Recently, Popular News had a chat with Barrister Ken Imansuangbon, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State and two others as it relates to the political climate in the state in anticipation of 2024.
Daniel Enebi, Commissioner representing Edo Central in the Edo State Oil and Gas Producing Area Development Commission (EDSOGPADEC)
I want to see what happened as a continuation of his support for Governor Obaseki. It is a joint affair. He keyed himself into Governor Obaseki’s vision and even went further to make promises that if the people voted for Obaseki he was going to reward them with more rice. And they did. They did massively in the whole of the 18 local governments in Edo State. And been who he is, a kind of Obaseki himself. He thinks like Obaseki.
Obaseki does not make promises that he does not fulfil and so is Ken Imansuangbon. Having made a promise to the people “if you vote Obaseki I will give you more rice.” This is a tip of the iceberg because you know the Christmas time is the main time. What he has just done is an introduction into the Christmas season for them. He made a promise “vote for Obaseki and get more of this thing.” And the people did.
He is just playing his own part of that agreement. Everything is about Obaseki now. The governor himself cannot be in touch with everybody. He needs leaders. Imansuangbon is a leader in the whole of Edo State. His constituency goes beyond Edo Central. He is an asset to Governor Obaseki and he is exploiting all the assets to make Obaseki succeed. For now every effort is geared towards making Obaseki succeed. Ken Imansuangbon pledged to support Obaseki and that support has not ended. That’s what he is still showing.
Is all these things that Barrister Ken Imansuangbon is doing not geared towards 2024?
I think he is capable of talking when the time for that comes. For now everything is about Obaseki. The challenge that Obaseki had was that Oshiomhole and co diverted his attention. They disturbed his vision and I don’t think Ken wants to do that kind of thing. The focus now is on Obaseki. He is working towards giving Obaseki all of the support that he needs. When it is time to begin to talk of 2024 if he is interested he will come up and tell the people. I am sure that with his popularity with the people, what he is doing and with God primarily who is the final arbiter of everything he will succeed. I believe for now he is putting up all his popularity into Obaseki’s second tenure.
Festus Ebarekor (Political Analyst)
Ordinarily, the Riceman, Barrister Ken Imansuangbon, has been somebody who has been on ground in Edo State for close to 16 years now. He is not a mistake to Edo State. He has been a miracle to the state. That’s where anywhere he goes you hear the people calling “Riceman, Riceman.” He is not a mistake. It is something that people are in love with. He is a man loved by Edo people.
Fortunately for Governor Obaseki, Ken wants has teamed up with him and things are going to move in the positive direction. What we are going to experience in the next four years of Godwin Obaseki is a full success because he has those who make things happen in the politics of Edo State behind him. And one of those persons is Barrister Ken Imansuangbon. He is going to be a success story all through to the glory of God.
Barrister Kenneth Imansuangbon
Talking about the dymystification of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and the APC
I thank God almighty for the victory of Edo people. Obaseki’s victory was Edo people’s victory, God’s victory. I congratulate Godwin Obaseki for offering himself to lead the change we wanted and the change has come.
Obaseki will go down in history as one of those who brought democracy to the people. Who offered himself no matter whose ox is gored. It will go well with him in history. I want to salute him.
The godfathers have finally been defeated. It was a contest between the bad and the good ones; light and darkness; godfathers and the people. Of course light will always overcome darkness. Just like good will always overcome evil. Just like the people will always overcome the very few. The tyranny of the few. What happened in Edo State on Saturday( 19th September, 2020) is a land mark of change of change from the past(from the orthodox). The younger generation now have a platform to build upon going forward. It is not about a political party. It is not about Obaseki quite honestly even the so called godfather, Oshiomhole. The victory is not even about him. We saying it because a Blackman is selfish. The contest last Saturday was a comtest of the future of democracy in Edo, the future of democracy in Nigeria.
