The Edo State secretariat of the Labour Party on Ogbelaka Street, Benin City, was agog Wednesday as the state chairman, Kelly Ogbaloi officially presented party cards to three former chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who recently defected to the party. They are former governorship aspirant and renowned educationist, Kenneth Imansuangbon, Amen Ogbemudia-Uhuangho, former executive director, of education, in the administration of the immediate past governor of the state, Adams Oshiomhole, and former commissioner for communication, and later youth and gender issues, Andrew Adaze Emwanta. The trio, at a press conference after the brief ceremony, took turns to fire salvos at the state governor and their former parties while narrating their bitter experiences. Imansuagbon, tracing his political journey from the Grace Group to ACD, to Action Congress, to ACN, APC, PDP, and now Labour Party, recalled that “Two weeks ago, I was received also in Abuja by the national chairman, Julius Abure. Yesterday, I was in my village where I formally joined the Labour Party in ward 2 Ewohimi, (Esan South-east local government area). It was a very wonderful moment in my life. Today was also a wonderful day. I have been received by the state executive of the Labour Party, LP, under the leadership and chairmanship of Kelly Ogbaloi; myself, Mrs. Amen Ogbemudia-Uhuangho, and Commissioner Andrew Emwanta. We are excited”. Complaining that in spite of his good heart for the people, Imansuangbon said very few people refused to allow the will of the people to stand in the past 20 years he had been seeking to serve the people. “Now my eyes are opened, I have decided to take my case in 2024 to God Almighty and to the Edo people. I do not want to put my case in the hands of godfathers anymore. I am tired of the oppression of the godfathers; I am tired of the pain of the godfathers. I am tired of the godfathers’ deception and trick; I want to now take my fate and my destiny, put into God’s hands, as well as the hands of the good people of Edo State”. Confident that with God and Edo people, “my 2024 is sure”, Imansuangbon, proprietor of high-brow Pace Setters Group of Schools, Abuja, said “I am not bothered about what the godfathers are planning; I am bothered about where they have failed us in the past. I am bothered about the resolution of the people. The people will be on my side; the people are on my side, hence God is on my side”. According to him, I have decided to go to the People’s Party which is the Labour Party, and the “OBIdient” family. Let the people decide, let the people lead; let the people show the way, let the people’s voice count. No longer will it be that one man out of five million people decides our fate? It is not going to happen in 2024; I can tell you that. I pray that LP will get it right. If they do get it right and give me the ticket, Obaseki, and Oshiomhole should know that their game is up. When I say it’s up, it’s up; I mean it is over. Because a man can’t labour for 20 years and the people are with him, and you want to decide his future even when you are now a grandfather”. Emwanta, who described today as his happiest day in politics, explained that “About a week ago, I left the PDP. The reason why I left the PDP was when in 2020 we came to support the governor, he promised that together we should help him to end godfatherism. It’s sad to note that in 2023, he has now occupied the office of the godfather of Edo State politics. His level of imposition is even worse than that of Comrade Oshiomhole”. Emwanta, who leveled sundry allegations against the governor, said his joining Labour Party therefore “is to join men of like-minds in rescuing Edo State”. Also speaking Ogbemudia-Uhuangho said she was particularly happy that after an in-depth analysis, she decided to move on. The daughter of the two-time governor of MidWest and Bendel State, late Brigadier-General Samuel Ogbemudia, said “I have been stuck in one position, and that position could not take me anywhere, so I decided to take my destiny in my own hands to move on. And to move on, I decided to join the Labour Party. For those of you who know my political antecedents, I have represented my ward in the council as deputy leader, and I took them to London then for legislative duties; for them to know what is right. It is good to do what is right. “I served in Oshiomhole’s government as executive director, of education, and I have a lot of recommendations on schools – the way education should be, including facilities, the safety of children… Years ago, facilities were maintained, but today, they are shadows of themselves”.
According to her, “My father was a man who loved development, and he’s the only man till today that is still referred to as a man that has the greatest development in Edo, Delta, Patani, and even up to Bayelsa. That development, with what we are going to do in Edo State, I’m sure development will continue because what we are seeing today is not development but shambles.
“So, we will do that; and by the grace of God, what God would do for us in Edo State, the Labour Party will ensure that they get it right. We are here today to join Labour Party, and we have joined Labour Party to ensure that we move forward”.