It was the turn of Port Harcourt (Rivers) to host Nigeria’s biggest national consumer promotion, the Gulder Ultimate Promo. As early as 6 am, a crowd of contestants had started to gather at the Liberation Stadium venue where The Chase kicked off.
The box containing the car keys was eventually found by another ‘Chinedu’; this time around Chinedu Ifezue, who travelled all the way from Onitsha (Anambra) to Port Harcourt (Rivers) in pursuit of the brand new Hyundai Elantra car, being offered by Gulder for its loyal consumers.
In this interview, 23 year old Chinedu Ifezue speaks on how he won the grand prize of a brand new car.
‘I almost gave up’ – Chinedu Ifezue, winner of brand new car
How did you hear about the promo?
I saw a billboard with the inscription Lots of people will win big on it and that the promo would end in November. The first day I saw it, I was very happy. I believed in myself that this was an opportunity for me. If it wasn’t an opportunity for me, Gulder wouldn’t have done this promo. And I believe Gulder to be very real because I’ve been engaging in their promos for few years. I’ve won recharge cards and some other gift items and I sincerely believe that it is real. I was at Enugu last week for the first leg of the Ultimate Chase when my namesake, Chinedu Odimgbe won the first car.
Sticks? What does that mean?
When they said sticks, they were referring to my legs. I prayed to God for success. I told my father that I was going back to school because if I had told him of my original intention, he would not have allowed me to go. I also told my mom I was going back to school, but instead I came to Port Harcourt. I slept in the church last night because I don’t know anybody in Port Harcourt. Though it took the church hours before they could even allow me to sleep.
This morning, I woke up, thanked them and left for the stadium. Before I started the journey to Port Harcourt, I asked my grandmother to pray for me. She prayed for me and told me God would lead me through, that I’m going to come back a winner and I believed her.
By the time you got to the golden box had any of the other contestants gone there?
No. it was only me. I was surprised.
So, what guided you in that direction?
I believe it was God because by looking at the map, what I was able to decipher was that some spots were marked X, I believed there was nothing there. I wanted to jump over the gate and meet the Gatekeeper, because we had to jump a gate to meet the Gatekeeper, but I couldn’t. I was tired. Then some guys forced the gate open. When I got the map and I tried reading it, I said God, this is the only chance I have. And I saw like two or three boxes that were empty before I now saw the one that had the car keys. I couldn’t even carry it again because I was so weak and tired. I had gassed out.
You said you were in Enugu last week?
Yes, I came to Enugu when I heard about it with my six crown corks, but I was turned back because I came late. I came around 11am because there was monthly environmental sanitation in Anambra. After seeing it and I couldn’t participate, I said to myself, this is real, I believe in Gulder. On seeing it, I said I am coming to Port Harcourt.
My friends tried to discourage me that I don’t know anybody in Port Harcourt, that I had never been to Port Harcourt, but I was resolute. I came to Port Harcourt with faith. I had to sleep in the church. I was using the Google map on my phone to check around. When the driver stopped me, I checked around and I saw Emmanuel Anglican Church.
Now, you told your parents you were going back to school, but you went somewhere else.
Yes. And the reason I did so was that my parents are strict. They wouldn’t have allowed me.
When you went to Enugu, did you tell them where you were going?
I told my dad that I was going for a conference and he allowed me to leave the house. My parents are very strict and for you to please my dad, you will need the courage of more than 1,000 men.
Who among your parents have you spoken to?
The first person I have spoken to is my mom because if I had called my dad and spoken to him about this, he might even ask me to leave the car and start coming home. He will ask me if I am sure of what I am saying. He is a very strict man.
How about your mom?
My mom didn’t believe it and up till now, she does not believe because she went to visit my sister that gave birth in Lagos. So, I phoned and I told her that I’ve won a car for her, that it’s her birthday gift, because she has not told us her birth date, but I saw it on her CV. I told myself that I needed to buy my mother a car as a gift because she would be double my age. She doubled my age on October 7. She is 46, while I am 23, and this only happens once in a lifetime.
So, this car is a gift for her?
Yes, it is a gift for my mom.
Won’t that make your dad jealous?
It won’t make my dad jealous. My dad loves my mum so much, he sacrificed everything for her. I’m going to marry my wife the way my dad married my mum.
You said your mom is yet to believe you.
The only way she is going to believe is when I get home with this car. Now she hasn’t believed. In as much as she said she has believed, she hasn’t believed. I know her. It is only when she sees me and touches me and the car is parked at home and after a week and no one comes to take the car away, only then will she believe.
When you told your mom, was she angry?
Last night, before they could allow me to sleep in the church, I had to call my parish priest so that he could confirm he knows who I am because I’m an Anglican; so I called my mom to send me his number. When my mom sent the number of the parish priest, she was like why do you want his number? And I replied that I wanted to have a discussion with him because I’m among the Alter Boys, the people that clean the altar before worship.
She was like okay, so she sent me the number. I called him and they did a lot of arrangement before they could allow me to sleep in the church. He called and told my dad that someone called and told him he is the son and that the person is in Port Harcourt.
So my dad called me and asked where I was. I told him I was in school. He said no, tell me the truth so I told him I was in Port Harcourt. He asked me why and I told him I was here for a programme.
How do you feel now?
I don’t even know how I feel now, seriously. I can’t say exactly how I feel because it’s a dream come true. I believed. But in as much as I believed, as a human being, I doubted it along the line. But the Good Book says that it’s not by our efforts, but by God’s mercies and His grace.
What words do you have for the Gulder brand?
If I were to be the president of this country, I’m sure I’m going to place Gulder as number one, not because I won their car, because Gulder is changing lives and people’s lives are being changed for the better for real. If Gulder was to be an app on playstore, I will give them five stars, no, six stars, no, a thousand stars.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Chinedu Ifezue. I’m 23. I’m a student of Anambra State University, currently in my 400 level studying Chemical Engineering. I’m from a Christian home and we are from Idemili North Local government, Ogidi, Anambra State, Nigeria. My dad is a businessman, he sells cattle and my mom is a primary school teacher.
- RASHEED ABUBAKAR