Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu is among the few politicians that have defied the odds to have a smooth sail in the muddy political terrain of the country

Onyedika Agbedo

“Prosperity is a great teacher; adversity a greater.”

–William Hazlitt

Onyedika Agbedo

Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu is among the few politicians, especially in the Southeast geo-political zone, that have defied the odds to have a smooth sail in the muddy political terrain of the country since the restoration of democracy in 1999. As the longest serving senator and the highest political office holder from the zone, he is like the eye and ear of the entire people of the Southeast in the affairs of the country.

READ ALSO: Southeast PDP governors, leaders disown Obi as Atiku’s running mate

From a humble beginning as the Chairman of Aninri Local Government Area (LGA) of Enugu State (1997-1998), he was appointed Chief of Staff, Enugu State Government House and later Secretary to the State Government (SSG). He was elected into the Senate in 2003 to represent Enugu West Senatorial District and has been serving in the Upper Chamber since then. By that virtue, he has worked with three governors of his state, from Chimaroke Nnamani to Sullivan Chime and now Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, without any known hassle except when Chime wanted to retire him from the Senate in 2015. Chime himself had wanted to go to the Senate, but Ekweremadu stopped him. In fact, Ekweremadu was recently quoted as saying he could remain in the Senate forever if he wanted. Although that might sound boastful, he spoke against the backdrop of the goodwill he enjoys from his people. “I’m in total touch with my people and that is why if I want to remain in Senate forever, I will,” he said. This can only come from a politician who has prepared his way and is ready to maintain it. However, recent developments point to seeming plots to neutralise Ekweremadu politically by whatever means possible. Just last Tuesday, there was an attack on his Apo residence in Abuja, which he alleged was an assassination attempt on him, his wife and son. Reports had it that the attackers discreetly beat the security at his residence to gain entry into his house. They forced their way into his bedroom having taken hold of his son and commanded him to lead the way. But in a show of bravado, Ekweremadu and his family engaged the attackers in a struggle that led to the arrest of one of the assailants while the rest escaped. The police have confirmed the incident, but said it was a case of mere burglary. The four policemen and a civil defence official on duty at the residence on that day have also been arrested. Surely, they will have to explain how the assailants outsmarted them as investigation continues.

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But whatever the outcome, it’s now clear to the senator that he is virtually exposed like the rest of the ordinary folks. In spite of the fact that he had five security men guarding his residence, his foes were still able to get at him and nearly succeeded in accomplishing their alleged mission, but for divine intervention going by the tales of the senator as one of the suspects caught claimed that they didn’t know they went to rob the house of a ‘big man’.

Expectedly, Ekweremadu’s colleagues in the National Assembly, the Southeast governors and political allies have been fuming. They have suddenly realised that none of them is safe no matter the number of security personnel guarding them in their posh quarters, as long as the majority of Nigerians are jobless and hungry. But will they do the right things henceforth?

Then the other day, the rumour mills had it that Ekweremadu was about to dump the PDP for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). According to the reports, he was allegedly angry that he was not picked as the running mate of the presidential standard bearer of his party, Atiku Abubakar; neither was he part of the process that led to the emergence of a former governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi, as Atiku’s running mate. He was completely kept in the dark despite being the highest political office holder in the party from the zone and his contributions towards repositioning the party. So, he wondered what would be his position in both the party and the government if Atiku wins the presidency, it was reported then.

Although Ekweremadu has laid the speculation about his political future to rest by pledging his allegiance to PDP, his angst suggested that he had not experienced any political bruising and betrayal before that development. His loyalty to political associates and the party had always come with a corresponding reward as evidenced in his position in the country today. He had never been used and dumped like many other politicians in the country. But today, he may have joined that league and is now nursing the pains therefrom. Going forward, he will likely have it at the back of his mind always that in politics, promises are void and nothing is sure until you grab it with both hands.

Born in 1962 at Amachara Mpu in Aninri LGA of Enugu State, Ekweremadu holds both Bachelors and Masters degree in Law from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1987. He also holds Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Law from the University of Abuja. He is serving as Deputy Senate President for the third consecutive time.

READ ALSO: Senate probes alleged assassination on Ekweremadu, family