Our personality is no other person than Mr. Nduka Omodon, a Delta State House of Assembly aspirant.He graduated from the University of Benin with a Bsc. in Industrial Chemistry in 1996. He obtained an MBA from the University of Lagos in 2004. He later obtained a diploma from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism. Mr. Omodon later acquired another Diploma in Integrated Marketing Communication from Tarrant County College, Texas.
Mr. Omodon got employed by Leaders and Company, publishers of Thisday Newspapers where he worked for 16 years before setting up an Integrated Marketing Communications Company called Nuvano Atlas in 2012.
Mr. Omodon attended several local and international seminars/ workshops on Public Relations, Advertising and Media Relations and Specialized in Identity Image and Reputation Management
He is a member of a number of Professional bodies such as NUJ, NIPR and APCON. Mr. Omodon, who hails from Alisimie, Agbor, is married with children
In this personality interview Mr. Nduka Omodon granted Ika Weekly Reporters recently, he spoke about his early childhood, education, professional experiences and what motivated him to venture into the annals of politics, even while in some quarters people are saying that “politics is a dirty game”.
I am Mr. Nduka Omodon, I am a native of Alisimie, Ika South Local Government Area. I grew up in Agbor, I had my Secondary education at Gbenoba Grammar School, from where I proceeded to the University of Benin to study Industrial Chemistry.
I did my National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Lagos, with Thisday Newspaper as my primary place of assignment in 1997. After my service year, I was retained as a staff of Thisday Newspaper. From there, my passion for journalism started. In 2014, I gained admission into the University of Lagos to study Business Administration for my Masters.
I worked in all parts of the country; the job gave me a much needed exposure. After my Master’s, I went to Nigeria Institute of Journalism, where I had a diploma degree. I started my career as a reporter of Thisday Newspaper; from there I grew through the ranks to be head of different departments.
In 2010/2011, I started an Integrated Marketing Communication Outfit. I went through courses within and outside Nigeria in addition to my knowledge of various fields of the media industry to create a niche I am known for.
To enable me gain expertise in that area, I underwent trainings here in Nigeria and in the United States of America where I majored in Identity image and Reputation Management. I belong to various professional bodies. It has been a roller coaster for me. Before my return to Nigeria, I practiced Identity Image and Reputation Management in the USA.
Are You Married?
Yes. I am married to Mrs. Uchenna Nneka Omodon, from Anambra State, and we are blessed with 3 children, all boys.
How did you come about journalism, since you studied Industrial Chemistry?
Having carried out my Primary Assignment in Thisday Newspaper, my flair for journalism started. I worked with Thisday from 1997-2004, before going for my Masters. My flair for journalism came about by virtue of my working with Mr. Nduka Obaigbena of Thisday, and also by virtue of those I interacted with in the course of the job. I am still practicing journalism as it is now a part of me.
What is your most memorable moment as a journalist?
My most memorable moment was covering the military invasion of Odin back then. Thisday was the first newspaper to break the story, and it was in my byline. It was a heavy crossfire between the Egbesu Militants and the Nigeria Military, the whole village was empty except for a very elderly woman who could not run, due to arthritis.
Mr. Omodon, giving your track record in journalism, how did you venture into politics?
Every man is a politician. I became actively involved in politics in 2010/2011 during Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa’s senatorial election. I was the director of media and publicity during his campaign organization.
I liked his style of politics, which was one of the things that captivated me into joining politics. I saw a man that is endowed with wisdom, I saw a smart and intelligent man, I saw a man that knows his onions, I saw a man that grew through the ranks, I saw a man that has love for the grassroots, I saw a man that has the interest of his people at heart, a man that went all the way to ensure the best come to his people.
When he eventually got elected into the senate, I saw a man that was very passionate in what he set out to do, I saw a man that was ready to sponsor and promote bills, attract benefits to his people. I saw a man that was very versatile, I saw a man that was an embodiment of knowledge that was how I came into politics. I got interested in politics because I saw the desire in Sen. Dr. Okowa to make the needed change and difference in the society. His desire spurred and motivated me. He is a fine gentleman whom I see as my role model. He has been very consistent.
