…says his humanitarian work has no political undertone
The Founder and President of One Love Foundation, Chief Patrick Eholor has listed areas where the organization would be focusing on in it’s 2022 humanitarian work.
Eholor, who spoke with Jungle-Journalist.Com reporters in his country home in Benin City, Edo State, also explained why he ventured into human rights and charity activities.
He dismissed insinuations that he has motive to contest for elective positions in the future, saying he is very comfortable the way he is.
What are your plans for the 2022 business year as a human rights defender and charity network sir?
There has to be something new in our lives. In the area of activism, we will never relent, until the country or the state gets better. So I am not going to quit activism. Quit it for who?
There is a lot to be done, only a little has been done. A lot of people are also coming out to support what we are doing, so am not a lonely voice in the wilderness again. So if I, chief Patrick Osagie Eholor can do it, they also can do it.
We are also happy that the Nigerian government are begining to give us a listening ear.
However, we want to take it a little further, because when you are not informed, you are deformed.
So we have come up with a project called Second Chance. A lot of people who are in prison are there for them to be reformed but they never get the reforms. Money budgeted for them doesn’t get to them,for medicals, it doesn’t get to them, for feeding it doesn’t get to them.
And then, when these people come out of prison, they become more hardened than they were before they got into prison. So I am going there with my team to look at the ones who wish to continue their education, by scholarship, by books, or by other means.
For those who feel that education is not their line, we will also see how we can engage them, apprentice them, so that they start doing something and don’t go back to crime when they leave the prison yard.
You just spoke about reformation of prisoners, which you plan to take up. This is a huge project. How do you intend to fund it, with the numerous prisons and prisoners across Nigeria?
It’s not about the money, it’s about the will. Once you have the will, everything is possible. I am starting as an ordinary citizen. I want to take up this project the same way I had taken up the police reforms, reformation of the military, social justice, independence of the judiciary, that’s the same way I am going to do this. So it’s not about money.
Money is important but there are many things you can do before the money comes in.
So, your question is very valid but I am not going to take the whole country at once. I am going to take it, a little drop if water.
I am sure that when I start doing it, there will be other men of goodwill in Nigeria who will want to be part of it. Perhaps in the future, if some of the NGOs abroad or in Nigeria see what we are doing as meaningful, I am sure they will also support us.
So, the beginning of anything is what of hard, not the end.
One of the major things that take people to prison is drugs, and drug abuse us becoming a big issue in our society. Last year, the South East was hassled by mkpurummiri, while in the South West it’s Colorado. In the North, most youths addicted to tramadol. What do you think could be done to stop our youths from addiction and prison?
You don’t blame the youth. You blame the government for it’s failure and inefficiency. If the government is able to get the youths engaged to be doing something reasonable, most of them won’t go into drugs.
What I am saying is that the government has a big role to play. In America for instance, they have what they call A and A, Alcohol Anonymous. Sometimes, people who drink never desired to drink but because it’s an addiction, and addiction means sickness. But here we castigate them, and we deny them, and when you deny them, the only friend they have is the drug.
So what we are going to do in One Love Foundation is to identify those who are into drugs, find out how we can assist them by putting them in a comfortable home or environment where they can get treatment, so they become useful to themselves and the society.
It’s easy, but what we are experiencing in Nigeria is denials. You should also know that most of the prostitutes we have today are also on drugs. In order for them to be able to find it, they go out there and sell their bodies to men. This promiscuity can also increase the rate of disease in our society. These are the three issues we plan to tackle this year, and I know, having the will, and with God’s grace, nothing is impossible.
I have been there, done that, I know this is not going to be the last thing I am going to do. Been there, done that, so I know it’s possible.
We have reasons to believe that these campaigns of yours are a result of your desire to run for political office in the future. Can you respond to this?
People can speculate what they want to speculate, I have been doing this for over 25 years. As a matter of fact, why I started all these is because of neglect and injustice that I suffered, and I didn’t want anybody to feel the kind of pains I felt, I didn’t want anybody to be abandoned the way I was abandoned, I didn’t want anybody to experience the poverty I experiences, because I know poverty us not friendly. I wasn’t born with a golden spoon.
So I have no political intentions,but I have a right to be voted for, and a right to vote for others if I want. But I don’t want to be voted for, I have no political agenda in my life, I am not getting young, I am about 60 years old, I have beautiful children, a beautiful wife. For me, I am a farmer and I love what I do.
I am also into entertainment. I have a lot of employees that I need to mentor, guide and ensure that they are successful in what they are doing. So for me, I already have a government, so what position would I be asking for? Minister or commissioner? No. I am contented with what I do, so there is nothing like that in my list of priorities.
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