Though the MTN’s “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” show has just been suspended by the promoters, but there remains only one person that won the Grand prize of #10 million out of thousands in the show’s many years of existence. That person is Chimuanya Aroma Ufodike, an Nnewi born intelligent and unassuming chap who was cynosure of all eyes and at the centrestage in 2009, the year he won it. AKINWUMI DICKSON Of Brandcampaign. Com.Ng had a chat with him at his Lagos abode . Excerpts.
Brandcampaign. Com.Ng : You were the only participant that ever grabbed the grand prize of #10 million at the MTN ‘Who Want To Be A Millionaire’ show, what inspired you to participate in the shows?
Chimuanya UFODIKE: My motivation was trying to show that after several seasons that no Nigerian had won that grand prize, it seemed Nigerians were not intelligent people and it was annoying that after one of my friends had gone to that show, I felt I should go for it. I had one of my friends from Abuja, who couldn’t win too, as well as an auntie of mine then, a retired principal, did not win too.
I made up my mind that I was going to be on the show and that I would win. Many people did not believe me though i had tried in the past to play some on-the-street-games, but lost as a kid. I played it with the money which my mother gave me to grind beans, I used the money for gaming, I lost.
As a kid, I also played a try-your-Luck promo operated by a popular soft drinks brand whereby we were told to get nine animals from the corks of the drinks. Then my elder brother bought about ten crates but I was able to get eight animals, only unable to get the head of the elephant, Again I lost the money.
About MTN ‘Who Wants To Be a Millionaire’, I tried the SMS option, but was not successful until I learnt about the online version which I was comfortable with. There was this very good rival of mine who proved tough but I managed to knock him off. I stayed for one month, after one month, they did not call me and I lost interest.
About a month later, someone just called me on phone, that she was from Ultima Studios to congratulate me that I had won #50,000.00 (fifty thousand naira only). I just told the caller off that she was calling a wrong number, and she should try another number. She later used MTN 180 call centre number to call me. That was when I knew that it was real. I was later told to send my account number which I initially refused but later acceded to and I was credited with the sum of #50,000.00. That was when I believed the whole drama, after which they invited me to appear to record the live shooting of the show where I eventually grabbed that much hyped grand prize. I could remember that while we were watching the show before my own, some of my colleagues who had read books on the American, British Versions. I became surprised, that, how on earth could anybody have read those big books and felt he could remember all those stuff minutes or hours before the day. Impossible. And again, the show is all about your confidence, your experience and the ability to remember those little things.
Brandcampaign. Com.Ng : All these years that you tried your luck in various gaming shows, what was the feeling of your friends and family members towards your attitude?
Chimuanya UFODIKE: I had left work, I left Diamond Bank in 2000, so I had time, I was alone, living in my own apartment. I did not feel bad about it. Though, a few of my friends, knew, that I was aiming for it but I did not tell my twin brother and my family members, probably to surprise them, I did not want to raise anybody’s hope then, you wouln’t know when it would happen.
Brandcampaign. Com.Ng : Having won #10 million, what plans came to your mind immediately as always asked on the show?
Chimuanya UFODIKE: I wasn’t surprised when I won, because I knew I was going to win. I had already planned what to do with the money. I was in business and I had to put the money into the business 100%. Once I won, the people I was owing were calling that “oh boy”, pay me my money, so, I had to offset the debts and channeled the rest of the money into my business end here. The fact is that if you don’t know the questions, you would never know it.
I did not read a book, I did not bother to read anything, because take for example, “how on earth could anybody teach you who Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s mother is. I did not read for the show, that is the truth. I did not bother to read any book, because you would never know where they will ask questions, whether it could be from Science, Arts, Music, Movies or even Religion or philosophy?