By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor

IT was perhaps one issue on  which the two most prominent men to have been projected from Enugu State to the National Assembly in the Fourth Republic may have agreed on in the last 12 years.

Senator Ken Nnamani, Senate President between 2005 and 2007 and Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Senate President since 2007, have rarely been on the same page on political issues since the two men came to the Senate in 2003 under the aegis of the Ebeano political machine.  Once in the Senate, Senator Nnamani quickly abandoned the Ebeano platform and took an independent streak that was to culminate in his ascendance to the position of the nation’s number three citizen.

After the apostle of the Ebeano phenomenon, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani, who inspired their ascension to the Senate ceased to play the drum, Ken Nnamani and Ekweremadu trudged on; following parallel paths in Enugu and the larger polity.
Ken Nnamani was with Governor Sullivan Chime on the chicken impeachment controversy that led to the removal of Chime’s original deputy, Sunday Onyebuchi.

Political  inclination

Ekweremadu was on the opposite side reportedly providing succour for Onyebuchi and probably rejoiced after the impeachment was reversed. Ahead of the 2011 presidential election, Ken Nnamani initially threw his support for Ibrahim Babangida while Ekweremadu inclined himself towards President Goodluck Jonathan, though both men eventually harmonised for Jonathan after the party primaries.

•Nnamani: Dumps PDP for apc and Ekweremadu: Leader of the PDP

However, one issue that both men may have agreed on is the substance of food or hunger as a motivator in political inclination, if not, then among the people of the Southeast. The issue came to the fore, penultimate weekend, when Nnamani after he was registered as a member of the All Progressives Congress, APC in his Amechi ward in Enugu South Local Government Area, of Enugu State said: “APC is going to the market and shall bring back goodies. As long as God gives me strength, I will like to identify with potential winners,” the former Senate president said in an apparent call for his people in the Southeast to join the winning team; that is the APC.
Senator Nnamani’s ideas on the issue were recently echoed by Ekweremadu, albeit as a taunt, at a stakeholders’ meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Noting the recent spate of defection from the PDP to the ruling APC, Ekweremadu at the PDP stakeholders meeting in Abuja on said: “We want them to see if they can join in the lunch, breakfast or dinner going on in APC. At the appropriate time, we will know who is who in the South East,” Ekweremadu said.
Ekweremadu and Nnamani are not the only ones describing the influx of prominent Igbo politicians into the APC as a meal ticket. Former minister of aviation, Osita Chidoka had spoken in the same vein last January when he dubbed those in PDP leaving for the APC as “Food is Ready Politicians.”
Speaking when he received Obosi PDP Ward executive in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State in his country home, the technocrat turned politician said: “I call them ‘food is ready’ politicians. They lack character; they lack principles, they lack ideology. They are saboteurs.” However, such characterisation could be doubted given the involvement of some prominent Igbo in the movement from the PDP to the APC. Among them are Senator Ken Nnamani who is also presently Chairman of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, Senator Jim Nwobodo, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, Chief Emmanuel Inwaynyanwu, and now Senator Andy Uba.

Leading Igbo  politicians

Even before the recent wave of defections, some other leading Igbo politicians had also made quiet crossover from the PDP.
Former minister of labour and productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, Dr. Tony Nwoye, a member of the House of Representatives who is also in the race to contest the Anambra governorship race, Senator Ifeanyi Ararume and some others had left the PDP for the APC.
It was perhaps the strength of the flow that prompted Governor Rochas Okorocha to last weekend claim that at least three governors from the Southeast would soon be defecting to the APC. However, it is not just the people that are flocking to the APC. The party itself is apparently desperately courting Ndigbo.
The party’s inclination it was learnt, was to properly position itself as a national party ahead of the 2019 election especially after erosion of support from its core support bases in the Southwest and the North. Nnamani at the Southeast APC stakeholders’ meeting in Owerri last weekend had cautioned that the movement towards the Southeast was to ensure that Ndigbo were properly fitted into the two major political parties.
Noting the voting pattern of the Yoruba in the 2015 election, Nnamani said at that meeting: “How the Yoruba voted in 2015 should be an eye-opener. They voted both sides, but the South-East put their eggs in one basket. I am not of the view that everybody should be in APC, but those who have seen the need should do so.”

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