Chinedu Ofodile, is a young politician seeking to be in the mainstream of governance in Nigeria. Buoyed by the zeal to serve his people to ensure that development and the dividends of democracy get to his people, Ofodile tells his story on why he went into politics and his choice of party.
Why did you go into politics?
I have been interested in politics right from my childhood days and through my days in the Anambra State University, Awka where I read Banking and Finance. In fact, because of my political activism while in school, I had to spend about a year and six months to get my clearance done. As a strong critic of government, especially when things are not going the way it should, I decided it was necessary to make the move. Politicians to my mind have not been true to the promises they make to the populace and to correct the ills of leadership, I knew that I had to get into leadership to bring the needed change I feel strongly about.
Why the choice of PDP?
The PDP is one party that appeals to me because I felt that it was truly democratic going by the name.
How long have you been trying to seek election?
This is my second attempt since 2015. My first attempt was not really pleasing because of some incidents that occurred during the collation of results. It was not a good experience but in 2018, I made a second attempt as PDP candidate for the Onitsha North Constituency 1.
What was the outcome of the primaries?
Based on the premise that I had done my home work to convince my people that I am the right man for the job, I went into the election, confident that I would win. And true to my permutation, I defeated my closest rival, Nonso Arinze by 37 votes to 33 on October 4. 2018. Once I had scaled the hurdle of the primaries, I set machinery in motion with my supporters for the big battle of March 23, 2019. I went round to solidify my base for the last leg that would see me elected as a member of the state House of Assembly.
So how did the election go?
Something happened before the election. The Anambra State PDP chairman, Ndubuisi Nwobu came to me with a proposition that left me in shock. Nwobu bluntly asked me to drop my ambition of going into the election proper despite emerging as the party’s flag bearer.
Of course I rejected his proposal out rightly. I didn’t understand why he would ask me to do that. At first, I thought it was a joke but the chairman told me he was serious about it. He didn’t stop there. In fact, he went on to threaten me that it’s either I conceded my mandate or it would be taken by force whether I like it or not.
Did you eventually step aside?
I didn’t. After several entreaties from the PDP chairman fell flat, I was jolted out of dreamland when on January 31, 2019 I learnt that my name had been substituted at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by the PDP with a letter purportedly signed by me.
What action did you take at this stage?
On learning of the action by the party, I immediately protested by writing to INEC stating that I never wrote any letter relinquishing my mandate as the winner of the party primaries and never requested that my name be substituted with that of Douglas Nwachukwu Egbuna. I can’t imagine how Egbuna, who contested primaries on the platform of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), was used to substitute me. It’s very unfortunate that such an action would be meted on my person and against the wish of the people who voted for me. What more, Egbuna lost the APGA primaries and yet the PDP bigwigs decided to substitute my name with his.
With your name substituted what next?
My next line of action is to ensure I reclaim my mandate and to do that, I filed the matter at the Abuja Federal High Court before the election of May 23, 2019 but it was subsequently transferred to State High Court, Awka, Anambra State. My prayer to the court is that I be declared the member-elect for Onitsha North Constituency 1 given that PDP was the winner and as such I be issued Certificate of Return. It is unfortunate that money bags are allowed to toy with the votes of the electorate. With action like this, when will the youths get into leadership positions? I got into politics to serve and must commend the Federal Government and the National Assembly for signing into law the Not-Too-Young to run bill as I believe that it will help the country get young brains in leadership positions.
Do you have the hope of reclaiming your mandate?
Truth remains that there’s a limit to what one can do as an individual, however with the resources of the government a lot more can be achieved. I look forward to May 20 when the case comes up in court. I believe in the judiciary and look forward to getting justice at the end of the day.