By Chidi W Nwachukwu
As the general elections approach, it is time yet again for politicians, both old and new, to sell their candidatures.
While it is relatively easier for new entrants to sell their candidacy without much questioning and throwbacks,it is not so for those who may have served politically in one capacity or the other.
Experience has shown that new entrants are usually welcomed with great hopes and expectations especially when the incumbents have made poor showings, or less than desirable outings.
However, there is an exception to this rule,and Ekweremadu is one of the striking exception who continues to get better with time politically and intellectually. He is perhaps one of those people that could be described as professionals in politics. In 2003, he joined the Senate as a lawyer with a master’s degree in law, but today he has a PhD and has become a professor.
Experience has also shown that majority of those who are good in their areas of chosen careers, have often replicated such in other areas of human endeavor. He is a good lawyer and a brilliant legislator. He has won many awards including the Silverbird Legislator of the Year 2017. He believes in the God factor in human achievements, as he is known to surrender to nature’s order of lifting men to success, exemplified by the manner he rose through his political career over the years.
Ikeoha, as he is fondly called, was never in a hurry. He started as a Town Union President at Mpu, in Anniri Local Government Area of Enugu State, to become the local government Chairman. Thereafter he moved to the state level where he became the Chief of Staff to then-Governor Chimaroke Nnamani and subsequently Secretary to the Enugu State Government. He came to the Senate in 2003 and later emerged as Deputy Senate President.
He was Speaker of the Ecowas Parliament and currently the Deputy Senate President and Chairman of the Constitution Committee in an opposition party. The Distinguished Senator, despite emerging under a very controversial circumstance as the Deputy President of the Senate under the current government, has remained resolute and never fails to stand on what is just and fair. He never fails to speak against anti-people policies.
Inspite of what goes on in Nigerian politics today where selfish aggrandizement has become the order of the day, Ikeoha is still one of those who mean well of mankind and whose intention and action is to grow two ears of corn where only one grew; To build bridges for those that could not access the other end of the divide, and generally become God’s instrument used for bringing succor to humanity.
When you talk of men with political ideology in Nigeria today, Ikeoha is among those that will easily come to mind. By his consistency in party politics, it is easy to understand that he is in politics to make a difference in the lives of those who put the trust of their ballots on him. When news broke recently that he was about to defect to the ruling party due to wrongs done to him by his party, I dismissed it because I know he is not a fair weather politician. Even if he will defect, I believe he will do so with the overall interest of Nigerians in mind. He had built a solid political career over the years based on strong ideological conviction, and wont just be swept away in a hurry. Soon I was vindicated.
Ekweremadu is not just a politician but a statesman per excellence, given his performance over the years .He is not one of those politicians who seek for the soft belly of a crocodile. He knows that there is work to do and he leaves no one in doubt about the challenges, which he often believes are surmountable. Watching him during his recent visit to the IDP camp at Maiduguri where he donated several relief items, he gave hope to the seemingly hopeless tenants of the IDP, predominantly children, In his words, he said to them ‘’you can also become a senator like me tomorrow’.I was touched by that inspiration and sense of humility. That comment was not only comforting for the IDP’s, but also millions of downtrodden Nigerians watching, who thought that life has become meaningless and despondent due to their current predicament.
Perhaps we need more of Ekwremadus who gives hope to the hopeless, especially in a country that hope has become a rare commodity, so much that suicides is now a recurring decimal. Unfortunately we have many within his rank who would have others believe that their positions are unattainable, that they are only designed by the gods to attain such positions, others can only wait and die.
Ekweremadu has demonstrated within his senatorial zone over the years that leadership is not a rocket science. He understands that when you deploy the right attitude and commitments to the people, your support becomes natural without undue influence or coercion.
It is therefore not a massive wonder that he has little or no opposition to continue to represent the good people of Enugu West Senatorial District in the National Assembly; Enugu west has continued to grow both in infrastructure and quality human capital courtesy of quality representation by the distinguished Senator.
What is left of the Senator is to see to a balance of political appointments within the zone, knowing that there are weaker communities, as there are strong ones. With equal opportunities for all the communities, development is accelerated and less of accrimony, and I understand he is already working on this.
The communities including Awgunta,Nenwennta,Obeagu, Mmaku,Ugwueme,Nkwe and Ezere will continue to appreciate the Senator for the on-going massive electricity and road constructions, connecting the above communities in Awgu local government, for cohesion and improved socio-economic development. This is apart from other several completed projects in the same local government including water and agricultural projects too numerous to mention here.
Many believe that given several years of law and policy making as well as human engagement, Ekweremadu is equipped to provide the kind of leadership Nigeria needs at this time in her history. He has the intellect, temperament, experience, exposure and strong political ideology. He is a nationalist and a detrabalised Nigerian who believes in equity, justice and rule of law.
- Nwachukwu, a lawyer and development strategist, is resident in Abuja.