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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Why Ekweremadu Has My Support – By Ushe Patrick



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HRH Igwe Onyioha Nwanjoku welcomes Senator Ike Ekweremadu to Oduma
HRH Igwe Onyioha Nwanjoku welcomes Senator Ike Ekweremadu to Oduma

The ongoing political crusade in which the governor of Enugu State, Sullivan Chime, has started flexing muscles in order to trade tackles to depose and succeed Senator Ike Ekweremadu, the Deputy Senate President and Senator representing Enugu West Senatorial District in the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly, is rather intriguing and unnecessary.


While it is very clear to political spectators in Enugu State that Governor Chime has a beef against Senator Ekweremadu, it is not yet clear to anyone why that should be the case. Be that as it may, what is important is that the Senator is someone who by a great dint of merit and achievement now enjoys a great amount of love and popularity among his people. It is indeed for this reason that we in Enugu State owe it as a sacred duty to advice the Governor to retrace his steps, and let Ekweremadu be.


In order to subdue the senator, Chime had recently zoned the gubernatorial ticket of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Enugu State to Enugu North Senatorial Zone, but the Senator have always maintained that he did not want to be Governor. Chime has also anointed a successor without carrying other stakeholders in the State along ab-initio, but Ekweremadu has maintained his cool. yet, not satisfied, Chime wants to snatch Ekweremadu’s seat at the Senate.


Yet, for more than seven years into his administration, there is no serious effort made by the governor to see that Enugu West benefits. Sullivan has marginalized his own people of Enugu West in the provision of social amenities and developmental institutions. By this very act and by invoking the Triangular-Equilibrium to favour the North, he has thrown the development of Enugu West 16 years backwards. The people of Enugu West will now wait for full eight years tenure for the Enugu North candidate and eight years tenure by a candidate from Enugu East, if the rotational arrangement continues.  Throughout Enugu West, there is this apparent disbelief among the people that a person of Chime’s origin can to abandon his own people in such magnitude.


In Awgu and Aninri Local Government Areas, the developmental projects that have been accomplished during these eight years have either been attracted by Senator Ekweremadu or done by the local government councils.  The same thing also applies to Ezeagu and Udi areas.  While Ekweremadu has done over 22 projects in Udi where Chime hails from, the Governor has not done a single one in Aninri LGA where Ekeremadu hails from. Recently, Chime has amusingly begun a cosmetic type of cover-up in Udi South from where he actually hails. The governor wants us to applaud him for the Old Enugu/Onitsha road, which his administration is managing to rehabilitate.  I beg your pardon; let us not abandon history. Very recently, Chimaroke Nnamani was the governor of Enugu State. During his administration, he did not spare any opportunity whatsoever to develop his hometown Agbani and the surrounding sister communities. As governor, he provided infrastructural facilities and developmental institutions to his people. We are aware of the siting of the permanent campus of Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) in the area. The Nigerian Law School, Mea Mater Secondary School and Air Force Secondary School, to mention but a few, are all developmental projects which the former governor used to liberate his people from the shackles of anonymity and poverty. Today, Agbani and its surroundings has become a beehive of activities and a prominent zone both for business and learning, thanks to the administration of the former governor. While we are not here to applaud such an over-concentration of facilities in Agbani, it is only necessary to observe that it is unthinkable that Sullivan Chime would entirely consider his own people of Enugu West, especially Udi town unworthy of such favors.  Could it be true that Sullivan is jostling for the Enugu West Senatorial seat?

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While Sullivan has not done much for the people of Udi town and the entire Umuneke, the case of our people of Enugu North comprising of Ojebe Ogene and Ugwunye is even worse. He has entirely marginalized this zone in the provisions of his administration. The people of Ojebe Ogene are the worst hit. Whereas the people of Udi Town and its surroundings have received from our Governor a Greek gift of petty road rehabilitation, the people of Ojebe Ogene have remained forsaken in the whole framework of Chime’s administration. What have Ojebe Ogene people done to Chime to merit this type of utter disregard?


Who can believe that Sullivan Chime throughout his more than seven years old administration can abandon Udi North in such a way that he cannot rehabilitate the only road in the area, the Enugu/Nsukka Old Road. Sources reveal that some group of people from Ojebe Ogene area had on Wednesday 18th April 2014, paid the governor a visit in the Lion Building, imploring him to rehabilitate the road. And I ask why Sullivan should wait for our people to beg him to rehabilitate the only access road we have. Do not forget that this is a governor who commands fame within Enugu metropolis and some other places in Enugu State as a road builder. Why should the case of Ojebe Ogene people be different? Instead of rehabilitating the road, which has over the years kept our affinity with Nsukka people strong, Chime decided to neglect the area to pursue a new road construction from Nike to Opi. While we commend him for this effort, we can never be satisfied with any excuse the Chime administration will give for relegating us to the background.  Why does he think that he is better than the person already occupying the seat? Why is Sullivan into the illusion that he can now challenge Ike Ekweremadu in battle over the Enugu West Senatorial seat? He has made up his mind to use all the available government machinery within his power as a governor to oppress an innocent man.

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Now we may ask, have senatorial seats become retirement benefits for governors? As a legislator, Chief Ekweremadu has attracted more than 140 projects to our people. Throughout Aninri, Awgu, and Ezeagu there is construction of brand new roads and the provision of other facilities like building structures in schools, hospitals and the provision of vehicles and other facilities for service institutions, all of which were attracted by him. In what part of Enugu West Senatorial Zone has Chief Ekweremadu not touched the life of the people with his Ikeoha Foundation? Every now and then, there are   activities like inter- school quiz competitions meant to motivate the youth for learning and empower them for the challenges of future life.


Why is Sullivan contesting for a senatorial seat? One of his cronies said that the reason why they have lured the governor into this contest was that he is the only one who can challenge Ekweremadu and bring him back to the state. He argued that Senator Ekweremadu had spent 12 years in the senate and should allow another person to go. Fallacy! Those who further this argument are only displaying their ignorance of what a legislative function is. Legislative function is an art, which is not an inclination of every Tom, Dick and Harry.  It is not free for all. Our governors should stop seeing it as a retirement benefit.  It is also a function over which a person gains mastery and proficiency as the person stays in office.  In the developed world, expenditure of time is not counted for any legislator so long as the person is representing his constituency very well and contributing to the progress of the country.


Senator Ekweremadu is only going to 12 years in the Senate. During this time, he has demonstrated to Nigerians and the whole world that he is a very talented and active legislator.  His humble beginnings notwithstanding, Ekweremadu has succeeded in becoming second to the highest-ranking Senator in this country. He has also gone beyond that to become the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament.  All over Nigeria and the entire West African sub-region, his praises are sung among the high and the low for his exemplary leadership.

Patrick writes from Enugu

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