Chief Barr. Alex Adoghe has been a lawyer, politician, businessman and community leader for so many years. He has been involved in mobilizing men and resources for community development. In this interview with The Weekend OBSERVER, he provides insight into his educational, business and political journey and explains why he is the best man to represent Esan Central, Esan West and the Federal Constituency of Igueben.
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF
My name is Chef Alex Adoghe, I am from Okuta Ebelle in Igueben LGA Edo State. I am a lawyer and businessman. I studied law at Bendel State University, now known as Ambrose Alli University (AAU)Ekpoma. I attended the Nigerian Law School in Victoria Island, Lagos and was admitted to the Nigerian Bar. I practiced law in the law firm of the late Professor Jim Akhere in Benin City. The former Deputy Governor of Edo State, Mr. Pius Odubu, was my dean in this law firm. Later, I set up my own law firm in Lagos with a branch office in Abuja.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO BUSINESS THROUGH A FORMAL LAWYER?
I guess I’m a natural businessman with basic business instincts. As a student in BENSU, I organized performances like musical concerts, beauty pageants, etc. The now famous ALI BABA performed regularly in shows on my campus. He probably discovered his talents during these shows during his time at the NYSC in Umuahia Abia State where I served in the Nigerian Police H/Qs as a barrister. I opened my first real business, a restaurant and entertainment lounge called SNOOPIES using the money I saved from performing in my college years. Proceeds from SNOOPIES started a micro-finance mini business where I loaned money to other NYSC corpers with interest. I employed two employees to run the two businesses with me while I was still a corper.
Years later, while living in Abuja, I visited the late Chief Tony Anenih at his residence in Asokoro and overheard some of his assistants complaining that they had to drive to Maitama, far from it, for barbers to do home barbering for the chef and to buy groceries. This prompted and encouraged me to open Asokoro Supermarket (Asokoro’s first supermarket) and a few hair and beauty salons in Asokoro and other parts of Abuja. Asokoro supermarket still exists till today even though I invested and sold to our sister Mrs. Audu Ogbe. She is Esan. I also owned and operated three restaurants, lounges and entertainment centers in Abuja before completing my hospitality degree. I now own and operate Noah’s Ark Hotels Ltd.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO POLITICS?
Sometime in 1998, my friend Tony Perst introduced me to the late Ken Enahoro and his father, the legendary former Head of State Anthony Enahoro, and asked me to give them an office in my law firm in Banex plaza on Aminu Kano Crescent in Abuja for their MNRP (Movement for National Reform Party) I did it for free. I was only too happy to serve the legendary old statesman. There was then a requirement from the INEC that all political parties should have a physical registered address, hence the MNRP needed the office space I gave them in my law offices to meet this requirement from INEC Subsequently, my interactions with the late Chief Enahoro sparked my interest in politics. The MRP party then merged with the PDP and I became close to leader Tony Anenih of blessed memory, who was my neighbor in Benin City. He was president of my wedding when I was young. I have been in the PDP since 1999 to date, mobilizing and helping the party in many ways to win elections. I was national delegate representing Igueben LGA. I was a presidential campaign council member for Atiku Abubarkar’s presidential campaign in 2019. So I did politics locally and nationally.
YOU BELONG TO SEVERAL ESAN ORGANIZATIONS, CAN YOU NAME SOME OF THEM AND HOW THEY HAVE IMPACTED ESANLAND?
You are right. I am a lover of the people of Esan. I am a founding member of Esan Solidarity Forum, the parent organization of “atanakpa”, the security team set up to fight against insecurity in Esanland. I am also a founding member of EDATI (Esan Development and Transformation Initiative) some time ago we donated electricity generators to police stations in Esanland, solar lamps to hospitals and notebooks to children in primary schools and secondary. I led the delegation in the communities of Esan to achieve this. I am a member of the Association of Esan Professionals, the leading organization of Esan professionals whose accomplishments speak for themselves and are too numerous to mention here for lack of space.
I was also the Vice President of Esan Youth movement in my youth when I mobilized all Esanland inigies to Transcorp Hilton Abuja for the inauguration of the movement in Abuja. I belong to several other Esan organizations and groups.
WHY DO YOU WANT TO GO TO THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, DO YOU THINK YOU CAN, AND WHY DO YOU FEEL IT’S IGUEBEN LGA’S TURN TO PRODUCE A REPRESENTATIVE?
The business of making laws should be for lawyers who know the law and how to make the law. So, as a lawyer, I have the ability to represent my constituency in the National Assembly.
I am also a political and community leader. I know the pains, needs and aspirations of people, especially grassroots people and I will provide that effective and efficient representation that is needed at this critical time. If elected to the House of Representatives, I will support the restructuring of the country, I will support the creation of state and municipal police as practiced in other civilized countries. This will help to combat and eradicate the current insecurity in Esanland and across the country. Water supply, agriculture, education and health are other areas in which I will also devote my energy. As to the question of which LGA the next representative should come from, it is fair and just that the next member of the House of Representatives should come from the Igueben LGA, because the LGAs of Esan West and Esan Central have both recently held the seats. Igueben LGA should not be left out in the cold.
THANK YOU CHEF ADOGHE FOR YOUR TIME.