Nicholas Ogunji is a 17-year-old Abia State graduate of Adventist Technical Secondary School, Ebem-Ohafia, who was recently inaugurated as the first ‘One-Day Governor’ of his state.
In this interview, he speaks on how he was made the one-day governor, his achievements, education, aspirations and advice to his fellow teenagers.
How were you made the One-Day Governor of Abia State? And how did you, your family and community handle the news?
To emerge as the One-Day Governor of Abia State was not an easy ride. There were series of competitions from the school, zonal and state levels. These were arranged by the state government through the office of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Teenage Matters. It started with an essay competition at the school level. My essay was selected among the best three from my school for the zonal competition.
At the zonal level, many schools in Abia North zone participated. Quiz on general knowledge and current affairs was the basis of the assessment. By the grace of God, I was also selected among the best twenty for the state and final competition. At the state level, brain teasers, quizzes on Abia State current affairs and oral presentations were the basis of the assessment and selection. I was surprised to have emerged the one-day governor. It wasn’t easy for me to have prepared and succeeded in the competition.
When I got back to school that evening (as a boarding student), after winning the competition, there was jubilation in the school. Shouts of joy from staff and students filled the air. Back at home, my family members couldn’t stop calling to congratulate me. I owe the success to God.
Who was your deputy governor? And did you have commissioners, advisers and aides?
Twenty of us were selected. The first three were myself, my deputy and my SSG. The remaining 17 were made commissioners. My deputy governor was Chibuike Emmanuel, and my SSG was Obijeme Fransisca. I didn’t have any advisers, but aides.
As governor, did you make any appointments, award contracts or issue any executive orders?
No. I didn’t due to my short stay in office. However, as the one-day governor, it was a great honour and privilege for me to run the affairs of ‘God’s Own State’ for one day. Though I didn’t do much, I knew fully well that I could make important decisions and they would be carried out.
What were the major things you aimed to achieve in your administration, and did you achieve them?
I really aimed at helping and impacting the lives of others through this office and that’s why I’m happy that I was able to free some correctional centre inmates. I also chaired a state executive council meeting. The council made plans on how to add value to more people’s lives even after our short stay in office. These plans, I believe, God will perfect.
Why did you visit the Correctional Centre, Afaraukwu in Umuahia? And were you comfortable with the condition of the inmates there?
I visited the correctional centre to free some individuals and I also advised them to be better citizens. Looking at the other inmates there, I would like to congratulate the person in charge of the correction centre for his tremendous efforts in helping those individuals. It might interest you to know that the inmates don’t just stay idle all day. They are made to learn different skills and trades.
What were your entitlements as the one-day governor? Will there be any allowance or scholarship, etc. for you after your administration?
Well, I was given a cash award and also a scholarship.
In the future, do you have plans of becoming a real governor of your state? And where do you see yourself in ten years?
Please, I was never a fake governor (laughs). Of course, this event has raised my interest in leading the state through a complete four-year tenure as the governor. But, I would say that, I rather go for my engineering aspirations.
In ten years, I see myself as a successful, well-known engineer, investor and business man—all by God’s grace.
How would you describe Governor Okezie Ikepeazu? And how did he react to your administration?
Oh my! He is good. God bless him. Governor Okezie Victor Ikpeazu’s motive behind this programme is to encourage students to do more academically. I can recall that there were a lot of students who took part in the competition. I felt and saw how happy he was to inaugurate and hand over to the first male one-day governor of Abia State, and the 3rd under his administration. He was so proud of that, I would say.
Chinemenma Umeseaka, Special Adviser to Abia State governor on Teen Matters, is the founder and organiser of the one-day governor programme. What can you say about her and the work she is doing in the state?
She is just good and hardworking. She fought tooth and nail to see that this event was made a reality and was successful too. Before that, in the course of the competition, I never knew her till the final results were out. She congratulated me. Not only is she the S.A to the Governor on Teenage Matters, she has her own programmes (mostly for teens) T.V shows, radio talk shows where she helps impact their lives the more. I could see happiness, fulfilment and joy on her face when she was about to present me to the governor. God bless Aunty Chichi, as we fondly call her
Which school do you currently attend? And what course do you intend studying in the university?
I just graduated (November 29, 2020) from Adventist Technical Secondary School. (Ebem Ohafia). I would like to attend the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) in Imo State, which I’ve already applied for to study Civil Engineering.
What major lessons did your administration teach you? And what advice do you have for teens that are aspiring to be like you?
I learnt a lot from my administration. To mention but a few: Leadership is not an easy task. Leaders suffer in the process of leading. It’s not really easy for them as one would think or conclude. I learnt to be careful now, knowing that few people, if not all, would like to be like me and do as I do. Therefore, I’ve to be careful in my doings, behavior, attitude and exhibitions wherever I am. Hard work pays. Determination and diligence are important as well. Above all, the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. I encourage all teens to fear God.
Finally, patience pays a great deal, fellow teenagers! My inauguration program which was held on 17th December 2020, was supposed to be held on 17th December 2019. But, for some circumstances not known nor understood fully by man, but by God, it held finally on 17th Dec 2020.