Why do you think a man like me in the past 16 years have never been a councillor; have never had any appointment; have not had any federal, state or local government contract? I earn money from a primary school and bring it to Edo State in the past 16 years. I survived a car crash that almost took away my life. Yet I am still fighting. I have never had any pecuniary benefit. Why do you think I am doing that? I am doing that because it doesn’t matter. Thirty years from today in my life it no longer matter the kind of house I live in; the kind of clothes I wear; the kind of wristwatches I wear or the class of aeroplane I fly in. What will matter is what legacy did we leave behind for our children. Going forward, Obaseki’s greatest achievement in history would be this struggle. In his right years the greatest achievement of Obaseki would be the struggle he offered himself for. When we are all gone bookmakers would come and say “Obaseki confronted the godfathers and he defeated them.”
So, going forward into the future nobody would play the godfather any more. No Han being would play the godfather because if you do they will defeat you.
Some people are saying that you are playing the ethnic card by talking of Esan Agenda
I am not promoting ethnicity. In Nigeria we have about 900 ethnic groups. I am a patriot to the core. I have gone round the world. My friends are Americans, British, Canadians, Japanese, Chinese etc. My best friends in Nigeria are even from the north. I schooled in the South-West; was born and raised there; my wife is from the South-East and I am now living in Abuja. How would somebody say that I am promoting ethnicity. He should get himself examined.
The truth is what is fair is fair. Freedom, fairness and liberty are the same. The last time somebody from Edo Central was governor of the state was forty one years ago under Professor Ambrose Alli. By law, Professor Oserheimen Osunbor was never a governor. The law does not recognise him as a governor. It means the last time Esan man was governor was forty one years ago when I was about 13 years old. What we are saying is that when Obaseki finishes his eight years tenure it would be the turn of a Esan man. Who will determine the Esan man who will become governor is the Benins and Afenmais not even the Esans because they are the majority. Who is the Esan man that will want a prosperous Edo State? Who will connect with the people across the state and is known by the majority of them?
Let nobody be mischievous. The country is inching towards a perfect direction. Edo State governorship poll 2020 is a signpost to a democratic Nigeria. The victory of Obaseki is a signpost to a democratic Nigeria.
If in 2024 the Esan Agenda did not work will you still describe Obaseki as a hero?
Why will it not work? It will work. Justice and equity demands that the Esan Agenda works.
What are your efforts to ensure that others join you in this Esan Agenda fight?
The truth is it is not actually Esan Agenda. It is a coinage. The agenda is Edo Agenda. When I give out rice do I give it only to Esan people? Majority of the rice I shared goes to the people of other ethnic groups mostly the Benins. I have lived a major part of my life in Benin. Most of those who have helped me while I was growing were Benins. They are wonderful people. It doesn’t matter where a man comes from, whether you’re the son of a rich man or you were born in a manger. What matters is your identity. What you bring to humanity. That’s what is important. That’s why in America, for example, nobody cares which state you are from but what you’re bringing to humanity. What contribution are you bringing to make a life better than you met it.
My panacea would be lets take the Delta State example. The Delta experience answers it all. Delta and Edo are one. In Delta they have succeeded in rotating the governorship from one senatorial district to the other. That is guaranteeing a peaceful and United Delta State. I suggest that we should do that in Edo State. Edo South have become governor twice. The north has also had it once. Next time it should come to the Esan. Like I said the Benins are rational, educated, very accommodating, humane and loving people. In 2012, Edo South have me vote in four out of the seven local government areas in the senatorial districts. The Benins are not tribalist. So, there is no Esan Agenda, the agenda that we have in 2024 is Edo Agenda.
Today, I have made Nigeria better than I met it through education. No governor or minister or president have ever done what I have done. With all modesty. Even 200 years when I am gone what I have done in education would remain. They are immutable. It is because there is poverty in Africa that is why people die to be governor, senator, President etc. For me, what does a governor, senator or president means? You become relevant as a governor when you are relevant to the people. The only reason Obaseki got my endorsement was because I saw his heart for the people. Nothing else. There is nothing he can give me. I have told him that. Even if he makes me a governor it is not an offer.