Why I joined the PDP – Ohimai Amaize (MrFixNigeria)

by Hauwa Gambo

Ohimai Amaize is known to many young Nigerians and others for his activism and his work in public office – from the EFCC to his present assignment working for the Minister of Youth Development.

His recent public announcement of his pitching his tent with the PDP drew sharp surprise amongst his observers and associates, and, as part of our major feature this week on reviewing the political process post-PDP convention, we decided to ask him the whys and the hows.

You were a harsh critic of the PDP – how come you joined the party now?
Yes, I have criticised the party in the past but my criticisms were constructive and aimed towards helping the party serve Nigeria better. But like former president of America Theodore Roosevelt said, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.” If you take a look at my track-record, I have never been on the sidelines. Even while I was in the opposition, I was a key youth actor. Where many would rather be satisfied with being mere spectators, I have always dared to step out to become a player on the field and I just demonstrated that again by joining the PDP.

What has changed in the past one year about the party?
Nothing changed. Only my perspective of the party changed.

Are you really convinced as you said that it’s a great party – why?
PDP is a great party. Compared to other political parties in Nigeria, what isn’t great about the PDP? National spread? Structure? The party members? Here is a party that has paraded and still parades some of Nigeria’s finest brains. I maintain that the party is a great party.

Your former candidates, Nuhu Ribadu and Dele Momodu were in ACN and LP respectively and now you’ve moved to the PDP – how do you respond to the criticism about carpet-bagging?
Well, to set the records straight, I have never been a member of ACN, LP or any other party for that matter. So the issue of carpet-bagging is irrelevant here. Nonetheless, it must be understood that Ribadu and Momodu are great Nigerians in their own right and have a right to belong to any political party of their choice just like I have the same right too. If the reason I am expected to be in any political party is because such a party is home to some of my friends or mentors, then I lack the responsibility of decision-making. A patriotic citizen must be able to take responsibility for his or her decisions and actions, and the right to belong to a political party of one’s choice is just one of such rights.

What’s your reaction to the vicious backlash (on social media) to your announcement?
The vicious reactions as you have put it did not come to me as a surprise. I really would have been surprised if there were no such reactions. And the choice of making that announcement on social media was a deliberate move which has given voice to the reality of how opinionated some of our young people who profess to be agents of change can be. Some of the comments that trailed the announcement of my decision to join the PDP have only exposed the crudity that currently dominates our social media space and the extent to which some of our youths would go to demonise those who share different ideas, opinions and ideologies with them. And my disposition to all of these is that I am further gingered to ensure that I exercise with utmost honesty and responsibility, the duties that come with being a member of a ruling political party.

Still, why do you think the responses were that way?
It is very simple. Many of our young people want their opinions to be heard and accepted without subjecting same to the intellectual process of decent debate where only the superior argument wins. What we see on our social media space today is a combination of misappropriated youth anger and a clash of over-bloated egos. It’s all about young people who think they know and are desperate to show their peers how much they think they know. But let me say here as someone who is very active on social media that the social media space is also populated with some of Nigeria’s finest young people and I have been a direct beneficiary of their sound intellectual engagement. I deeply appreciate the efforts of such young people who have displayed great maturity and responsibility in the quality of their engagement with the government and my office in particular.

Many have said you were put under pressure perhaps by your minister – is that the case?
There was no pressure. As a matter of fact, my boss, the Honorable Minister of Youth Development and Supervising Minister of Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi for the first time heard about my decision to join the PDP on Twitter just like my other Twitter followers and he was happy to welcome me to the party fold. Why would he pressure me now when it wasn’t a condition for appointing me to work with him?

Why, in a nutshell, did you join the PDP?
I needed a platform to join hands with other well-meaning Nigerians to realize my change ideology. PDP provides that platform.

The National Youth Leader of the party is said to be a 60 year old – what are your thoughts about that?
I am new in the party and would not profess to know the details behind certain occurrences in the party at the moment, but one thing I also know is that age is not the defining criterion for youth management. The fact that you do not fall within the ‘youth’ age-bracket does not make you incompetent or incapable of leading or managing young people. So all I can say now is: let him be as long as he possesses the capacity to get the job done. But this also brings us to the issue of youth participation. How many ‘youth-age’ members of the party contested in that election? What was the level of their preparation? How far did they go to sell their candidacy to the party? These are issues I would personally consider before jumping to any conclusions.

