happy. That is the reason I’m waking them up from their slumber to take their rights and that’s the reason for these movement …
SHOUT-AFRICA: Which movement is that?
PAULCY IWUALA; It’s called Grand Revolutionary Youth Movement…
SHOUT-AFRICA: What do you stand to achieve with this movement?
PAULCY-IWUALA: To reawaken the consciousness of the youths that is high time they took what is theirs. Look!.no government, no matter the government can exist without the people in it standing up, if all youths all over the country sit on the floor without movement and demand a constant light in Nigeria I’m sure it will be fixed in a week’s time, but those in government know, that they are dealing with bunch of cowards that cannot stand for their rights, so they don’t care. This movement is poised to reap out the soul of every youth and make them numb till there would be something worth feeling in this country
SHOUT-AFRICA: You do not seem to be satisfied about something either with the youths or the ruling government, is that correct?
PAULCY IWUALA: Are you satisfied in the country you are in? I bet your answer would be a capital NO, of course there is nothing to be happy about in this state Imo state and the entire country as it is, as much as I’m not happy with the leading government, I don’t care about them, my concern is based on the youths, how can they settle for whatever is giving to them, even in my house, I fight for my own food, if food is being shared and everyone’s own is much bigger than mine, I won’t eat mine until my mother adds more to it, then I’ll settle and eat, how then will our mother land serve us shit and we will bring out cutlery and eat it, how? This is the height of indignation the worst of it, they bring the youths in this country so low and reduce us to Mat and match on us as they please while we watch in awe of the display of their own children’s wealth …
PAULCY IWUALA: What is it that you are not satisfied with? And what would you like to see change in the state?
PAULCY IWUALA:What is there to be happy about in our state? Except the widened road that took forever to build with inferior materials, or the government before this one that was named a “Chop I Chop government.
In this present government, what is good about it? Is it the pension payment? Is it the health sector? Is it the manner of which allocation is giving to petrol/gas plant owners to build in our residential areas and commercial areas, that is going on and killing people but no one to be held accountable? if you go to DPR they’ll point at the state government, if you go to the state government, they would point at OCDA when you get there they’ll refer you to the DPR, last time I did a protest in DPR he claimed it does not concern them that we should refer it to the government of Rochas Okorocha. Channels Television was there, but then I could not even get to watch and that’s sad because we know how these things go.
SHOUT-AFRICA; If your concern is the situation of things in the state, where pensioners, contractors are owed, what are you doing to bring about change in governance in Imo?
PAULCY IWUALA: I’m saying my concerns are more than what is mentioned above there, my opinion won’t be superior to other youths. All I want is for the youths to come under one voice and state their basic needs and we will all take to the streets and force it out of the hand of this wicked politicians, if the youths stand up for their fathers and every youth comes out in solidarity and shut down the state for 3 days or more, I’m sure these fathers will start receiving alert on their phones… If we demand that the health sector be improved, we take to the streets and gradually things will be done, if it is electricity which is very paramount for students and youths of this state and the country at large, to be inventors but NO! they are sitting on it because top personalities import generators into the country and stop the government from doing the needful. If we take to the streets it will be achieved if we speak with one voice. We must stop this cowardice and stand for what rightly belongs to us.
SHOUT-AFRICA: What’s your take on not too young to rule Bill?
PAULCY-IWUALA: I see it as a great movement, but before this rules in other countries, they older ones did well in their capacity, what’s wrong with ours? As I said, I don’t care who rules if they like they should be 120 years old or a 6 years old child, I don’t care, my bone of contention is, whatever the need of youths of this country are, should be met. They include a steady electricity supply, some better roads, stopping of the killings by the herdsmen, the diversion of state and Paris funds, the health sector and their ineffectiveness in saving lives, especially the act of paying money before administering medications in federal hospitals. Save a life first and every other thing will fall in place. The transportation that has crippled many, gas plants in our commercial areas and homes and a lot of other things …