Just a day to his 46th birthday, the Deputy Governor of Kogi State, H.E. Chief Edward David Onoja (CIK) granted an exclusive interview to cablenews.ng on Saturday 8 August 2020, he spoke extensively about many areas of his life.
He recalled how he met his bosom friend, boss and Siamese twin brother, H.E. Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello many years ago in the course of his journey as a banker, an event that has shaped his life till tomorrow and many other things we were privileged to squeeze out of the number two citizen of Kogi State. Excerpts:
You marked your 45th birthday in August last year, how tasking is your new age?
EdwardOnoja: A new age in the life of man is an opportunity to stop, ponder, reflect and evaluate the total submissions of your previous years in life; it is an opportunity to sit in absolute submission in the presence of the Lord giving him unalloyed thanks and appreciating him for his mercy, protection and the gift of life. A new life for me is a continuous privilege bestowed on me by Jehovah, I shall live this year and beyond praising the Lord for his grace to be alive, for his bounties to sustain and for his shield against seen and unseen arrows of afflictions, malice, envy, and harm.
Can you tell us something about your family background, like how many were you in your family and so on?
EdwardOnoja: We were seven born to the family of Mr. David Amodu Onoja, a man with ancestral trace to Amedugu Family of Emonnyoku Clan in Ogugu, present-day Olamaboro in Kogi state. With one of us now late, Alex Onoja the initiator of the EBIGO Agenda, a movement birthed to destroy all tribal agendas in Kogi State leads the path today as the eldest of the children.
Did you actually train as a banker at the university?
EdwardOnoja: Yes but not in the University, I studied Geology and Mining in the prestigious University of Jos.
I underwent six months of intensive financial training in Banking and finance by learners & trainers owned by renowned Tutu Soleye (Aunty T).
I worked in the oil and gas industry for 5 years.
Banking and Finance for 10 years. I was a consultant for a while in the above fields.
Experienced in public service through the instrumentality of politics.
How is your relationship with your principal?
EdwardOnoja: I will use seven words to describe it:
We are the siamese twin of Nigeria.
How would you describe your boss and “Siamese twin” as you both fondly call yourselves?
EdwardOnoja: My boss and Siamese Twin can be described in many ways but I shall attempt to describe him with few words.
My boss is loving, appreciative, focused, courageous, trustworthy and a man of deeper wisdom who never goes back on his words. Never has he failed on any of his words in our 17 years of relationship. GYB na man him be!
Knowing fully well that politics and governance can be so demanding, how do you balance your political career with family life?
EdwardOnoja: Only God’s grace, patience, sacrifice can help one achieve such a balance. We keep learning how to achieve that. But with an understanding wife, siblings, parents, and children. God is being merciful.
You were nominated by His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello to replace the former Deputy Governor, how did you feel when the news of your elevation got to you?
EdwardOnoja: Four things I felt…
– Grateful to God for that uplifting.
– Thankful to my leader and principal for finding me worthy of that call to higher responsibilities and office.
– Appreciate Elder SIMON ACHUBA for being a vessel and a catalyst that quickened the rate of reaction by 97 days. Recall that on 9th September 2019 I was nominated by my boss as his running mate for the November 16th Gubernatorial Election to be sworn in on January 27th, 2020 if and when we win.
– Forever grateful to all other facilitators.
Are there memorable experiences you can remember in your University days and how has that shaped your ideology about life?
EdwardOnoja: One of my experiences in the university that sits glue to my memory was in my first year. Very interesting episode, we needed to offer some courses and mathematics was one of them. I wasn’t good at mathematics. My CGPA suffered in my 100 level, it was very challenging as I had to carry over the course consistently till my third year when I eventually passed it. Even though I passed all other courses, mathematics held me by the jugular! There was this book I read titled ‘How to Develop a Super Power Memory’. I read it immediately we resumed school. It gave me the tricks to understand what I was taught, I applied it in my studies and it yielded a bountiful result. I could rarely forget anything I read as at that time, that semester of course I didn’t carry it over. Uh, that was my best performance. I was among those who got distinction in Paleontology, a branch of science concerned with fossil animals and plants taught by a Bulgarian Professor. I maintained my academic resurgence throughout that year, not even my venture into student politics affected me.
with your unprecedented rise in ranking as the 002 of Kogi State from CoS to the Governor of Kogi State, how do you manage envy and criticism?
EdwardOnoja: The day you cave into distractions as a man with a purpose, that day you lose the focus of your drive. Envy and criticism are the catalysts that propel growth and development in a man’s life. A man that is without envious slights is a man without impact. Only the tree with ripening fruits get stoned, I have never seen where the neem tree is ever stoned, unlike the mango tree that gets the hurling of stones. Like the mango and other fruity-juicy-sweet trees, I remained stoic to envy and criticisms. They bring out the best in me as such; I welcome them in equal strides. If you stop to throw a stick at every dog that bark at you, be rest assured that your destination will remain a mirage. Criticism and envy do nothing to a body protected by the highest.
Thank you your Excellency for granting us this exclusive interview today, we pray God Almighty renews your strength like that of the eagle! Grow in Grace, in wisdom, and in favor with God and Men continually. Amen