How would you describe your political ideology?
My political ideology is all about social change.

Do young people who enter public service need to join political parties?
They all don’t have to join a political except they are convinced that joining a political party will help them realize their goals.

Do you intend to run for political office?
The future is long. That is a decision I want to leave to future events as they occur.

You’ve said young people can’t force a “change” agenda unless they make that change happen through politics – could you expand on that?
I have never really said it that way. But if what you mean is my idea of young people stepping out of their comfort zones to become a part of the process, or moving from mere talking to walking the talk, then you are correct.

You’ve complained about this, so we’ll ask it: expand on your thoughts on the quality of engagement and debate online?
The quality of engagement and debate online is really poor and one would have expected more given that young people agitating for social change largely populate the social media. Rather than harness the power of social media as a tool for constructively engaging government and their peers, many young Nigerians have reduced it to a platform for abusing government, government officials and those who share dissenting views with them.

You have been criticized harshly for moves and statements you have made – how do you move past them?
Such harsh criticisms come with the job. I believe my job as campaign manager to a presidential candidate in the last election helped me develop a thick skin for these harsh criticisms. I have also learnt a lot from the constructive criticisms but ignore the negative ones.

What really drives you?
The grace of God. I would have said passion for change but with experience, I have come to terms with the fact that passion alone is not enough.

Your boss has stopped his promised tweet-meets, is this a reaction to the texture of the debate online?
No, the tweet-meets will continue as topical issues of national interests that affect young people emerge from time to time.

Back to the PDP: the party, many have said, has not caused any positive change in over 10 years, what gives you confidence of change moving forward?
It is not true that the PDP has not caused any change in over 10 years. But does this mean we have gotten to a destination where there is no longer room for us to aspire towards greater heights? The answer is no. I am confident, especially under the new leadership of the party that we can always work together as a nation of progressives to move Nigeria forward.

What are the challenges of being in public service?
The challenges of being in public service are tough. It is akin to the challenges of the man in the arena. And again, to risk chorusing the words of Theodore Roosevelt, sometimes your face is marred by dust and sweat and blood. The public service is a place where you must work hard to succeed. It is a place where you make mistakes and come short again and again. But I’m always comforted by the fact that there is no effort without error and shortcoming.

So, what next now after joining the PDP?
For me, the first step towards understanding partisan politics is to join a political party. Now that I have joined the PDP, I want to sit down, learn and understand the dynamics of politics the way it is run in the nation’s ruling party.  And if ever I have cause to find anything wrong with the party, I will always draw fulfillment from the fact that I criticize or try to bring change within as an insider who understands the internal realities of the party and not as an outsider who at best would base his or her opinions on mere assumptions.

Thank you for your time, Mr. Amaize.

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Comments (36)

  1. Please stop giving the dog a bad name in order to hang it. I told "Mr Fix (Scatter Nigeria)" about my YOUWIN application fine i even sent him mails to that effect. Does that mean i should not tell him the truth? Please go and look @ his previous comment on facebook and what my reply was… How long will the Nigerian youths be fooled in the name of politics. Is contacting HIV the penacea to curing the disease? This country is dying and all one of the people that is suppose to champion the course for change can do is to lobby for public office and start to say that one party (PDP) is a great party: God i am more than disappointed. To the one that posted the comment or if it is Ohimai himself; do not take things personal those that made comments only told you the truth. The political class in Nigeria a resounding disgrace (PDP inclusive) You (Ohimai) have only succeded in making yourself one of them i wonder where the "fix Nigeria" crusade was when the Fuel subsidy protest was HOT. In case there is another YOUWIN program i will still apply and contact you. You have only two options you either help by way of advise or any other or on the extreme… DO YOUR WORST!!!!! I keep saying it you are an epitome of shame to the Nigerian Youth.

  2. All I can see from loads of thoughts on this comment thread is misguided anger and outright jealousy. Ohimai, I urge you to continue undettered and ensure that integrity is your fortè. Only time will vindicate your decision. As always I root for you. Thank you.

    BTW: The fake person posing as @toluogunlesi, you have been bursted by this tweet from the real person…Someone's gone and posted a comment on @YNaija as "Tolu Ogunlesi" (http://bit.ly/Hl2T4u). I think I write, spell, punctuate better than that… *unless you both share the same name* Yours truly @blcompere (Twitter)

  3. GBAM!!!!! u don talk am finish..

  4. @Osahon Omoruyi

    Why base your judgement about someone based on other people's opinion? How convenient. Very easy to point at who we think is the devil while forgetting our real enemies. I can almost bet my life that most of the people who have abused Ohimai on this thread have never met him but only rely on hearsay to make their judgements.

