Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
Ahead of the 2024 governorship election in Edo State, one of the aspirants on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Joe Ikpea, said he is the best among other aspirants to clinch the party ticket.
Ikpea, a former Commissioner for Oil and Gas in Edo State, and Executive member of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), who said this during a visit to the secretariat of the Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), yesterday insisted that being a foundation member and major financer of the party in the state, he should be compensated with the party governorship ticket.
Asked if he was aware his party, the APC, has streamlined aspirants from his zone (Edo Central) to three, of which his name is copiously missing, Ikpea said he was aware, but insisted that he would continue with his course, and that with God all things are possible.
He added: “We were invited for a meeting in Abuja where we were asked to provide our membership card, voter card, and proof of support for the party over the years. And if we go by that, I think, I should be the person to be considered. If you look at the history of the party, I am one of the founding members, and not just founding member, but one of the financers of the party.
“But like I said earlier, the party can do whatsoever they wish. But I believe in God, I am going to push my course and leave the rest to God.”
Ikpea, who is a younger brother to billionaire business mogul, Leemon Ikpea, while noting that the party has the final decision on who to fly the governorship flag, said he expect that his labour for the party over the years, will be recognised by giving him the ticket.
The aspirant, who promised to support anyone the party gives the governorship ticket, should he not get it, said his interest to put many wrong things such as infrastructural decay, unemployment, etc, right, has been the propelling factor to govern the state.
He added: “So, if given the opportunity to govern the state, having known the history, having known the problems of the state, having worked with different administrations in the state, I am in the best position to right many wrongs. I know our challenges. One of our major problems in the state is unemployment.
“Edo is more into agriculture. We have to use the vast land provided by God for us. In Edo South, we have oil, in Edo North, we have solid minerals, these are ways we can create jobs for the people if we utilise them. If we go into agriculture, our youths will get jobs. This will reduce several crimes such as kidnapping, experience in the state.”
Elaborating further on how he planned to use agriculture to tackle unemployment in the state, the aspirant said: “If you look at the banks, they declare a lot of profits each year. If I have the opportunity to be governor of the state, I will have discussion with the banks to invest their profit in agriculture in our state. I will discuss with them on the area they have interest in the agricultural sector and ask them to invest in such areas. I will also discuss on how the profit will be shared among us. It will be a kind of partnership.
The one-time local government chairman of Esan South-east, also promised to use the oil and gas in Edo South to set up modular refinery to create jobs for the teaming youths in the state, and also invest in mental healthcare in the state.
Lamenting that many of the youths have now gone into drugs, and their future being threatened due to the manner things are going, he also said: “The future of our youths is in doubt. The reason why it is in doubt is that, most of them have gone into alcoholism. The reason why many of them have gone into alcoholism is because they are Idle. So, under healthcare, if given the opportunity, I will look at mental healthcare. I will give the youths the opportunity too play a major role in our government.”