I see a man who has not only kept the electoral promises he made to his people, he has moved beyond them. He is a man that is ready to bring the needed change in the society and engage the youths. I see a man that has brought a lot of infrastructural development, hence his nickname, “THE ROAD MASTER”, we can see the new look of Old Lagos/Asaba Road. He ensured the contractors corrected the shoddy jobs they did before now.
All thanks to Gov. Okowa, Delta State is ready to host Africa for the Senior Athletic Championship, the Stephen Keshi Stadium which was long abandoned is wearing a new look, roads are being developed in Asaba and its environs, so I would say, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has been very consistent.
Is There a Line between Politics and Journalism?
Politics is a part of journalism, vice versa. There is no distinct line between both, reason being that both parties need each other. Journalism seems to change the narrative from what people thought it should be, to what it ought to be. There is a synergy between politics and journalism, they complement each other. With journalism (social media) we see footages of happenings far from us. There is a nexus between politics and journalism.
Are you vying for any political office, Mr. Nduka Omodon?
Yes I am. I am running for Ika South House of Assembly seat.
People tend to describe politics as a dirty game, what can you do to change that notion?
It is all about the people’s perception. In the course of my consultations with one of the leaders in Ika South, I was asked the reason behind my desire to join a terrain that has been regarded as dirty.
Everyone has a desire in him/her. I see politics as a call to service, an institution where you come in to contribute your quota to the benefit of your people. Before I decided to run, I choose to start with the State House of Assembly for various reasons.
People see legislators as those who make laws, sponsor and promote bills, they see legislators as people saddled with oversight functions as members of the House. When saddled with some functions, you should have the right capacity to perform an assigned role or responsibility.
Aside all these functions of a legislator, legislature is also an avenue for you to give back to the society, but when you have misfits seat at the affairs of the state, you don’t get any meaningful outcome.
When I decided to run, I knew our people were not getting the best, we are not getting effective and efficient representation and that is largely due to those of us who choose to play from the flanks, those ones who do not want to run because people keep saying politics is dirty, hence they allow misfits who can’t deliver. Take up the responsibility.
While we were growing up, we had a public library in town, where we studied in groups, we loved studying then. We had access to so many books in the library, and reading was the order of the day.
Today, that is no longer the case for the present generation students. The WAEC result confirms it. This is as a result of unavailability of study materials. As a House of Assembly Member, there are a couple of things one can do to bring in Non-Governmental Organizations that are willing to donate books at no cost, I know a couple of such NGOs.
Since this dispensation, how many of such projects have been attracted to our constituency by our House of Assembly member? It is a foul cry. What that tells me is that we are not looking at the youths as the future of tomorrow.
We have a lot of youths who are ready to be constructively engaged that should go to school and excel academically. But now due to poor legislation, they go into fraud looking for ways to make quick money. Looking at our Gross Demostic Produce (GDP) rate, one will discover that outside oil and gas, another sector that does well is Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
That being said, as a lawmaker, why can’t you open satellite campuses to organise extra moral classes so children can acquire decent knowledge at no cost? Most kids today do not know what a computer looks like. As a law maker, why can’t you think of how to establish computer centers in various zones, employ and pay teachers to teach our children for free? Why can’t you key into technical colleges to train the youths in computer programming?
People give out wrappers, generators, fridges, branded bags of rice and call it an empowerment, it is quite laughable.
According to the adage that says “teach me how to fish, don’t give me fish”, empowerment should be something that gives a life line to the people. How well have our politicians collaborated with the state governments YAGEP & STEP programs to get their people to acquire skills?
How has our House of Assembly member in this dispensation been able to key into the numerous intervention program of the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele to develop Ika South People? How well have the leaders been engaged? As a lawmaker, how well have you impacted on your people?
It is time to tell ourselves the truth that we have not been fairly represented in the past; hence we need a change that will bring the desired benefit to the people. This change can only come when you have the right man, with the right capacity, ideology, exposure, concept, and passion, to bring the much needed change.
So many politicians have given beautiful manifestos that capture the hearts of the electorate to vote them in, but after they are voted in, they abandon their manifesto, what assurance do we have that you can do all you have said?
To puncture that argument to an extent, Gov. Okowa promised a lot of things during his campaign period, now three and a half years into his administration, he has kept his promises that goes to show that a man with capacity, integrity and fear of God will surely get things done. You cannot give what you do not have. If you do not have the capacity, there is nothing you can do.