    @KB

    I don't hold any brief for Ohimai but one thing I detest is using private grudges to settle public scores. It is evil and smells of raw crude envy and small-mindedness.

  5. @ Kunle how do you know about Oluwasegun's YOUWin application? You were in MrFixNigeria's office for the same reason?

    I don't know MrFixNigeria but I'll have to say, this interview made him sound like a man who is full of himself. If he's truely a "leader",humility and service should be his watchword. Nuff said

  6. @Oluwasegun

    Wonders will never end. You have been bugging Ohimai to help you make it through with your YouWiN application and he politely told you his office was not in charge of the project. You took offense claiming he wasn't willing to help his pal from UI days. Now this is how you think you want to get back at the young man? You have no shame! I know you very well Segun, you were his junior back then at the Department of English, UI and I think if you have anything against your former course mate, there more honorable and decent ways of settling it rather than this naked show of shame. This thread stinks of envy and jealousy!

  7. Na wa! Just becos one small boy join PDP na I'm una start to day curse they abuse am ilk dis? I wish I know the guys sef, Let him run for president make we see whether heaven go fall. See bad belle sha! Kai!

  8. While I must admit that I do not know Ohimai, from the comments on this blog & the comments in your interview, one thing is clear, the fella is just full of s**t!!!

  9. So MrFixNigeria Ohimai has finally joined the PDP. I do not know him personally but watching move from political player to political player, it's clear this guy's ideology involves himself and his stomach alone.

    While you are free to join any party of your choice and to also deceive your yourself as to your reasons for doing so, please do not attempt to pour salt on a rotting corpse and ask us to eat it. The PDP is the worst thing that has happened to Nigeria over the past decade and your lies do not change that.

    One thing we promise you though, is that in this generation, the internet forgets nothing. We will remember your history when the time comes and how you wormed and crawled your way into power like some slimy animal. All in the name of "Yoot Leader" and "Fixing Nigeria". Sellout.

  10. The youth of this era are grossly unprepared for the bulk of the sacrifices needed to ford the country to the place we intend for it. Many of these tongue mongers so do to accentuate their names, and only time unguys them as the volatile, unstable, shaky and uncaring character they truly are. Their mouths are sprawling acres of cants. They easily licence the cabal of gross misanthropes as the a crew of caring hearts just for bagfuls of bank-worths of ugliest pelf.

  11. …history always has something to prove per time, we are watching!

  12. Ohimia,U are as unstable as the wind,one minute its Ribadu,the next minute Bob-Dee, now PDP,ha!!!! One thing seems clear though,you do not know the signs of time…..and that is the one characteristics of a foolish man! There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a man with ambition, but all this bragado is uncalled for.You are not in anyway going to fix our beautiful nation….you are in no way the messiah of this country,you are just another hungry boy,who is trying to get a bite from the national table.You have a track record for deception,using people to get things….we are watching you…

    1. I love u Tolu Ogunlesi

  13. This is one young man great minds in Nigeria should beware of….the guy stands for nothing so everything goes for him…I'm not surprised though.

  14. There is no other interpretation to fickleness than lack of integrity. Unfortunately so many individuals transit so easily from one side of an argument or criticism to the other. How can you oppose an ideology and before one bats an eyelid you become a proponent of what you once vehemently opposed? Though you claim to be unperturbed by public opinions, you need to know the reason every opinion of you is negative is connected to the fact that you are not honest with your intentions. You are not trying to fix Nigeria, you are fixing yourself into positions so as to achieve your personal ambitions. There is nothing wrong in that, just stop being phony.

  15. It looks like the comments by Oluwasegun has become a bigger story than Ohimai's interview. I seriously think Oluwasegun knows a thing or two about Ohimai.

  16. i am totally disappointed in the interviewee.a true discription of robert greene's power hustler.

  17. No hope for Nigeria. Thats all i can carved out of Ohi's decision.

    I couldnt believe my eyes reading him defending a 60yrs old as a youth leader. Does it mean that he doesnt know the age range for youth anymore or what? No wonder we have 35yrs old playing in U21 team.

    IBB was right. Nigerian youths are not ready to rule.

