By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
A WAR of words has broken out between supporters of Senator Ike Ekweremadu and Mr. Osita Okechukwu over the Enugu West Senatorial seat.
Ekweremadu, the deputy president of the Senate has represented the constituency with a measure of democracy dividends acclaimed by some elements in the constituency but his efforts are being challenged by Mr. Okechukwu, the director-general of the Voice of Nigeria, VON. Okechukwu had in making his claim for the seat vowed to retire Ekweremadu, one of South-East’s most enduring political players in the Fourth Republic.
Okechukwu’s support group, the APC Youth Circle, APCYC, Enugu West Senatorial District, in continuation of the vow by their principal said it was wishing Ekweremadu a successful retirement from the Senate. In a statement by its General Coordinator, Comrade Geofrey Eze, the APCYC said it was rooting for Okechukwu because of his antecedents and capacity to take the zone to new heights.
“Mr Osita Okechukwu with his antecedents will give selfless service to the good people of Enugu West Senatorial District,” the statement deposed as it cited six persons the VON DG had influenced their appointments into various boards including National Population Commission, ICPC and Federal Medical Centre, among others.
“Mr. Okechukwu will revamp Enugu Coal to be used to generate electricity and provide employment to thousands of youths. Distinguished Senator Ekweremadu never mentioned the huge coal deposit in the district in his 16 years sojourn. Okechukwu has been on this mission and it is elementary knowledge that he will facilitate the revamping of the coal deposits in Inyi, Amansiodo, Onyeama and Okpara mines better as a senator.
“As a Buharist, Mr Okechukwu as a senator will easily hook up with President Buhari’s RRAP Projects – Roads, Rails and Agriculture – to facilitate the Eastern Corridor Railways, which will cover he Port Harcourt, Umuahia, Owerri, Abakaliki, Awka, Makurdi, Lafia, Akwanga, Jos, Damaturu, and Maiduguri.’’
Contacted, Ekweremadu’s Spokesman, Uche Anichukwu, declined to react, insisting that “a wise man only hurries to remove his wares when there is a heavy rain or the signs of it, not empty wind that doesn’t hold water or move the cloud.”
However, the National President of Enugu West Peoples Assembly, a pan Enugu-West mini parliament, Hon. Paul Anikwe, advised the Enugu State APC to put its house in order before dreaming about Ekweremadu’s seat.
“In Enugu West, we don’t sell the eagle to buy a kite. Besides, we know that APC’s violent congresses in Enugu, which we all saw on television, produced at least two factions.
“While a faction led by Ben Nwoye is loyal to Senator Ken Nnamani as well as Sullivan Chime and Osita Okechukwu, the other faction chaired by Deacon Ogbodo is loyal to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, who is promoting another senatorial candidate, Mrs. Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu,” he said.