By TONY EDIKE, Enugu
Deputy Senate President, Chief Ike Ekweremadu, yesterday, described the return of the former Governor of Enugu State, Senator Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as a positive development as it would boost the chances of the party in future elections in the state.
Ekweremadu, who lashed out at some members of the party in the state who are opposed to the return of the former governor to the party, declared that all major political actors in Enugu State were the products of Dr. Nnamani and he deserved to be shown enough gratitude.
Speaking with newsmen at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport shortly on his return from Abuja, Ekweremadu who represents Enugu West Senatorial zone, said that it was wrong to prevent anybody willing to come into PDP from doing so as the party was big enough to accommodate everybody.
He said: “I read in the papers that Senator Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani went to his Agbani Ward and declared his interest to return and he was fully accepted. I think it is a positive development for us in PDP in Enugu State.
“You will recall that in the last election, the PDP gave most of the votes to the presidential candidate of the party, President Goodluck Jonathan and that time Senator Chimaroke Nnamani was in People for Democratic Change, PDC. Now that he is with us in PDP, it is expected that we are going to get more votes this time. Majority of the votes will now definitely go to Mr. President and of course to the PDP. For us in the PDP, it is a welcome development.
“He (Nnamani) has been a founding father of PDP in Enugu State, he played a major role in stabilizing the PDP and in bringing about the positions which most of us occupy today. So, we should be excited that he is coming back to PDP and we should encourage him.
“It is also an opportunity for me to ask all those who are yet to come back so that PDP should be able to have a complete hold on Enugu State. Enugu has actually been a PDP State but because some of them left, we suffered some little setback in terms of the number of PDP members in the state, but right now with his coming back and the expected come back of others like him, I am sure that we will be fully back to the dominance of PDP in Enugu State. So, it is a welcome development and I commend him for taking that step.”
Asked if he was aware of the stiff resistance by some loyalists of Governor Sullivan Chime to Senator Nnamani’s return to the party for allegedly not complying with the constitutional requirements for defecting members, Ekweremadu said that nobody can stop the former governor, who was a founding member of the party from returning to his base.
His words: This is a democracy and we have freedom of association in Nigeria and it is not as simple as that. So, nobody is going to stop anybody from being in any political party. Things don’t work that way. We don’t run a secret society, it is not a cult. PDP is a big party and it is open to everybody.
“I will be surprised if anybody opposes his (Nnamani”s) coming back. He is actually going to add value and the more the merrier in this business. I think we should have an open mind in all these. And to think about it, the major political actors in Enugu State are all products of Senator Chimaroke Nnamani and we should be grateful to him.
“The worst thing that will happen to any person is the sin of ingratitude. If you are ungrateful to any person you can never make any progress. The Bible is clear on that; so if you pay good with evil, evil will never depart your house. We expect that any person who has benefited from Chimaroke Nnamani should be happy with him and the least we can do is to wish him well.”
The Deputy Senate President also spoke on the proposed flag off of the construction of the second Niger Bridge at Onitsha by President Goodluck Jonathan next week saying the people of the South East indeed all Nigerians and foreigners that use that bridge should be grateful to the president for his commitment towards the actualization of the project.