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SKC Ogbonnia’a Lies Against Senator Ike Ekweremadu, CFR   

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Senator Ekweremadu exchanging greetings with the red cap chiefs at the Commissioning of Ogbombara Water Project, Ndeabor
Senator Ekweremadu exchanging greetings with the red cap chiefs at the Commissioning of Ogbombara Water Project, Ndeabor
Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu and wife, Lady Nwanneka (center) acknowledge cheers by a happy crowd
Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu and wife, Lady Nwanneka (center) acknowledge cheers by a happy crowd
Sen Ike Ekweremadu commissins the Ogbombara Spring Water Harvestation Project attracted by him to Ndeabor, Enugu State
Sen Ike Ekweremadu commissins the Ogbombara Spring Water Harvestation Project attracted by him to Ndeabor, Enugu State

It has come to the notice of the Office of the Deputy President of the Senate the diatribe being peddled against the person of the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, CFR in the name of letter to the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

However, it did not come to the Office as a surprise given SKC Ogbonnia’s well known antecedents of unwarranted attacks on the person of the Deputy President of the Senate, his desperate quest for attention to look important, and our foreknowledge of various serially planned media attacks by political interests in Enugu, which SKC Ogbonnia is working for, to disparage Senator Ekweremadu ahead of the 2015 general election.

The machinations had prompted a press statement dated August 10, 2014 entitled “Enugu 2015: Beware of Mudslingers”, wherein this Office stated that “While more of such attacks are expected as we count down to the electoral processes…attempts to discredit the person of the Deputy President of the Senate or the numerous and laudable development projects he attracted to his constituency and Enugu State in general will continue to fail”.

For the above reasons, we were not in a hurry to react to his fallacies. We would, in fact, not have deemed it necessary to dignify such vituperation and attempt at distraction with a comment, but for the sake of unsuspecting reading public who do not know the character in question. Consequently, the Office wishes to state as follows:

Far from SKC Ogbonnia’s propaganda, Distinguished Senator Ike Ekweremadu has never sponsored any motion seeking to legalise prostitution in Nigeria. In fact, till date, there has never been any motion or bill before the Senate or even the House of Representatives to legalise prostitution.

The Deputy President of the Senate only contributed to a motion on human trafficking. It must be pointed out to SKC Ogbonnia that there is unfortunately no law making prostitution an offence in Nigeria presently. So, the issue of legalising it does not arise. So, contrary to SKC Ogbonnia’s claims, the substance of Ekweremadu’s contribution, therefore, was how to employ legislation to curtail the menace of both prostitution and human trafficking by tracking those who ply such trade.

Although a medium out of the tens of media houses that cover the Senate misreported his argument and several social media inadvertently followed suit, this Office issued a statement putting the matter straight. It is also on record that some affected media houses retracted the story, some of them in writing.

Rather than such loathsome motion, the Deputy President of the Senate is associated with landmark motions and bills such as:

Motions

Absence of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria (Senate Resolution/3/60/2010). This triggered chain of legislative interventions that saw to the emergence of President Goodluck Jonathan as an Acting President);
The Surging Incident of Kidnapping and Hostage-taking in Nigeria (Sen. Res of 8th July 2009);

The Menace of Gully Erosion and Landslide in the South East (Sen. Res 2007); etc.

He co-sponsored the following, mostly as the chief/principal sponsor:
General State of Insecurity in the Nation (S/Res/029/01/12);

Deplorable State of Nigerian Roads (A wake up call on the Federal Road Maintenance Agency);

Nigeria’s Outing at the African Cup of Nations 2013 (Sen. Res 2013); etc.

BILLS
Civil Process Servers Bill (12/02/10)
Private Detectives and Investigators Bill (24/04/10)
State of the Nation Address Bill (19/02/08 and reintroduced in the 7th Senate and already passed by both Chambers)
River Basins (Amendment) Bill (2008)
Federal Land Registry (General Provisions) Bill (12/02/08), etc

He co-sponsored the

Nigeria Police Act (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill (08/04/2008)
Abolition of Discrimination Against Women Bill (19/02/2008)
National Human Rights Commission Act (Amendment) Bill (26/02/08)
Legal Aide Act (Amendment) Bill (26/02/08)
Elimination of Violence in Society Bill (11/13/2008)
Legal Practitioners Act (Amendment) Bill (12/03/2008)
Criminal Justice (Victims’ Remedies) Bill (12/03/2008); and many more.

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Contrary to SKC Ogbonnia’s fictitious claims, no law enforcement agency in Nigeria or anywhere in the world has ever questioned Senator Ekweremadu on any matter bothering on kidnapping or money laundering or any crime whatsoever. Rather, the Deputy President of the Senate is one lawmaker who has shown uncommon passion towards the advancement of human rights and the security of lives and property in Nigeria. These are evidenced in his many motions, bills, public lectures, and engagements within and outside Nigeria. He is also one man who has vehemently crusaded for multilevel policing.

Therefore, web-trotting and piecing together web links that carry unfounded allegations and claiming such to be “overwhelming evidence” is infantile and despicable.

