Mr Fred Oghale Edoreh need no much introduction as far as the Nigeria leadership political space is concern.
He is a native of Umeh in Isoko south local government area of Delta State and he is a veteran journalist who has impacted positively on the people and in furtherance to boost his acceptability, he ventured into a little politics and he was elected twice as secretary and two times as chairman of sports writers association of Nigeria (SWAN) Lagos State chapter where his leadership qualities displayed during this period endeared him to many, nationally and internationally and today his views are being sort accros the globe.
In this interview with Isoko mirror, he indicated his interest to lead his people and bares his mind on why he took the decision to contest for the chairmanship position of the Isoko south local government area of Delta State under the platform of the peoples Democratic party PDP.
Sir, kindly give us a brief introduction of yourself?
My names are Mr Fred Oghale Edoreh, I am proudly Isoko, from Ototie Quarter of Umeh town.
I grew up in Oleh where my parents settled and it has remained our second home. My late father, Chief MHB Edoreh, was Chief Agricultural Officer in the zone and later a councillor under the council chairmanship of High Chief Iduh Amadhe, now the President General of IDU. My mother was a teacher, now retired.
I had my secondary school education at Mater Dei College, Ashaka, did Lower Six at St Patrick College, Asaba, and proceeded to Bendel State University, Ekpoma for my Bachelor’s degree in English and Literary Studies.
I did my youth service as a producer and presenter at Radio Benue Makurdi. I returned to take up teaching appointment at Emede Grammar School. That was how I met my wife, Okezi, the daughter of Pastor Josiah Eru who was Chairman of Local Education Authority under Bashorun Askia Ogieh as Chairman of the council.
I left Emede for Lagos and was first employed as Researcher/Reporter at Newbreed Magazine. That was where I cut my teeth in journalism, growing to Senior Writer and later Editor. I left for a special project in Kano for two years and returned again to Newbreed Magazine, from where I moved to work as producer, presenter, analyst and editor in various other media organisations like Silverbird Television, Midwest Times, National Mirror etc.
At a point I opted for self-employment in journalism and veered into independent production on radio and television as well as internet publishing, specialising in sports.
As a sports journalist, I was privileged to have been elected twice as Secretary and twice as Chairman of the Lagos chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) and a badged member of the International Association of the Sporting Press.
With the experience of buying airtime and sourcing sponsorship and advertisements for my own programmes, I went full time into sports marketing which entails sourcing funds for various sports federations, teams, events and programmes.
My company, Westcoast Projects, is currently an official marketing partner of the Nigeria Paralympic Committee, the Nigeria Amputee Football Federation, the Para-Athletics Federation of Nigeria and also the official radio broadcast management partner of the Nigeria Professional Football League. I however still run an internet publishing outfit, Sportstalkafrica.com.
I am involved with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry as a member of the Arts, Sports and Entertainment Business Development Sub-Committee as well as a Resource Person in the Lagos Chamber of Commerce International Arbitration Centre, LACIAC.
The sports environment has accorded me the opportunity to travel extensively across the world while the challenge of raising funds for the various sports marketing portfolios signed with us has also afforded me the opportunity of various contacts and the knowledge of the workings of the organised corporate sector.
It is very clear and obvious that you want to contest for the chairmanship position of the Isoko south local government area under the platform of the PDP, what inspired you to have taken that decision?
It is natural to grow into higher and higher levels of responsibility. After your parents have taken care of you from cradle to graduation, you begin to take care of yourself, after which you begin to take care of your family, both immediate and extended.
As you grow, you begin to feel a sense of responsibility for your total environment, including where you live, your professional arena, your home community, your local government, your state, your country and humanity at large.
I have done some bit for my professional circle as Lagos SWAN Chairman, having championed the training of members in several areas, the completion and equipment of the Lagos SWAN Secretariat building, first of its kind across the country, and launching the Lagos SWAN Housing Scheme for which over 60 members are now property owners, also first of its kind across the country.
I have also done some bit in sports marketing. Besides serving in various national committees and programmes for the development of sports, I am humbly proud to have raised funds for the Nigeria Amputee Football team to attend the World Amputee World Cup in Mexico, for the first time in their history, after they had failed to attend three previous editions due to lack of funds. I also subsequently raised funds for them to attend the Africa Amputee Football Nations Cup the following year in Angola.
However, while doing those things, I developed a compelling concern on affairs in my community, the prosperity of Isoko land and our state and, since 2011, I began to get involved to contribute to development and issues in my home community and state. It is such that even being outside government, I have used my contacts to attract a few projects to my local community.
I am also proud, for instance, to have contributed to the setting up of the media platform for the relaunch of the Delta State Principals Cup which has now come to stay as the biggest and best in the country.
But more than these, having followed the politics of the country, especially in this dispensation, I have been concerned that our people remain politically focused and not distracted by the new propagandist tendencies. So, we make sure to be part of the political process at home.
An assessment of the corpus of national conversations has challenged me to the need to begin to prepare our people to be self reliant in all ramifications, to reposituon our local economy, build our own destiny and protect our future as a people.
As you can see, the economy is dwindling, federal allocations are getting lower by the months due to fall in the price and sales of crude oil. The conversations around the development of the Niger Delta either on the NDDC or Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs have been very disappointing. Worst is that, despite our huge deposit of crude oil which has continued to contribute to the national income, our people have been sidelined in the oil industry.
