Monrovia — As a member of the Mighty Barrolle Basketball squad and Liberia's Lone Star in the early 1980's, Advertus Orea Wright was a center of contention in the paint, scoring, blocking and leading the rollers to multiple basketball championships - and that famous victory against the Nigeria Super Eagles.
"My participation came as a result of a vision to give the district unique identities, focusing on how we intend to achieve our agenda on Quality Education, healthcare, agro, electrification, tourism, unification, battling crime and servant leadership" - Advertus Orea Wright, Candidate, Montserrado County, District #17 Legislative Race
It's been years since he hung up his sneakers - and has gone on to bigger and better opportunities in life. But his towering persona barely goes unnoticed these days.
Ahead of this year's legislative elections, Wright is hoping to translate his court vision into the rugged political arena in his quest to bring change to a body in bad shape and staring down a wave of criticisms stemming from corruption allegations and neglect of constituencies across the country.
Wright recently declared his intentions of contesting the Montserrado County District No. 17 with the hope of bringing his years of contributions to the education sector to the fore.
"My participation came as a result of a vision to give the district unique identities, focusing on how do we intend to achieve our agenda on Quality Education, healthcare, agro, electrification, tourism, unification, battling crime and servant leadership," Wright told FrontPageAfrica Tuesday.
Wright's entry into politics may be new but he comes well-bred.
In 1988, he obtained a Bachelor of Art Degree in Political Science from the then Cuttington University College (CUC) now Cuttington University, Suakoko, Bong Count.
Like many Liberians, the civil war came knocking and Wright was forced to flee into exile, first as a refugee in Ghana where he stayed until 1993.
In Ghana, Wright says he was instrumental in taking care of children, mostly refugees from the civil war encamped at the Budumburam camp. It was there that he founded the Budu Liberian Refugee Children Project, simply because he says he wanted to make sure that they kids don't lose their focus. "They are the future of Liberia."
He left Ghana in 1993 and migrated to the United States to fulfil his dream of pursuing higher education.
In 1999, Wright matriculated into the Counselor Education Program at the State University of New York at Brockport (SUNY Brockport) where he obtained his Master of Science Degree in Education.
Six years later in 2005, he was awarded the Most Outstanding Counseling Practitioner (2005) from the Nu Chapter of Chi Sigma Iota.
In 2008, Wright, after few years of working in education, obtained a Graduate Certificate in School Administration and Supervision from the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA."
Never one to abandon his homeland, Wright returned to Liberia in 2011 to serve his people.
He was appointed Director for the Zorzor Rural Teacher Training Institute, Lofa County (ZRTTI) undertaking the massive challenge of transforming the institution holistically.
In that capacity, he organized and led a team to take the institution to the next level.
Wright was instrumental in working as an educational leader and enforcing his confidence while at the same time, getting a first-hand insight into the importance of institutional growth and development.
Wright, in that capacity was instrumental in establishing positive relationships with partners and stakeholders that resulted in the Institution receiving increments in its budgetary allocations; infrastructure development; reintroduction of the Peace Corps; addressed adult literacy of support staff and fostered a system of quality, integrity, and accountability.
Bolstered by a track of success and the wealth of knowledge gained from working in Lofa County, Wright was appointed Assistant Minister for Teacher Education in April 2015.
Wright has remained committed to working hard to improve education, especially teacher education while embodying the creed, that in order to produce quality students, a nation has to have quality teachers.'
For the foreseeable future, Wright hopes his emphasis on quality education will resonate with voters in the district.
"This means, every teacher within will have the Minimum C Certificate, functional library and high schools with equipped laboratory."
Wright also hopes to introduce a state of the art medical center in Virginia using his Johns Hopkins alumnus status. This is important, he says because the only hospital catering to scores of people at the moment is Redemption.
"By the time the sick or accident victims get there, they may die due to the bottleneck at Duala."
Wright says he also hopes, if elected to push for the development of the Clay Ashland water front for tourism in though which revenue will be generated and employment opportunity created, thereby sustaining development projects.
"Electrification of the district is a right for residents, because it plays host to the hydro; crime free by empowering the police through salary supplement from revenue generated from tourism and district farms, building and equipping more depots, zero tolerance on crime."
As ambitious as his plans are, Wright acknowledges he faces a tough battle ahead with some 21 candidates eyeing the one seat. Among his rivals are the incumbent William V. Dakel, Sr.(National Democratic Coalition) former Commerce and Industry Minister McLeod Darport; Sylvia Yassa Zoe Taylor, daughter of former President Charles Taylor; Jenebah L. Passawe, Morris Chris Kenweth; Cooper C. Goll; Mustapha V. Seimavula; Adolphus Capehart; Jesse Darlington Sirleaf; Henson Senu Kaizolu; Zoe Musu Gray; George Varney Curtis, Sr.; Oso Roderick Smith; Abraham Sesay; Joseph Jackey Brown; William V. Dakel, Sr. Adama Sonii; Reginald Kraty Gaye; Cornelius G. Miamen; Ismaeil Foday Keita; Saah J. Adolphus and Bill Curtis.
Despite a sea of rivals, Wright is optimistic that in the end voters will read between the lines.
"I'm here because I am motivated by my sincere commitment to develop a district that has potential to be a model for others in Liberia and passion for underprivileged.
Not lost on his basketball past, Wright is confident that the current generation can relate to him because of the development and transformation he brought to the table when he served as Director for ZRTTI and Assistant Minister for Teacher Education.
"I believe that I have a proven capacity and tract record. Working with orphans from Nimba, Bong, Margibi, Montserrado, I can relate to any classification of people. I am visionary and solution focussed, God fearing and very humble."
Wright is married to Charlotte Richards-Wright and the union is blessed with eight children and six grand-children.