`Nollywood actor, Yul Edochie in 2017 joined some other actors going into politics as he contested the Anambra governorship election held in November 2017 under the Democratic Peoples Congress (DPC), netting a total of 145 votes. In this interview with Newton-Ray Ukwuoma, Yul, the son of actor, Pete Edochie, talks about his ordeal in politics as well as other issues as they relate to acting. Excerpts:
How was the whole election process?
First, let me congratulate Governor Willie Obiano on his victory at the polls. The process was a fulfilling one. Stressful but I would do it all over again for the good of the people, the youths.
You conceded defeat so easily and congratulated the governor, did you see it coming?
Yes! I think I saw it coming towards the end. Three days to the election, some of my party members went to pay allegiance to another party, accepted money from them and said that I I had stepped down, which they didn’t discuss with me before doing. And it went viral. I did a video to counter that. But the propaganda had spread so quickly and my supporters thought I had stepped down. But I hold nothing against anyone, it’s all politics.
Did that make you lose hope?
No. I never lost hope till the end.
When were the results announced what was your immediate reactions?
No one likes losing certainly, but I thanked God for the experience and keeping me alive all through and I moved on quickly.
Have you dreamed or pictured yourself in the government house?
Yes! I pictured myself being in a capacity to give the people good governance.
Now that you had a little bit of experience, will you try House of Assembly?
House of Assembly? I don’t know yet.
Are you currently eyeing any political office, like speculated?
No! I’m not eyeing any political office. I’m concentrating on rendering services to the people and government of Anambra in any way I can to ensure a better life for my people.
Do you have regrets venturing into politics?
No regrets at all. I’m happy I ventured into it and I have come to stay in politics. And I urge more Nigerian youths to come into politics. We all need to know how our states and country are being run and make contributions. If you are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem. 95 per cent of the people in Nigerian politics are there to grab money; they don’t care about giving the people good governance. So, if we keep waiting for them to change things then we are wasting our time. We need more good people of integrity to come in and kick start the real change we want.
Would you say it was a wasted effort?
No! It wasn’t a wasted effort at all. I gained so much experience which I couldn’t have gotten elsewhere. It brought me closer to the people and I witnessed various problems which different communities in Anambra are facing. Through me, their voices would be heard.
So, what’s next for you?
As time goes on I’ll figure out what next for me.
How has this affected your acting career?
Well, I left acting and directing for months to achieve this. And a lot of my people missed me. I missed them too. I’ll be back.
How were you even able to joggle the two?
I dropped movies and concentrated on politics.
How did your family cope during the long absence?
My family coped well.
Your Father, Pete, what was his role in all of these?
My father just encouraged me.
People were saying not even your parents or brothers voted for you, how true was that?
Not true. My people voted. It was the whole propaganda of me stepping down that reduced my votes because a lot of my supporters believed I had stepped down.
Your colleagues didn’t give you support. Didn’t you carry them along?
I carried my colleagues along as much as I could. Of course, I wouldn’t force anyone to support me. It was their choice. I have nothing against anyone.
Whats the true story behind the Channels Debate?
About the channels , I wasn’t invited, but it was not nice, because a young man who defied all odds to run for governor at 35, without sponsors or godfather deserves to be heard. I attended the two debates that were held before the channels one and many of the candidates in the big parties did not attend.
It was said that you couldn’t raise the N1.8m they had requested, true?
Well, nobody asked me to pay 1.8m. If they asked them to pay then its a shame because it shouldn’t be so. Candidates are not supposed to pay money to be heard.
What has all these taught you about life?
It made me stronger as a person.
Should we expect a Nollywood movie detailing your experiences during the campaign?
No. I’m not doing a movie about my experience.
What did you miss while you were running around during the campaign?
I missed my family and my Nollywood family as well.
Not even during your energic performances?
No. God gave me this ginger.I prepare for every performance like it’s my last, plus I work out a lot too.
What was life like as an up and coming artiste?
Life as an up and coming artiste was very rough and tough. I remember those days of Benson and Hedges concerts; we used to watch Plantashun Bois from afar. We struggled to get shows. Nobody wanted to invest in what they were not sure of. Who were you to share stage with people like Modenine, 2Face or Junior and Pretty! But we made it to this side through hard work, God’s grace and mercy.
Now that Alterplate has officially been launched, what is the next thing?
Alterplate Music Company has been launched officially, the next level is content production in proving what the platform, Alterplate is really and truly about.
What should we be expecting from Mr. Song?
Expect the best from me and also expect to see and feel versatility in full picture.
Any plans for a new album yet?
Yes, I will drop the album this year but not too sure when.
What should your fans expect from the album?
I’ll try to give them the best in the album; the team is really working hard to make sure we’ve one of the best albums this year.
List of producers you are going to be working with it and the artists that are likely to be on the album?
We have a lot of hands on deck working on the album, Del B, Pastor Sam, Twinsbeatz and many more.
What inspires your writing generally?
It depends on what is inspiring me and what’s trending at that moment and I write in that direction.
Aside from you, do you have any other artist signed to Alterplate?
Yes, I have three artistes signed under Alterplate Music.
What is that thing that stands Alterplate out?
After plate music is different because of our sound definition.
Over the years, you’ve been a man of great substance to the industry, what is that thing that stands Mr. Song out from the crowd?
I work smart and I pray; that’s all.
You gave out one of your luxurious wristwatches to a fan. How does that make you feel ?
It was almost very hard for me; but the guy was shouting very loud and was fighting his way up to me through the securities; shouting, ‘Harrysong I love you’.
I just couldn’t help but acknowledge him and leave a blessing with him. It’s a privilege for me as Harrysong to be blessing people.
Why do you think some talented Nigerian artistes fail at some point in their career?
Too many things can make a musician fail, such as laziness and blank vision, etc.
Who are your favourite all-time Nigerian musicians?
They are Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Rex Lawson and Tuface Idibia. I love their legacy and inspirations.
Where do you see yourself and the Alterplate movement in five years from now?
I see Alterplate taking over the African/Nigerian music business. We should be inspiring the world by the grace of God. Please, keep praying for us. We love you all.
How do you maintain your voice?
I maintain my voice by resting and working on it with warm water and honey.