Edo State governorship aspirant under the All Progressives Congress (APC), Hon. Joe Ikpea, has expressed optimism of clinching the party’s governorship ticket in the forthcoming primaries, slated for February 2024.
He said as a loyal party member of the APC, he is ready to abide by the decision of the party leaders who had embarked on a screening exercise aimed at pruning down the number of aspirants in Edo Central Senatorial district.
Ikpea, who spoke during a visit to the secretariat of the Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Edo State council on Monday, insisted that being a foundation member and major financier 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. He insisted that he would continue with his course, adding that with God all things are possible
He said: “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 financiers 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 for God.”
While noting that the party has the final decision on who to fly the governorship flag, he said he expects that his labour for the party over the years is 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 fix many wrong things, such as infrastructural decay, unemployment, 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.”
Further elaborating 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 discussions 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 agric sector and ask them to invest in such areas. I will also discuss how the profit will be shared among us. It will be a kind of partnership.”
He also promised to use the oil and gas in Edo South to set up a modular refinery to create jobs for the teeming youths in the state, and also invest in mental healthcare in the state.