One can ask, whom amongst all those that have represented us have ever gone to the CBN Governor to see how they can include Ika South People in the intervention program of the CBN? When Sanusi was the CBN Governor, he used such programs to do a lot for his people, what has our law makers been able to attract to Ika South? What we have today can not be called representation, it is a far cry.
If everyone has done so well, I would not come out to contest. Outside Okowa doing so well, another man that has done so well in the education sector is the Honourable Commissioner for Education, Barr. Chiedu Ebie. He has brought a lot of innovations to the educational sector, which is as a result of having smart men who do not wait for others to think for them.
What are the duties of a lawmaker? The statutory responsibility of a lawmaker is to make laws, handle oversight functions, but by virtue of your position as a law maker, you can attract a lot of incentives to your people, such as meeting with the CBN Governor to request for what is due to the people (constituents) other states benefit from such incentives.
As a lawmaker, I will go to him, especially as Ika South is his Primary Constituency, to request some incentives for my constituents. If you do not go to him, he may not know the needs of the people. So it falls on me as a lawmaker to go to him.
What is your take as a first timer going for the House of Assembly Seat?
If an incumbent has the capacity to deliver, he would have done beyond most of the things I have earlier enumerated. We can’t continue wallowing in ignorance just because we want someone who is under performing to go back to seek principal position.
I am contesting to attract major benefits to my people. A law maker that cannot bring in the needed benefits for his people is not fit to be called a law maker. We keep mortgaging the future of our little ones at the altar of inefficiency.
If a man has a capacity, it does not hide. Governor Okowa has the capacity, we can see what he is doing, Barr. Chiedu Ebie has the capacity, we can see what he is doing.
Mr. Nduka Omodon, What is your take on politics of money bag and how do you intend to break the jinx?
As a person, I think it is time for people to start questioning the sources of income of these people who throw money around. In Ika South, people feel I have the least money of all those contesting the House of Assembly seat, probably because I do not throw money around. I won’t steal or borrow money to contest an election. I am not giving money to buy vote. The money I am using to contest is the money I have sweated and worked for. I am preaching the gospel of what I intend to do for my people, the much desired development I want to bring to my people.
Today, when people sacrifice their integrity on the altar of what they will eat, to collect money from politicians who throw money around, don’t expect such politician to have the interest of the people at heart when he goes into office. Such politicians will only aim at recovering all what they spent on the election and not after the People’s benefits. It is time for us to change the narratives of money politics.
I am going into this election with God and with what I intend to do for the people. If you send me on an errand, and I did not buy you over, then you can question me on my performance, you can call me to order.
I also intend to hold quarterly town hall meeting as a lawmaker, so as to render account of stewardship. You cannot sit in your comfort zone, without interacting with your people. Being a lawmaker goes beyond attending social functions, when at the end of the day, people suffer abject poverty.
Sometimes, we hear some persons say they placed people on monthly salary, and one are forced to ask, how much is salary? Can it sustain them beyond three days in the present day Nigeria?
I am looking at how we can effectively empower the people with set of skills that can sustain them living a decent and modern life.
Some lawmakers have in the past; shy away from giving account of their term in office, what do you think could be the reason behind that? Lawmakers shy away from giving account of stewardship because they have underperformed. If you do not perform, then what account do you have to render? If you perform well, whenever you are called upon to give an account of your stewardship, then you will boldly tell the people what you have done at every given period. It takes a man with the right capacity to give a stewardship account.
Mr. Omodon, do you subscribe to the Zoning formula?
For me, I believe that zoning is key, in the sense that you want positions to go round, you want equity. But in as much as I believe so much in equity, I also believe so much in effective and efficient representation. If a man that has no capacity is elected, he has nothing to offer. Even when equity is encouraged, people with the right capacity, set skill, ideologies and vision that can drive the process should be elected.
What is your take on Politics of God Fatherism/ Politics of money, Mr. Nduka Omodon?
Like I stated earlier, I am going into this race with God and what I intend to do for my people. Now people are becoming politically conscious. People are now becoming aware that those without capacity end up being elected by virtue of the nature of delegates election conducted at the primaries.
I have never vied for any political office before, I have never stolen money before, I have never engaged in fraud before, I work on a daily basis to make my money, by virtue of the trade I ply. I will not throw money around because every other person is doing it.
THE INTERVIEW OF MR. OMODON TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK