Nothing unites a people more than a common cause. Since the election of Senator Ike Ekweremadu as the Deputy Senate President, there have been several agitations from some quarters for his removal on the grounds that he was elected on the platform of the minority Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. In this piece, OKECHUKWU KESHI UKEGBU writes that the situation has attracted sympathy from some Igbo groups and other interested parties
The major contention against Senator Ike Ekweremadu’s election is that he was elected from a minority party. As convincing as that position may seem to sound, the proponents of such position may have lost grip with history.
In the Second Republic, the majority National Party of Nigeria, NPN, produced the senate president in the person of Joseph Wayas, while the minority Nigerian Peoples Party, NPP produced the deputy senate president in the person of John Wash Pam.
Though the Second Republic arrangement was anchored on the platform of an Accord Concordance between the two parties, the 2015 arrangement was a product of intrigues arising from the carelessness of the APC senators who were at the wrong place at the right time when the rules of the Senate stipulate that all Senators were to be on the floor at the time the election took place.
Like one Igbo adage stipulates that “ones kinsmen are his strength”, the Igbos last week on the aegis ‘South East Professionals United for Ekweremadu’ held a summit to oppose any plot to remove Senator Ekwetemadu as the Deputy Senate President.
The summit held in conjunction with Aba residents warned that any attempt to remove Senator Ekweremadu as the Deputy Senate President would be matched with stiff oppositions from the Igbos.
One of the conveners of the summit, Dr. Charles Chinekezi, who set the tone for the summit in his overview said that the essence of the summit was to mobilise support for Igbo leaders and professionals for Ekweremadu, adding that Ekweremadu has the support of Igbos.
Another key resource person in the summit, Barr Ukpai Ukairo, in his speech noted that any attempt to tamper with Ekweremadu’s position could generate chaos.
Ukairo, who tagged the summit ‘Aba Declaration in Solidarity with the Deputy- Senate President” said that they are sending a message across the country on the impending chaos any attempt to tamper with Ekweremadu’s position would generate chaos.
Chief Kevin Anyamele in his speech called on all Igbos to come together and fight against what he described as “discriminating behaviours against the Igbo man”.
The summit further resolved in its communiqué that the emergence of Senator Ekweremadu is a positive development in the Nigerian political landscape and development, adding “Ndigbo are solidly behind the deputy senate president as he continues to render service to our dear country, because he is not there by accident but by divine providence to continue to sustain the peace and unity of the nation.
The communiqué continued: “Ndigbo shall resist any attempt to unseat Ike Ekweremadu as deputy senate president because the position he occupies is the only one that is of political relevance as far as Igboland is concerned.”
It will be recalled that a member of People’s Democratic Party,PDP in the National Assembly, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi ( Delta North) recently in a media report vowed that his party would do all that it takes to resist any attempt to unseat the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.
Nwaoboshi, who reacted to a media comment by the former governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso that Ekweremadu’s seat was insulting, saying, “it is an insult for Kwankwaso to make such annoying statement because he became a governor of Kano on the platform of PDP. He (Kwankwaso) is an ingrate, who enjoyed a lot of patronage including that of NDDC under the PDP platform.
“He should leave Saraki, Ekweremadu alone. In short it was his (Kwankwaso) ambition to become the President of the country that made him to leave PDP for APC and failed woefully to achieve that ambition.
“Now that he is eyeing to become president in 2019, he is ranting. He was in the hall on our inauguration even though he did not vote.
“If he is aggrieved, including those APC senators, they should know the proper thing to do. They should initiate impeachment proceeding and not on the pages of newspapers. Let me tell you we, the PDP senators, are waiting for them. They don’t have the number, they don’t have the capacity to impeach any of the leaders.
“It is quite unfortunate that he is speaking like that. I can recall that I was one of those that went to Kano to conduct the state executive election that brought him there. He betrayed PDP because he wanted to be president and has no right to castigate PDP over the Ekweramdu’s seat.
“There are 109 senators in the Nigerian Senate, 49 belong to the PDP while 60 (including the Senate President) are members of the APC. No vote can garner the usually required two-thirds if the PDP senators are not involved”.
In his position, a human rights activist and the chairman of Abia State chapter of Civil Liberties Organisation, CLO, Barr. Pedro Azuogu said “It is disheartening that what the party considers as an aberration happened sometime in 1979 when Senator Joseph Wayas and Wash Pam of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) and Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP) emerged as president and deputy respectively from two different parties”.
According to Azuogu “if not that Hon Leo Ogar declined to run with Hon. Yakubu Dogara, it would have been a full circle arrangement where PDP would have been deputies in the two chambers”.
He enjoined the APC and Nigerians to accept the divine arrangement, adding that it will go a long way to stabilize the polity and make way for easy passage of bills into laws.