    By the way, I considered it a citizens right and privilege to join a political party. It should be national responsibility for all from required minimum age.

    I guess Ohi's checked the record of all PDP state governors and compared them with other political parties before he claimed PDP is progressing. As of today, those working governors are not from PDP.

  18. Idiot, again Idiot, get off the public sphere if you cannot handle the insults. You must realise that when you decided to mount the walls of the public sphere especially one as deregulated as the social media, you should brace urself for criticisms. have u any idea what non-aggressor principle is? i guess not, to the extent that no one has threatened with ur violence, accept the verbal altercations with grace. and if in ur small mind, u were given this platform to explain ur (in)actions, u decided to denigrate people who hold u in very low esteem; note, it is also their opinion and they feel strongly about it. More so, when u shittingly decided to call urself a "youth leader", you chose to live above d average man and do things more appropriately. I see u also armed urself with Theodore Roosevelt's works, well d man was nothing like u. he had better sense and even while d public sphere was much narrower in his time, he never condescended as low as to put down his critiques. here is a quote from the man whom u are nuthin like: "The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."

    and to tell d truth Ohimai, U are a jerk, especially as u do not understand d complexities of d social media.

  19. A case of the hyena that flirts with the chicken not knowing its date of death has come. Why will the PDP not be a great party? A dog will never refer to its master as bad no matter what as far as the master puts food in its mouth. Ohimai those of US that know you from school know very well that that Mr fixnigeria crusade was just a facade we know how you flirt with Mr Nuhu Ribadu in order to get posted to Abuja and by consequence the EFCC for your youth service. So you are not just in position to fix any Nigeria in fact change that caption "Mr. FixNigeria" to the opposite you are a student of the English Language so you know what to do. Yes the PDP is a "great" party and we all know it even you. A party that is fraughted with a lot of atrocities where criminals are celebrated and worthy individuals are fiercely downplayed. A piece of advise; you guys should amass enough wealth as soon as possible because time is running out!!!!!!

  20. Hear him "nothing has changed about the PDP but my perspective has"…….oshi ile pako…we all know what has changed…he was a hungry youngman then when he was criticizing and now he is earning cool bucks!!!we are Nigerians and we know it!!!he ain't the first and wouldn't be the last..Uncle Abati sef catch the bug

  21. I have known Mr FixNigeria from school as a sugar coated-fraudster and a desperately hungry fellow who'd do anything to help his pocket. I knew he will make it in Nigeria because the name of the game here is deception. Who does not know that the easiest way to be invited to 'come and chop' in Nigeria is to position oneself as a government critic?

    We're a gullible people and that is why we'll always be decieved by these fellows. Shame on us!!!!

  22. What a hungry looking figure he cuts! Quoting Roosevelt up & down. I guess you think you are in some church where you can fleece your followers with biblical quotes twisted to your favour.

    PDP has always had the structure and national presence you claim makes it a great party; so why are you just realising their greatness after so many months & years? What glorious achievement of theirs changed your oh so fickle mind?

    Unfortunately you have failed yourself and the public's eyes are opening wider. Your 'good' reputation will indeed precede you & posterity will judge you harshly. The only passion I see you have is a passion to promote your name; you are not a change seeker, you have done nothing for Nigeria except to pursue your selfish interest and i have no qualms with that, but you need to own up and stop parading yourself as some change agent. Go look at the history of those whose words you so incessantly quote – sacrifice is what they have in common. You are just a mere political Jobber an administrative assistant to be precise, all you do is tweet and retweet.Lol!

  23. This guy is totally one of them,Says everything about the level of decadence and corruption.That we,grow to emulate those corrupt PDP politicians.sorry,amaize

  24. But godwin has always bin an opportunist who thinks he is smarter than he trully is right from his UI days, everything is a means to an end for him, he could use anybody to get anything! Even Dele Momodu was just a means to an end for him. he can sell his mom just to get to what he deems d next level. What do u think history will say about u? Even in ur wildest dreams u can never ever be d president of Nigeria. Cos really that's what u ar targetting. Am so happy u are joining PDP when its crumbling.