So, while our leaders and elders continue to engage the government in our usual constructive, peaceful and civilised manner for a redress, these revelations indicate to me that we cannot remain relying on the national system for the development of our home land. We have to take our destiny in our hands.
My mission is therefore to begin to reorganise our communities towards re-engineering our local economy to regenerate productivity, wealth creation and provide better life for our people to be able to stand the present and coming vagaries.
This will involve new drives and the creation of global relationships to elevate our agriculture, elicit the emergence of agro allied industries, retool education, health, infrastructure and social amenities and such other critical requisites for development, growth and progress of our land.
It is not a day’s job but we need to begin to build the blocks now and I believe that with my exposure, experience, contacts and relationships build over the years, locally and internationally, across sectors and in government, I can lead this process of redesign and redevelopment.
Now that the primary election of your party, PDP is yet to hold, what are your assurances that you will emerge victorious, looking at the pedigree of other aspirants?
I am glad you recognise the high pedigree of many aspirants in our party for the local government chairmanship. That attests to the quality of the membership of the PDP.
From time, we have been blessed with quality persons in the leadership of the local government and it will remain so.
As par picking the party ticket, I trust in the judgement of our party leaders, elders, executives and delegates to settle for who can deliver on the job. The PDP has a strong character and focus on development as you can see from the way Governor Okowa is driving the process of building a Stronger Delta.
All local government chairmen need to be part of that drive and I come with a wealth of experience in managing men and material. You probably will know that journalists are among the most difficult people to manage and I have done that in a very competitive environment.
I have been exposed to development issues by virtue of my professional practice, travels and interactions with corporate leaders and institutions in the course of my business. As you know, sponsorship marketing is about fund generation and it requires resourcefulness and clear sense of objective to meet the needs of clients and to ensure return on investment for partners. It was not for fun that I was brought into the business development sub-committee of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and also as resource person of the chamber’s international arbitration centre.
So I am at home with sourcing and managing resources for development as well as dealing with diverse interests.
As an undergraduate, I drove taxi to support my family income. That availed me the opportunity of knowing and making friends across all Isoko communities. So I have the school and the street. Besides being a native of Umeh, like I said, Oleh is our has second home. I married from Emede and we have strong family relationships in Igbide, Enwhe, Olomoro, Irri, Aviara and Uzere. So, everywhere is home for me and the communities can be sure of fairness and equity in service delivery.
Also, by virtue of my background in sports, I am a youth person. I understand the needs, cravings, temperaments and sentiments of the youths to be able to meaningfully engage and harness them.
As you can also see from my marketing business engagements, I have worked especially for organisations of persons with disability, so I understand the terrain and have demonstrated deep commitment to the upliftment of the less privileged and poor.
I believe that our leaders will see that I come with a special set of experiences and skills and, given the prevailing national economic climate, would consider me very useful to lead the team needed to provide solutions for the challenges of redeveloping our homeland.
If, eventually you emerged victorious as the candidate of your party PDP, do you think you and your party can defeat the APC and its candidate, looking at the strength and acceptance of APC in Isoko in the recent time?
On the contrary, APC is not accepted and have no strength in Isoko land.
Isoko people are very godly and conscient, and they know that the APC is just a contraption of propaganda, deception and rudderless leadership which is progressively running our country aground.
Our people can feel the shrinking of the economy under the APC whose leadership have shown to have no clue nor intellectual capacity to address development issues.
Our people know that, in the beginning, they were promised reduction in fuel pump price but when the APC got to power, they turned round to increase the price.
Our people know the danger in the ongoing unprecedented piling of debts on the nation, to the extent that the conversation now is whether they have not signed away our national sovereignty to foreign creditors.
Our people are dismayed with the conversation surrounding the wicked mismanagement of funds meant for the development of the Niger Delta and all the drama taking place at their probe.
Our people are also shocked with the revelations of corruption surrounding the leadership of the EFCC which is supposed to be their flagship agency for fighting corruption. Everywhere you turn your nose on APC smells corruption.
Our people know that the rudderlessness of the APC government has given vent to the menace of herdsmen attacking our communities, farms and killing people.
Our people are civilised democratics and they know that the APC does not believe in democracy. They know that just as the party at the national level is the property of a few individuals, each of its constituencies belongs to single persons. You can see what Oshiomole brought into Edo State due to their characteristic indiscretion and arrogant godfatherism. It is by same manner that the insistence of single individuals deprived them of participating in the last elections in Rivers and Zamfara states. You also saw the chaos in the change of the national chairman of their party.
How can our people be part of such a party?
APC is a misnomer in Isoko land, Delta State and the Niger Delta, and Nigerians as a whole are now seeing that it was a huge mistake to have elected the party at the national level.
Our people cannot fall to such low as accepting APC. The party indeed needs to rejig its moral compass and clean itself of so many obvious filths. But they cannot because they lack the spirit to do so.
I can tell you that the few persons who left the PDP for APC to pick electoral tickets with the hope that the APC will support them with federal might to win elections are now having a rethink and many of them will come back home to the PDP sooner or later.Our people know that the PDP is the only sane party in this country with a leadership that has a clear agenda and commitment to development like we have in the Stronger Delta initiative. How can we leave good for bad?