Cross River 2015: Emmanuel Ibeshi rises, again

Hon. Emmanuel Ibeshi
Hon. Emmanuel Ibeshi

What makes Hon. Emmanuel Ibeshi the man to watch in the 2015 governorship race is informed by considerable variables in the state and the country this period of our evolving democracy.

His name needs no introduction in the PDP as the first elected National Publicity Secretary of the ruling party who from the set go, hit the ground running in 1999 defending the mandate of the Barnabas Gemade led Exco against the Awoniyi machinery that lost out of the First PDP National Convention that produced the First PDP National Working Committee.

The internal heat waves created by the disaffection from the Awoniyi group put to test the strength and ability to manage the image of the party that emerged biggest and strongest in continental Africa in content and context.

His affable, boyish and upfront approach endeared him to the Press which celebrated him and his then Assistant, Mr Gbenga Olawepo as the “Young Turks” when in 2000 his Press Interview helped bring to an end the Adams Oshiomhole led labor resistance against the fuel hike imposed by the PDP government of President Obasanjo at the detriment of his political office.

He was punished for daring to initiate a process of reconciliation between Labor and government when all else had failed. Archival materials can testify to the crushing effects of that labor showdown with the PDP government and the effect of Ibeshi’s press interview.

Hon. Emmanuel Ibeshi’s political standing puts him up as the first public office holder at the hierarchy of the National Working Committee of PDP or any other political party in Nigeria to reject an automatic extension of office from 2 years to 4 years making it 6 years cumulative because of integrity and commitment to the rule of law and deep seated reverence to right standing with God.

This bold altruistic stance made him the conscience of current evolving Nigerian politics. Of course he was severely vilified for the audacity and summarily dealt with and abruptly deposited in the refrigerator after his tenure expired in WADATA PLAZA in 2001.

Hon. Emmanuel Ibeshi brought panache and sophistry to the office of National Publicity Secretary (PDP), which no one has been able to march since he vacated that office in 2001.

Hon. Emmanuel Ibeshi’s uncommon altruistic characteristics and reverence to God first manifested in1992 when he was elected into the Federal House of Representatives and emerged as the House Committee Chairman on Banking and Currency.

A Committee he got the best in the sector to advice including the late Dr. Clement Isong (Fmr CBN Governor and Fmr Cross River State Governor), Mr. Paul Oguma, Fmr CBN Govermor, Mr. Ralph Osayeme, Mr. Nath Origbo, then NACCIMA President, Mr. Chudi Mba and the scion of the industry, Mr. Gamaliel Onosode.

His counterpart in the Senate then was Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu who was asking for the parity of the naira then while Ibeshi was asking for the best brains in the industry to advise his committee on the best way to realize the best framework for our monetary and physical policies as they related to BOFID in order to strengthen the financial sector and allow for investment incentives and enabling guarantees for both venture capital and a free market economy.

Unfortunately those dreams were cut short by the military intervention of Gen. Sani Abacha in 1993 November 17th when his committee was just inaugurated November 10, 1993.

Hon. Emmanuel Awhan Ibeshi, the late Senator Paul Ukpo, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu, (Fmr Gov. of Lagos State) Hon Tokumbo Afikoyomi (later Senator), Late Senator O. J Adewumi and Hon. Wale Osun were the first initiators of what later became NADECO an organization raised to resist the intervention of Gen. Sani Abacha’s military coup.

Hon. Ibeshi had cut his political teeth with this group of democrats who fought for the realization of June 12, which has become an indelible date in Nigerian history.

During this struggle, Senator Liyel Imoke, who was in the National Assembly with Hon. Ibeshi in 1992-1993 reconnected with Hon. Ibeshi in 1995 when he brought Mr. Donald Duke who had just served in H.E. Clement Ebri’s administration as Commissioner for Finance to Ibeshi’s office in Surulere Lagos to position their thoughts for the way forward for Cross River State in the struggle to return to democratic rule against Gen. Sani Abacha. This later took the trio to joining forces with Chief Don Etiebet’s ANCP.

That was the birthing of the vision for current Cross River State as it is. Senator Imoke midwifed the “Cross River Dream” with several meetings held in his home.

Strategic committees were formed for the economy of the state and the political diversity as well as its social perspective. These committees comprised of notable sons of Cross River State like Dr. Pius Tabi Tawo, Mr. Sonny Igiri, Barr. Iyke Ugbizi, Mr. Dave Ashang, Mr. George Bassey and a host of others.

Imoke as the initiator of these strategic moves never considered himself for governorship. He really looked up to Ibeshi and Duke to step into the first slot. The rest is history as we have all seen the slots taken by Duke and Imoke representing Southern and Central Cross River State.

Sen. Imoke being the consummate politician he is and knowing the capacity of political and cerebral demands for today’s political landscape of Nigeria and his state would definitely have very little task to determine his successor going by the antecedents of Hon. Emmanuel Ibeshi bearing in mind the Dream of the ORIGINAL 3 WISE MEN

What makes the ORIGINAL 3 WISE MEN postulation most probable in spite of the ambiguous ensemble posturing to replace Sen. Imoke by 2015 is the fact that Ibeshi, Duke and Imoke have a shared passion for Cross River State though their methods may differ.

They have similar educational exposure combining both Nigerian and American.

They are all within the same age bracket, urbane, articulate, and bold with wide network of contacts in all sectors locally and abroad.

They are in a hurry to elevate their citizenry to global standards, which they have been exposed.

They may have had differences arising from erstwhile political gerrymandering but their dream and vision, which they all hold for Cross River State, seem sacrosanct going by the pronouncements of Governor Imoke recently on his likely successor from Cross River North.


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