  25. It's a personal decision to join a political party and I commend anybody that is bold enough to follow their dreams. Ohimai has however proved himself to be of questionable character (dare I say he has none!). In trying to understand some of the statements he made in this interview, I asked him some questions supported with quotes on twitter. However, he chose to ignore the questions but then selectively retweeted some quotes which made it appear that I was blindly loyal to his views. This was upsetting as I would not like my tweets to be manipulated for someone's media propaganda. He refused to acknowledge other tweets in which I asked why he was doing that. This led to my conclusion that he is just as phony as the rest and 'without character'! He again selectively retweeted this and added 'so much hate'.

    When I first read the article, apart from the usual rhetorics of great party blah blah, I thought he presented himself quite alright even with my reservations. He said people are crude and use social media wrongly – is his selective hearing/retweeting while not engaging right? If I knew he was that kind of individual, I wouldn't have mentioned him in my tweets. He just joined a party without fully understanding their ideology or modus operandi but yet calls the party 'great'.

    Tired of his kind who think they can say anything and get away with it without being confronted. He isn't any different from the others, just younger!

  26. I agree with @MrFixNigeria on these (though I am of "the opposition"):

    1. We just demonise anyone who holds different opinions, which is sad really, cos opposition makes one better.

    2. "The man who is actually in the arena" stands a better chance of effecting change, which is more crucial.

    3. We need better political parties. Cos like he said, PDP is a great party COMPARED TO other political parties here.

    4. We as dissenting youth need to use social medium in a more constructively engaging way. No need for rudeness and insults.

    Now I disagree with MrFixNigeria in these:

    1. PDP is NOT a great party. (When comparing to the worst, it would tend to look that way)

    2.The youth leader should NOT be a 60yr old, regardless of his competencies compared to all other youth or level of youth participation. That defeats the essence of the term "youth".

    3. When the interviewer says PDP has not been involved in ANY change in 10yrs, you know he doesn't mean ANY as in not one single thing, but relative to what is expected of the ruling party, it's less than a drop in an ocean.

    Now my question to you, nothing changed in PDP since the days you criticized it, what changed your "perspective" about the party?

  27. Is Mr Amaize free to join any party he pleases? Yes.

    Is Mr Amaize free to tell us, sane citizenry, that the PDP has been a good/great party that has changed Nigeria over the last ten years? No.

    Does Mr Amaize sound like a broken record reading a script handed down to him? Yes.

    What should Mr Amaize do? Quit trying to validate his actions because they are protected by the freedom of choice. Instead, Mr Amaize needs to get busy and do what he has set out to do.

    Do ALL young people absolutely need to join political parties to effect change? No, not at the expense of losing their sanity. The ideological differences between parties in Nigeria border on flimsy and so while we have 50+ parties, we're not exactly spoilt for choice.

    What should young people do? Join social initiatives, help enlighten the poorer members of society and put joining political parties on the backburner-for now at least.

    1. Thank you. You have quite frankly put it as succintly as possible.

  28. People lets get some perspective: Anybody can join any political party of their choice. All this noise achieves is making an entirely irrelevant person and his actions seem big. He is just an assistant, if he wants to join NURTW or even NFF, that is his headache.

  29. My thoughts about Mr Fix Nigeria has oscillated between commendation and reproof, from the first time I heard about him about two months ago. I admire young people who are proactive about their beliefs and convictions, I also believe that more young people with a vision and passion for change should venture into the public arena. However, I dont know this gentleman personally and thus cannot comment on his motives; all i can do is wish him the best and admonish him to remember that a good name is better than riches. He should endeavor to maintain his integrity at all times and in all situations.

    Mr Fix Nigeria, as a young person in government, you have a responsibility to set a good example for other youths to follow; dont be the reason the world will scoff at us and say "see them, they are clamouring for change; demanding that the youths be given a chance; now look at what the so called leaders of tomorrow are doing". I pray God gives you the grace to overcome the many temptations I perceive in your future, I pray you dont become like the young Anakin Skywalker in star wars, who flirted so much with the dark side that eventually, he became one of them. Power and riches are very seductive, it is very easy for an ambitious young person to be overcome by them. That will not be your portion by God's grace.

    Finally, the decision you have taken is nobody's business but yours alone; joining a political party is not a sin, neither is it a crime. Whatever consequences accrue from your decision whether good or bad are yours alone to bear; I wish you the best.

    1. He has been told all this severally. Someone's using him and he'll soon discover

    2. Well said…

  30. He join PDP for selfish reason to become politically relevant and already supporting their bad policies when he agreed that a 60 year old man as d right to be a Youth leader.

  31. Is this a joke?..

cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail