By John Ode
If the thinking of well-meaning members of the public that right people should be elected into positions of power holds sway, then it should be James Ibechi who will be elected to represent Oju 1 state constituency at the Benue State House of Assembly, in 2019.
This is because, in the opinion of many people within and outside the constituency, the young looking man has all what quality representation entails, and fits perfectly into the picture of the much-needed lawmaker to represent the constituency next year.
Ibechi is described as many things rolled into one: he is humility personified, honest, soundly educated, intelligent, and very popular for being in the forefront of fighting for emancipation of Igedeland and people from the shackles of ignorance, underdevelopment and marginalization.
One of the tools that he has employed in fighting the Igede cause overtime is pen, since 2009 when he, as the Editor, along with some of his like minds set up an Igede community-based Magazine called ‘The Congress’. It was a general interest publication with a bias for Igede developmental issues.
Judged from many angles, Ibechi has proved from experience, antecedents, pedigree, etc, to be a sample of the representative Igede is in need of in this modern era.
Award winning-social media activist, Andyson Iji Egbodo, has once written of Ibechi as a certified public relations expert. He also said: “Ibechi was our Headboy at ICSS Okileme. The likes of Rt. Hon Samson Okwu of the Federal House of Representatives and the rest of us were his junior students then. He was, immediately after his secondary education, appointed Financial Clerk of my secondary school by the time I got to SSS 1. Then, Rt. Hon Okwu had graduated.
“Matured, calm and calculated, Ibechi is the Managing Editor of jamesibechi.com. His editorial experience in the news rooms of several national tabloids spans over eighteen years before taking up field information management jobs with Hon. Ogaji Bright when he held sway as Chairman of Oju LG for two years.
“Ibechi proceeded further to become the engine room of all the official activities of a former Benue State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Odeh Ageh, crossing virtually all the ‘t’s and dotting all the ‘i’s for the two years Ageh served.”
Andyson and Ibechi have been known for their intimate ties for so long that no one could doubt any scintilla of information the former had given about the latter.
James Ibechi is the Editorial Director of the news portal, http://www.jamesibechi.com, which not only spawns series of publications that mostly cater for Benue investigative reports need, but also adequately covers the entire middle belt region.
He cut his journalism professional teeth both at the Champion and Daily Independent newspapers in Lagos where he was employed at various times as sub-editor and production editor respectively.
He had worked at the Voice Newspaper as a reporter, and at Vanguard as correspondent before joining Daily Independent and Champion.
Before that, he had previously taken appointment as a Public Relations Manager with Dultz International Ltd, Abuja. That was between 1999 and 2000, on completion of his one-year national service, NYSC.
What seemed like his journey into partisan politics really began when he was appointed by Hon. Ogaji (Igodo) as Press Secretary and was elevated to the status of Chief Press Secretary because of his brilliant performance.
He obtained degrees in Mass Communication and International Journalism from Benue State University (1998) and Cardiff University (2005), Wales with Distinction
He obtained a Diploma in Digital News Management from the International Institute of Journalism, Abuja, an affiliate of the University of Maiduguri.
He is also a graduate of Word of Faith Bible Institute of the Living Faith Church, Otta, Ogun State, Nigeria.
Ibechi has a particular interest in the study of political economy and equitable development. He has been a frequent commentator on Igede and Benue affairs in different media, and has also become a media and political consultant.
One of his contributions to the development of Igede has been in the area of writing to bring the plight of his people, whom he believes are neglected in the scheme of things in Benue State, whom he says are under the marginalization of Benue dominant Tiv and Idoma hegemonists, to national and global consciousness, through different media platforms that he has often engaged since 2009, when he published a blockbuster cover story with the headline “SEE IGEDELAND AND WEEP”, in The Congress magazine.
He obtained GCE (1988) with distinctions in 7 subjects at ICSS, Okileme where he was once a Health Prefect and later Head Boy.
He was a Corps Liaison Officer (CLO) at Dapchi, Bursari LGA of Yobe State, his primary assignment area when he served in 1999 (NYSC).
Mr. Ibechi was born over 40 years ago at Ega Okileme, Ibilla Council Ward of Oju LGA of Benue State. And has a blessed family.
Mr. Ibechi is presently charting a new course away from active journalism into the real murky waters of Nigerian politics; in which he seeks to represent the people of Oju 1 state constituency at the Benue State House of Assembly and urges his constituents to elect him in 2019, to actualize his dream of development for them.
The fearless writer has never hidden his intention to challenge the establishment as to why Igedeland has continued to be relegated to the backwaters of state politics if elected, with the view to changing the way Igede is seen and treated in the state, for development to be trickled down.
What is his message to the electorate?
He said: “As events unfold and more aspirants seek the chance to contest for House of Assembly and other seats in Igedeland, moneybags may want to dominate the scene. “This will not remove Igedeland from the backwaters of state and national politics; it will not address lingering poverty in the area. What will address these is the election of someone who is accessible, visionary and enlightened. That is why the wise supports JAMES IBECHI. Won’t you rather join the wise?”
Culled from New Public newspaper.
John Ode is a former New Nigerian reporter