Likewise, allegations of corruption he leveled against the Senator are unfounded, as the Senator has never executed any government contracts. He is a professional and is comfortable with his professional practice. While SKC Ogbonnia was quick to display links, which were purely partisan brickbats launched from unhidden quarters in Enugu politics, he failed to also display links disproving the allegations. For instance, the Senator’s lawyers issued a statement on the lousy allegation SKC referred to: http://dailyindependentnig.com/2013/12/ekweremadus-lawyers-deny-multi-billion-naira-property-allegation/, while Chief Alex Ekwueme’s family floored the purported sale of the Modotel Hotel Enugu to the senatorhttp://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/ekwueme-hasnt-sold-modotel-says-hotel-mgt/166579/.

SKC Ogbonnia is challenged to make public his so-called “overwhelming evidence” of corruption, including the Senator’s companies and projects used in perpetrating them.

On development projects attracted to the South East and Enugu West in particular, there is no need joining issues with him because the truth is on ground to speak for itself. Importantly, while it is within the sphere of the Senator’s influence to attract development projects to his constituency, the execution of such is an entirely Executive affair. No lawmaker is given any funds to execute projects.

Meanwhile, it could be recalled that Senator Ekweremadu had earlier extended invitation to SKC Ogbonnia to come to Nigeria for a project tour in company of the media. That opportunity is still open to him.

Yes, the South East is not where it needs to be in terms of socio-economic infrastructure, but the fact is that it is not where it used to be. From the actualisation of the quest for an international airport for the South East zone, which is still ongoing, to the Onitsha Seaport, and the ongoing 2nd Niger Bridge, progress is being made. Senator Ekweremadu’s role in all of these and more are well documented and acknowledged by both the media and the South East political leaders.

Again, maligning Distinguished Senator Ekweremadu for purportedly not awarding a state to the South East as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitution Review, as it used to happen under the military era, does not show the slightest understanding of Section 8 of the 1999 Constitution. An Act of the National Assembly for the purpose of creating a new State shall only be passed if a request for that purpose is supported by at least two-thirds majority of Members of the Senate, House of Representatives, House of Assembly, and local government councils in respect of the area. The proposal must thereafter be approved in a referendum by at least two-thirds majority of the people of the area in question, while the result must in turn be approved by a simple majority of all the States of the Federation supported by a simple majority of members of the Houses of Assembly. The proposal will subsequently be approved by a resolution passed by two-thirds majority of members of each House of the National Assembly. Senator Ekwermadu is not the “two-thirds majority”.

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SKC Ogbonnia should instead give the Senator the credit due to him for spearheading the breaking of the jinx of constitution amendment, a critical project that had suffered serial setbacks before the Distinguished Senator came on board.

Furthermore, the condition of Ugbo, SKC’s community, before Senator Ekweremadu became a Senator and the political and infrastructural empowerments that he has brought to the ever-grateful community today are for the people on ground to judge. With a major asphalt road network, water scheme and dam project, ICT Centre, rural electrification, PHCN Service Station, etc. for which he was conferred with the chieftaincy title of “Onwa na-etiri oha of Ugbo”, Senator Ekweremadu has nothing more to prove regarding his commitment to the development of Ugbo community.

Yes, a library/ICT Centre was proposed for Ugbo community under the MDGs, but if the people preferred an ICT Centre and were given same (as captured in our current breakdown of completed and ongoing projects attracted by Senator Ekweremadu), it is within their democratic rights. The Senator does not impose projects on communities. Good enough, the project in question was executed at a time SKC Ogbonnia’s kinsman, Hon. Toby Okechukwu, whom Ekweremadu eventually supported to the House of Representatives as part of political empowerment of the people of Ugbo, was the Special Adviser to the Deputy President of the Senate in charge of projects!

The Deputy President of the Senate holds the Ogbonnia’s family and the Ugbo community in high esteem. It was in line with this respect that Senator Ike Ekweremadu has brought many development projects to the town and facilitated the appointment of SKC Ogbonnia’s elder brother, an intellectual and gentleman, Hon. Alex Chiedozie Ogbonnia, into the Board of the Anambra River Basin Authority in 2009. That appointment predated SKC’s attacks. It is not by mere coincidence that the appointment of Hon. Alex Chiedozie Ogbonnia as the Special Adviser on Public Affairs to the Deputy President of the Senate in 2011 has been greeted by incessant attacks on the person of the Senator by SKC Ogbonnia.  The elder Ogbonnia and the entire Ogbonnia family have nevertheless continued to enjoy a cordial relationship with Senator Ekweremadu, SKC Ogbonnia’s attacks. In fact, Senator Ike Ekweremadu understands the pains the family and the Ugbo community are going through over SKC and his vitriolic. He indeed sympathises with them.

The Office is also aware of the various Internet acrobatics and manipulations against the Office of the Deputy President of the Senate, but this too will still not change the Senator’s longstanding relationship with the people of Ugbo and his commitment to making the community a better place, by God’s grace.

We have always known that SKC Ogbonnia has interest in Enugu politics, which is within his democratic rights as a Nigerian citizen. Good enough, sale of nomination forms by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has commenced. We invite him to pick up PDP’s nomination form or that of any other party of his choice and seek the mandate of his people to serve in any capacity of his choice to test his popularity.

In all, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, CFR remains focused on creditably discharging the mandate given to him by the good people of Enugu West as their Senator and by Nigerians as their Deputy President of the Senate. There is no room for distraction.


Uche Anichukwu
Special Adviser (Media) to the Deputy President of the Senate

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