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Ike Ekweremadu: His fantasies; his hubris!

Ike Ekweremadu: His fantasies; his hubris!
May 29
16:35 2020

BY NNAMDI NWOKEDI

If there be anybody the present democratic dispensation has brightened up his path, none perhaps compares to that of the ‘permanent’ representative of the Enugu West in the red chambers of the National Assembly, Distinguished Senator Ike Ekweremadu. From the labyrinths of obscurity, he has risen to etch himself in the consciousness of Nigerians in a most compelling manner. A former baby lawyer, struggling to eke a living in a downtown dingy chamber in Abakpa Nike, a suburb of Enugu, Ekweremadu threw his hat into the ring in the local government chairmanship elections that heralded the general elections of 1999, but was badly bruised both electorally and physically. It was too intense and scary that he had to be smuggled out of the area incognito; in retrospect marking the first public beating the distinguished senator would receive in the hands of those who ought to know better.

He ran to the erstwhile political godfather of Enugu, Senator Jim Nwobodo whose overarching paranoia in those halcyon years of his overlordship in the politics of the state was how to rein in the emerging profile of the Nwodo political family of Ukehe. His obsession with this project worked to determine all his political actions and reflexes and consequently denuded him of the essential introspection which his experience in politics ought to have guaranteed. Hoping that Ekweremadu would ever remain a loyal mole in the new government of his godson, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani, he peremptorily foisted him on the later as his Chief of Staff! But it was not long before Nwobodo would discover that certain events, especially stomach infrastructure had combined to mock at his foresight. Ekweremadu did not only abandon him at that crucial moment, he indeed became the battle axe in the hands of Dr. Nnamani in the epic godfather war that engulfed the State during that era. As compensation, Dr. Nnamani packaged him to the Senate in 2003 against the run of expectations in a zone hitherto dominated by the likes of Dr. Hyde Onuaguluchi and Gbazuagu Nweke Gbazuagu. Indeed, when Adolphus Wabara stepped on the proverbial banana peel of the Red Chamber and a search was on for his replacement, the disagreement that ensued between Senator Ken Nnamani and Chimaroke Nnamani stemmed from the fact that whereas the later wanted Ekweremadu to occupy the exalted position, the former was not willing to capitulate. In the bazaar that defined the politics of the National Assembly of those days, the governor was alleged to have spent so much in trying, howbeit in vain, to make “his anointed son” the President of the Senate of the federal republic of Nigeria. The rest as they say is now history!

But Ekweremadu moved on nonetheless, earning his own clouts away from his godfathers, and emerging to retain the exalted position of the Deputy Senate President for a record 12 long years, with tremendous influence to bout! He has enjoyed this limelight so much that he seemingly has forgotten certain immutable realities about his background. He now displays brazen hubris, arrogance and even lack of self-respect. On the floor of the national Assembly about a year ago, he boasted of how so easily he was able to dispatch the opposition mounted by the former governor of Enugu State, Barr. Sullivan Chime against his fourth term bid to the Senate, and gloated that whereas he was as yet soaring higher at the National Assembly, the former governor who tried to stop him was holed up in his village, humbled! Needless to recall the fate that his erstwhile godfather Dr. Nnamani, has suffered at the orchestration Ekwereamdu. At his personal machinations, he ensured that the ebeano kingpin was ‘defeated’ repeatedly by no less a person than Senator Gil Nnaji, who incidentally was also one of the creations of the former kingpin. Need we recall the fate of the Nwodo political family and the Ekweremadu perfidy? The betrayal that led to the ouster of Okwesilize Nwodo as the National Chairman of the PDP in 2010 dealt a telling blow on the reputation of the family and the ignominy of Nwodo’s dismissal was too coldly served that the scar is still very much fresh. Neither need we dwell on the irreparable harm the Senator Ayogu Eze gubernatorial agenda suffered in 2015 as a consequence of a misplaced faith in his friendship. In effect, Ekweremadu has dealt indelible blows at almost every political figure one can imagine in the state!

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But it appears the omens are no longer friendly. Apart from some personal misfortunes in recent times, including the beating he received in the hands of the IPOB members in Germany, he has been buffeted by certain forces, some of which appear to be beyond his ken. But the tragedy of humans who have enjoyed a rollercoaster power fantasy is that they often fail to recognize or deliberately ignore endgame signs and therefore fail to prepare for the inevitable. No festival is as perennial as the river Niger, and no masquerade is celebrated forever. Sagacity is being able to draw the necessary lines between venal brinkmanship and inevitable realities. In the political circle, the moment a certain masquerade begins to see himself as a god, some etreal forces often emerge to unmask and reduce it lower than a human being. And the day a man begins to mock at himself, others will join.

The revelations in the petitions against him by the former Chief Judge of Enugu State, the late Hon. Justice Innocent Umezurike, and which has attracted a passionate attention of the Economic and financial Crimes Commission (EFCC); coupled with the recent revelations of his alleged real estate holdings in foreign countries and countless other cloudy acquisitions have combined to make him so desperate about the office of governor of Enugu State come 2003! He hopes that by clinching the coveted seat, and clad with all the perks associated with the office, especially the immunity from prosecution facility, he would be able to buy some time and possibly dissipate every evidence against him over these weighty allegations. Thus, his desperate quest for the position is matched only by his infinite preparedness to catch at any straw and employ anybody as sacrificial lambs in the process. But this lust is inevitably his nemesis! A lot of factors make this ‘Enugu Dream’ (a name he gave to his private radio station in the city), a flatulent one and like in most dreams, he will wake up to discover he was afflicted by Malaria!

Firstly, the rotation template which has ensured peace and even development, inclusiveness and fellow-feeling among the indigenous peoples of the state, has become very entrenched as a political culture. It has ensured a smooth transition of power from Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani, of Enugu East, to Barr. Sullivan Chime of Enugu West and now to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu North senatorial zone. In recognition of the enduring peace and harmonious co-existence this model has engendered, the Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has consistently proclaimed that after his tenure, power shall shift to the East Senatorial zone. The zone is made up of Enugu East, Enugu North, Enugu South, Izi Uzo, Nkanu East and Nkanu West local government councils of the state. The next governor must therefore come from any of these councils. Ekweremadu’s wish to truncate this peaceful template is not only unstatesmanlike, it is indeed provocative.

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Secondly, the Nkanu stock (Enugu East Senatorial zone) which turn it is to produce the next governor is potentially a very bad customer to deal with and Ekeremadu should know this as a fact. He grew up among them and the ladder through which he has climbed was actually provided for him by them. He very well knows that the “god that cannot enthrone you, cannot equally dethrone you” and I hope he understands! Thus he needs no further education of what they are capable of doing. Apart from the likes of Jim Nwobodo, Chimaroke Nnamani, Ken Nnamani, etc, Ekweremadu will be confronted on all fronts, and by every standard, such that Enugu would no longer be a home for him! Similarly, he has lost his position as the Deputy Senate President, and so has the clout that comes with it. He should have noticed that the mass of vehicular and human traffic that usually announce his presence in Enugu is no longer featuring. He has as a fact lost the support of even his home base such that many pundits believe that if free and fair elections are held today in his Ani Nri local government, he would not win. He knows his statutory limitations in the family he claims and the frictions that exist therein presently; not to talk of the unhidden resentment of the people of Awgu, Oji River, Udi and Ezeagu local government councils who all believe he has serially used and dumped them.

Barrister Nwokedi wrote from Enugu.

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