Rev. Evang. Frederick Ukamaka Ehiobu Eboh is a native of Owa-Alero in Ika North East Local Government Area of Delta State. In this exclusive interview with Ika Weekly, he disclosed that hardwork is the key to success.
Good day sir, May we know you sir?
Thank you; I am Rev. Evang. Frederick Ukamaka Ehiobu Eboh, a native of Owa-Alero community in Ika North East LGA of Delta State. I am the Founder and General Overseer of Jesus Christ Freedom Ministry International Incorporated along Ute-Okpu Road, Owa-Alero.
Can you tell us about your background?
I was born into the family of late Mr. & Mrs. Paul Ehiobu Eboh. I was born and brought up at Owa-Ekei Community. My father met my mum in Owa-Ekei community when he went to settle down there many years ago and that is why today, a lot of people see me as an indigene of Owa-Ekei, because of the relationship we have with the people. My father married three wives and my mother, Esther was the first wife and I am the 8th child of my parents. My father and his three wives were all farmers in those days.
One of the challenges that would have hindered my coming to this world was that my mother ate poison while I was in her womb but to God be the glory, she survived and I was given birth to successfully. When I was 8 years of age, I was in the farm with my parents and siblings when a tree fell on me. These challenges almost took my life but with God on my side, I survived the attacks. Those were my early challenges at Owa-Ekei community.
At 10, I was given to my father’s immediate elder brother, late Rev’d. Edwin Eriemator Ehiobu Eboh to serve him as a house boy. He was a Reverend in the Anglican Communion at Ubulu-Okiti in 1948. In 1949, he was transferred from Ubulu-Okiti to Obi-Agbor in Ika South Local Government Area. From 1949-1956, I was with him at Obi-Agbor where he was made a teacher under the Anglican CMS School where he was later transferred to Owa-Oyibu to continue doing the work of God at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church. I dropped out of school in 1953 when my parents could not afford my school fees of about 19shillings.
How did you become a successful man since you dropped out of school at a very tender age?
It was after I decided to go into tailoring for three years. During my apprenticeship, I stayed with my in-law, my aunt’s husband. Before I gained my freedom to become a tailor, I engaged myself in menial jobs, at times working as a service boy to people building houses so as to make money to survive.
I later left my family behind to further my studies/training, because I decided to follow my dreams according to God’s instructions. God on my side, I wedded my wife at the age of 24 on January 9, 1962 and we are blessed with eight kids; with two set of twins. I knew where I was heading to and how great I would become in life, so I decided to go for a higher training at Onitsha in Anambra State in 1966 where I learnt how to sew men’s wears with the inclusion of suits.
Thereafter, I left Onitsha to re-establish my tailoring business in Boji-Boji Owa in 1967. I did not go back to Owa-Alero again because I discovered that life would be easier for me at Boji-Boji Owa than returning to my village. But when the Biafra War broke out, due to fear in those days, I had to go back to Owa-Alero to continue my work. As at January 6, 1973, I had started working as an Organizing Committee Chairman in Owa-Alero Community where I was charged with the responsibility of organizing and raising funds to support all those in my community who want to go for further studies and training in any higher institution of their choice across the world. That was after the Biafra War.
Later, I had a ghastly accident that almost led to my death but to God be the glory, I survived it. While on my hospital bed where I spent about seven months, a friend of mine told me, “my friend, now that you are getting better, can’t you try to travel abroad to upgrade yourself with some further training rather than sending others abroad, or don’t you think they will look down on you as a mere village tailor when they return to Nigeria?” Thank God I listened to him and that was why I decided to travel to London to further my training.
When I got to London, I was admitted to the College of Fashions, London. So I left Nigeria for London after God healed me in December 20, 1974. In London, I studied Mass Production such as Fashion Designing, Business Management and others. I graduated with a best honour and my certificate was presented to me.
When I came back to Nigeria with the knowledge which I have acquired in London, God opened my eyes to see the benefits of going deeply into my tailoring business. Based on that understanding, I decided to buy some Tailoring Industrial Machines to properly establish my personal tailoring industry in Benin City, Edo State. The name of my industry is called Ebony Tailoring Industry and the Label is tagged, Ebyteccon. Then I started sewing for Leventis Stores. I had to travel all the way to Onitsha to buy some materials, suitable for the sewing of all types of shirt. Thereafter, I would transport some of my finished products to Malu Road in Apapa, Lagos to be distributed to all Leventis stores around there. From Leventis store in Apapa, those products were distributed to all other places across the country.
Is your Ebony Tailoring Industry still in existence?
My Tailoring Industry is existing till tomorrow, it is no longer in Benin. It is being managed by my children in Lagos. It is still bearing my name; Ebony International Tailoring Company. Before I retired and left the company for my children to take over, I was able to train a lot of persons who have now become employers of labour across the nation and beyond. I have trained and paid more than 30 persons in my company.
Do you think that you can do those things you did 50 years ago?
Why not? I am very strong. At 80, I see clearly, I do the works of God effectively and by His grace, this year, we are running a Bible Believing Church Programme which started since 22 years ago.
How have you contributed to humanity?
Good question! I had the call from God to become an Evangelist in the year 1999. By God’s grace, I hearkened to the voice of God and became an Evangelist with the Anglican Communion.
In 1980, up to the year 1997, I was the youth leader of the mission where we went about preaching the Word of God, winning souls for God’s kingdom.
So I went into full time Evangelism in 1999. It was then I retired and left the Tailoring Company for my children as I earlier said. I have contributed to the growth of humanity and the society at large through the efforts I made in my tailoring business, I trained people free of charge and till today I am still doing the works of God, contributing immensely towards the growth and development of His Vineyard and above all, I am using God’s works to transform people’s lives.
Will you say that you are a successful man?
Obviously, I will say that I am a successful man. The reason is because I listened to God and obeyed his instruction by following my dreams. All my children are all University graduates. My First Daughter is currently working with the Chevron in Lagos, I have bankers among them. One of my sons had his Ph.D at the age of 25 years and also became an international professor at the age of 38 years. By the special grace of God, my 8 children, including my lovely wife are the ones celebrating my Birthday Anniversary today, Saturday, September 8, 2018. I am always glad each time I remember the wisdom given to me by God to pioneer the church and the school; Future Leaders Comprehensive School, all in Owa-Alero.
What gives you Joy in Life?
I am joyful at all times because I was not left out academically. In fact, I will say that what I acquired practically in London school is greater than everything one can achieve theoretically. Another thing that gives me joy is when my children are around me.
What is your advice for the youths?
My advice is that the youths who know that they cannot afford to go to school should go into lucrative and benefiting professions like tailoring and others instead of relying on government for empowerment or involving themselves in criminal activities.
What is your advice to parents?
I am advising parents to always have time for their children to avoid them learning negative things instead of things that will better their lives.