Barr. Kenneth Imasuangbon is a governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead the 2016 governorship election in Edo state. He is popularly known as the ‘Rice Man’ in the state due to his annual rice sharing ritual to the poor across the three senatorial districts of the state. Saturday Vanguard met with this accomplished Nigerian and he disclosed the secret for his yearly rice sharing, his relationship with women and vision for Edo State.
Can we know a little about your background?
My background was very interesting because we had freedom, we had love, and we were taught strong values – love your neighbor as you love, a strong teaching from the Bible. I had a Christian upbringing. We were very good Christians and I was from a poor home, we are from a home where it was even difficult to eat rice at Christmas. I prayed to God Almighty that if he blessed me and made me great that I would share rice to the less privileged and that is the story behind the rice I share every Christmas to Edo people and my staff in Abuja.
That also explains why I give scholarship. I don’t have personal savings. Whatever I have I give back to the society because God has shown me immeasurable love and promotion. My background was very loving; we were a strongly united family, where Christian values were prominent, the ten commandments were very sacrosanct.
We all knew them by the heart and of course we went round to neighbour’s houses to share whatever we have and I think we should go back to those values of loving your neighbour as you love yourself. We should help one another; we should feel for one another, we should be kind and loving. That is the purpose of life.
Life is not really what you have in your bank account; it is not the number of cars but the impact you have made in the lives of people. How many lives have you touched, when we were growing up, that was what life was all about, that you can walk to your neighbour’s house and eat pounded yam and eat rice if they had. There was no segregation between your neighbour’s child and your child.
Growing up in a humble background, how were you trained as a lawyer?
I lost my father early but God blessed my mum who stood with us. She was able to train me and my siblings. So my father had wished that if he had gone to school, he would have been a magistrate or a judge. He was the first person to promote the law profession to me. He talked about magistrates in those days and he told us to be magistrates and that eventually caught my interest.
So I said I was going to live my father’s dream; the dream of my father was for me to be a lawyer and I read law in Ife. My mother worked so hard to train me in Ife, she was very awesome, and she would go to market, sell everything she could sell to pay my school fees. While at Ife I took my studies very seriously because I knew the consequences of failing out of school.
The law faculty in Ife was not for unserious people. Our professors in the University made us work and we worked hard to earn our degree and today I am a lawyer and I am grateful to God, my mum and also neighbours who assisted me while growing up.
I started as a practicing lawyer when I finished from Ife. I came to Abuja. While I was in school my nick name was Abuja. I came to Abuja because it was a land of promise. I had a dream where God told me, ‘my son go to Abuja’. When I got to Abuja it was a fertile land. I started as a legal practitioner and God gave me a legal and Godly wife with kids.
She is wonderful, prayerful, very supportive, and I am grateful to God my mum is still alive. With a prayerful woman by my side and my mum who also prays fervently, of course whatever I do God blesses it. I was a founding member of the ACD which later became ACN. When we founded the party people called us jokers but before you knew it Oshiomhole won in Edo. When I went back to the PDP, the party was dead but I revived it and brought life back to it. I am back to APC now. We won the federal election, Buhari is president and I am now in APC,
What is your vision for Edo state after Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s tenure?
To improve on what governor Oshiomhole has done. Governor Oshiomhole has done very well; let’s not make mistakes about it. One thing you can’t take away from the governor are his achievements. My prayer for governor Oshiomhole is that he should support free and fair primaries. I pray he should have a good successor, a man who will improve on what he has done so that his effort will not go down. So my vision for the state is not only to have strong school system but to have a strong economy, a strong security system.
My vision for the state is making sure that things work, we have to return Edo back to the old Bendel state days. When I am governor I will make Edo an exemplary state where people will be happy, where jobs will be created, where our roads will be improved upon, where our mothers will have good medical care and children will have good hospitals to go to. Our Comrade Governor has done very well and we must improve on what he has done so that we won’t go back to the PDP days. I assure you we are going to win the 2016 governorship election.