I wasn’t Paid To Campaign For Okowa, Ras Kimono Opens Up
Months after he toured communities across Delta State in support of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidates for the April 2015 general elections, Ifeanyi Okowa, reggae musician Ras Kimono, has refuted the allegation that he was paid handsomely to perform at the campaign venues.
Kimono, who was reacting to a story in some online newspapers that he, alongside other musicians such as Orits Willik, Stella Monye and Righteousman were well settled for their role, told journalists in Lagos, after performing at the end of the year party of Ndudi Elumelu’s companies, that he did what he did for PDP because of its governorship candidate.
“I did what I did because of Okowa whom I believe was the right man for the job then; I did what I did because I believed that it was the turn of Delta North to produce the governor of Delta State. Since Okowa is from Delta North, I had no option but to support PDP and its candidate then. So, it is absolutely false for anybody to say that I was compensated financially for doing that,” he said.
The Delta State native challenged anybody with proof of any form of payment to him for Okowa’s election to come forward and present it to the public.
“Was it in naira or dollar? Let them show it the way they are showing documents of how Dasuki shared money for PDP bigwigs,” he said.
Though he has no regret campaigning for Okowa and PDP in the last election, the musician, however, doubt if he will readily pass same route if the situation presents itself again.
“Yes, I did what I did because of my believe that it was the turn of Delta North to produce the governor, but I doubt if I will do that again. And that is because I’m pained that after what we did for free and they won, nobody, not even the governor, has deem it fit to say ‘brethren, thank you for your contribution to my victory’. It is sad and I felt used. Is that how politicians behave,” he quizzed.
He also frowned at the decision of the organisers to exclude him and other artistes that play major role during the electioneering campaign, from participating in the inauguration of Okowa as governor.
“None of the musicians that were on the campaign entourage was invited to witness the ceremony. Instead, Dr. Festus Okubor, who was one of the campaign committee arrowheads, told us that the governor said he wanted gospel musicians, who incidentally never participated in the campaign. And even at that, one of us, Righteousman, is a gospel musician, who sang gospel tunes all through the campaign; he was left out. His men refused to invite us,” he said.
Narrating their experience during the campaign, Kimono said they accompanied Okowa to 20 out of the 25 local government areas of the state campaigning under rain and sunshine.
“There was a particular local government we had to use okada (commercial motorcyclists) because the road was so bad that we couldn’t go with our cars. So, it’s callous for anyone to say that we were paid for what we did. But like I said, I leave all that to posterity to judge,” he said.
Asked if he had made efforts to reach out to the governor before going public with his comp0lain, the reggae artiste said, “I have not; besides, is it not the same people, who blocked our chances of performing at his inauguration, will give us access to see him? It’s just a Babylon system man,” he declared.