AS WE STEP ASIDE…
A few months ago, as the political ferment in Imo State and Nigeria rose a notch with the anticipated 2015 general elections, I, amidst my supporters and party loyalists officially declared my interest to contest for the position of GOVERNOR of our dear state.
I first got elected at a very tender age into the hallowed chambers of our state assembly in 1991. There, as you and our records attest, I proved myself on the side of the common man. Since then, I have found myself at the centre of a political team of fanatical supporters cutting across all corners of our dear state and beyond. A political base cast on my ideals and ideology of total service to mankind, anchored on unadulterated humility and infinite belief in God. Despite our political travails and personal life’s tragedies, my political group – Project Ike International – has defied all permutations and remained solidly behind me.
In consultation with my world-wide organization we plunged into the 2015 election campaigns with a clear vision on how to move our traumatized state forward. From all nooks and crannies they trooped out with ideas and suggestions, with financial and material resources within their reach. Thousands of posters, caps, T-shirts, billboards, flyers and other paraphernalia of elections were donated by members of Project Ike International with absolutely no strings attached but with an unbending and infinite belief that with me as their governor, Imo will be well again.
As a founding member of Imo state PDP when all the timbers and calibres of politics where in APP, we had a vision of turning our chequered state politics aright. We had a dream of politics unusual. We wanted to create a mass followership based on equality of persons and not on how deep your pocket was. Today, judge for yourselves. It is that same belief that we can still win back the dreams of the founding fathers, that politics is not and should not be all about money but track records, integrity, credibility, humility, proper morals et cetera that made me and my team and support base embark on this quest.
People erroneously believe that I am a very wealthy man. Yes I am very wealthy but not in the kind of wealth Nigerians have come to love. I am very wealthy in friends and a loyal support base who know me deeply that I am not a money bag and that I do not intend to be, today or tomorrow. Money is not everything and will never ever be everything. Knowing I am no money bag and making sure that no money bag hijacked our group, we have refused to kowtow to them but rather believing in what we can do for ourselves as a group.
With the imposition of over eleven million naira as the expression of interest and governorship form fees in our party, and hundreds of millions of Naira in primaries expenses, I and my group felt that it was totally wrong and calculated to shut out a lot of good people with genuine interest in the progress of our people through elective offices in PDP. We have also seen this attitude replicated in the local governments. Genuine, intelligent, able young men and women including active retirees who have excelled in their various life’s endeavours are denied the opportunity to contribute to the development of their local communities because of very expensive party process. The PDP Governorship primary process has been designed lately to favour only those who can ‘throw away’ a minimum of five hundred million Naira or those who are ‘anointed’ by the party bigwigs. We are equally and especially bordered about the uncertainty surrounding the tenure of the leadership of the party in the state just less than one month to the primaries. We may all end up eventually in the Supreme Court even after the elections for pre-election matters. This may cost the party dearly. More worrisome is the fact that uptill this evening, party members who want to contest in the all important delegates election scheduled for November 1st have no access to their nomination form as prescribed by the party. Yet thousands of ‘delegate lists’ are flying around while the electoral process is shrouded in unreasonable money secrecy.
With no atom of indignity and with an infinite belief in the rightness of our cause, I hereby announce that I have SUSPENDED my quest for the PDP ticket in the 2015 governorship race. The greatest people I want to sympathise with are not only my supporters but the entire people of Imo state who may have once more lost a chance of having a governor who’s interest is not driven by greed or personal aggrandizement or lust for power but by a sincere and uncommon belief that Imo could indeed be governed better.
I sympathise with my supporters from around the world who went out of their way to contribute financially to our ‘Form Buying Call’ including a youth corper who paid his one month allowance into our effort, an unemployed youth who donated 3,000 Naira and the little son of one of our supporters who contributed all of his 100 dollars allowance which he could have used for ice cream and cupcake. I, Ike C. Ibe will return each penny to you as we are not going ahead to buy the form as planned. We raised the money. Buying the form is not a problem but is no longer the issue. It’s about being ‘favoured’ or ‘anointed’ to win.
Sometimes I have wondered at the men, women and youths who have given me their support all these years asking for absolutely nothing in return but good governance. It is on record that I, of all the aspirants Imo has ever produced have run successful elections and strategic campaigns without salaries, cars, etc to my coordinators. Rather they have always beyond my imagination put in their own spurred by their total belief in Ike C Ibe and in the rightness of our cause. But then could it be otherwise when all my life I have chosen to enrich Imo and make it better instead of enriching myself. What I have done for Imo including attracting free resources, materials and services worth over twelve billion naira acknowledged by each and everyone even though I was once called a fool for that will always remain a living testimony. Given the opportunity, I will always better my records.
My quest for governorship has always and will always be hinged on ideas. I’m neither a pretender nor attention seeker. I have consistently run ideas based campaigns and have challenged others to do same. Governance is not about godfatherism and moneybagism – these have been the bane of our state. We cannot get away from our cycle of underdevelopment by doing same things same ways and expecting different results. In this campaigns while others have been throwing money shamelessly and shamefacedly at our people, I have done the opposite. Through my discourse entitled ‘Let’s Talk About Imo’ that went viral across the world, I have consistently thrown my ideas on the way forward and the responses have been tremendous. I went ahead to document these thoughts in the now celebrated book I wrote titled ‘Ike C. Ibe, A Man and His Vision’.
While stepping aside from this contest because of the inordinate conditions and uncertainties pertaining thereto, I with my support base, always ready to heed my call anytime any day, will continue our drive to reposition our party and state and to take it back to the masses and away from these unsavory issues. After assessing the remaining aspirants in the next few weeks, I and my supporters will commit ourselves to support any other visionary candidate that emerges from a FREE AND FAIR process within the party and who will commit to share our vision of an open, clean, focused, ideas based and development oriented government. We also commit to the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan. Our support base all over the state and beyond has virtually become ‘cult like’. We intend to use this massive following to ensure positive change in our society. We will not be idle.
As a strong believer in God’s promise, I know He does not misdirect but can redirect. I await His next direction of my measured and ordered steps. I wish Imo well. God bless and keep us all.
Ike C. Ibe
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