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Monday, December 11, 2017

2019: There’s plan to replicate New Jersey model campaign in Nigeria – Chief Charles Eke

Leading light of the four Nigerians of Igbo extraction recently appointed into the transition team by the New Jersey-elected governor, Mr. Phil Murphy, is Honourable Chief CharlesUgochukwu Eke, who is a Computer Engineer by profession, having graduated from both the Clarion University of Pennsylvania and New Jersey City University. Eke who is the founder/Chief Executive Officer, Infotech Systems, and founder of Ngor-Okpala Progressive Organization (NOPO) for the Tri-state area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut), told award-winning Editor, ITRealms Online, REMMY NWEKE, of plans to replicate New Jersey model campaign in 2019 general elections in Nigeria.
Excerpts:
ITRealms: Give us your background for the benefit of our readers?

CUE: I am a high Chief Ochiri and Ogbuhuru Uzo and member of Knight of Columbus. I am an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) practitioner and politician, resident in United States. I started my career at EDS and later IBM. With the many years in the industry, I began my own firm, as the founder and Chief Executive Officer, Infotech Systems, which was founded in the city of Plainfield in 1995; we began providing communications, networking, and hardware, and software solutions to businesses.

As a result of the success, I was named delegate of the Commonwealth Business Forum in Abuja Nigeria and was inducted by the Who's who in Information Technology, New York, New York, since 1997. I was also an elected member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), as a Business Professional which also earned me much recognition in 1998, climaxing in the most prominent award which was the United States Congressional Order of Merit.

I have been a leading member in many organizations and for the outstanding community service to the public, I founded the International Students Association (ISA), located in New Jersey City University as an undergraduate; founded the Ngor-Okpala Progressive Organization (NOPO) for the Tri-state area.

I was named into the Board of Trustees of Zik Foundational Society USA (in honor of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Founding Father of Independent Nigeria) and have contributed as member and citizen of Plainfield, in various offices through the City of Plainfield, including the Plainfield Municipal Utility Authority, Councilman-at-Large, Committee Member Heritage/Cultural Commission, City Planning Board of Commissioners, African Caribbean Commission, Obama Organizing Fellow/Deputy Field Organizer in 2008.

ITRealms: Congratulations on your recent appointment by Governor-elect of New Jersey, Mr. Phil Murphy. Can you share some insights with us on that development?

I became a member of Team Murphy for Governor campaign through Rev Derrick Green who hired me and with Phil Murphy who supported my vision to start Africans for Phil Murphy which today played a great roll in mobilizing Africans and Caribbean that contributed greatly in victory of the governor elect.

I gave my best to the campaign for 18-month none pay crisscrossing New Jersey, organizing and campaigning for the candidate Murphy. I became a family member welcomed by him and that ushered in the four appointments and more to come.

ITRealms: I understand there were some other Nigerians also appointed by Gov. Murphy alongside your humble self. Who are those and what's your relationship with them?

CU Eke: Dr. Obilor Iwuozo is a medical doctor and was with me and contributed greatly. Always there whenever I need him; Dr. Francis Owoh is environmental engineer who answered my call for help when the candidate was not popular last year and he stayed with me till this day.

For, Chief Sir Polly Ubah, when I approached him, he provided his daycare business for a policy study and public outreach. He and his wife went to all rallies and canvassed with us. He brings education to early childhood to the public.

So in all, there are “Chief Sir Polly Ubah to serve in Education, Access and Opportunity; Chief Charles Ugo Eke in Government, Technology and Innovation; Chief Dr. Francis Owoh to serve in Environment and Energy; and Chief Dr. Iwuozo Obilor to serve in Health.”

ITRealms: How do you describe your relationship with residence of New Jersey in the United States to merit such appointment?

CU Eke: There are other African countries that made up Africans for Phil Murphy group and all hard works are appreciated and will be rewarded. Today in New Jersey we have made known to the citizens of New Jersey that if given chance and opportunities we can deliver victory. I rose to senior coordinator in the campaign and have helped bring victory to couple other elections in New Jersey. The zeal and exposures are very high in New Jersey.

ITRealms: With your experience, what would you say led to such inroad by Africans and particularly by Nigerians in the city politics in the US?

CU Eke: Persistent, patient, total loyalty and honest. I started in USA politics in 1995, contested first level in 1998 and won in my city, then served my term and in 2002 became commissioner two terms then in 2012 became citywide councilman at large completing a term, 2015 became county committee member and 2016 joined Murphy for Governor campaign.

ITRealms: Now that you have been appointed into Gov. Murphy administration, what can you share as your agenda to support the administration, moving forward?

CU Eke: We are currently in transition and I know we will do our best going forward.

ITRealms: The Trump administration is still struggling with the anti-migration policies. Do you think that has any impact on US relationship with Africa or Africans?

CU Eke: I don't think so and it should not remember state can have bilateral relationships between countries.

ITRealms: And by the way, which party is Gov. Murphy Or is he an independent candidate?

CU Eke: Murphy is a Democrat.

ITRealms: Where do you see Africans in the next decade in US politics, especially in New Jersey?

CU Eke: Mayors, Senators and leading politically and scientifically.

ITRealms: Do you foresee Africans contesting for Governorship in New Jersey?

CU Eke: Absolutely yes, before 10 years.

ITRealms: What impact do you think the appointments of Africans cum Nigerians by Gov. Murphy sends to other states in the United States and invariably to Africans too?

CU Eke: It's a great wake up call to other states and Africans in general and thanks to Rev. Derrick Green for his vision in bringing me into the campaign that started all these effects. I know other states are in a process of utilizing Africans brains to achieve victory.

ITRealms: Are you concerned about what is happening in Nigeria and her politics?

CU Eke: I am very concerned that people’s voices are not heard. I have been approached to bring this type of campaign to run election in 2019. Still thinking about it.

ITRealms: Are you considering playing in the Nigerian politics, at least to bring your experience to bear?

CU Eke:  At a right time, yes! I am not interested in running for any office, but to manage.

ITRealms: What message do you have for Africans and Nigerians precisely residing in United States?

CU Eke: Nigeria is my country as well as United States. I graciously thank United States of America for harnessing my potential and opportunities afforded me. Nigeria must trust the brain lost and find a way to regain it. Malaysia and India was able to develop because they used their citizens abroad with honest; why can't Nigeria?

ITRealms: Any concluding comment or message from you, sir?

CU Eke: I want to thank all that called text and sent in uncountable congratulatory messages and especially my director Rev Derrick Green and entire team Murphy and Africans for Phil Murphy. My wife who supported me throughout the hardest campaigns I have ever involved in. Thanks Odiuko namba.

ITRealms: Thanks for your time, Chief and congratulations again.


CU Eke: Thanks for having me!

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