Ike Ekweremadu, deputy senate president, says his comment on staying at the senate for a long period if he wanted to, was taken out of context.
On Thursday, Ekweremadu while speaking at an event organised by the Not Too Young To Run movement, said he is “in total” touch with his people and could remain in the senate forever, if he wanted.
“I’m in total touch with my people and that is why if I want to remain in senate forever, I will,” Ekweremadu had said.
But in a Facebook post on Friday, Ekweremadu said he told the audience on the need to be rooted at the grassroots and did not lay emphasis on spending the rest of his life at the upper legislative chamber.
“I was only mentoring the youth on the need to be rooted at the grassroots and relate closely with their immediate constituencies to achieve their political dreams, using myself as an example. But my advice was taken out of context,” the post read.
“I have always seized opportunities of meeting the youth and other aspiring politicians, who consult me on their political ambitions against the erroneous notion that they must have a godfather in Abuja or the party to succeed in politics.
“Much as I played a key role in ensuring that the Not Too Young To Run bill succeeded and even wanted 18 years as age qualification to run for office, I have always advised my mentees that it is erroneous to hope to win elections relying only on the fact that they are young.
“I always advise them to start from somewhere, preferably the grassroots and remain with people even when elected. In my case, I served as chairman of my age grade association at ten and served so many years years as the president of my community’s town union before serving as the pioneer chairman of my local government area (LGA), etc.
“So, I used the opportunity of the public dialogue themed ‘Youth Candidacy and the Future of Nigeria Beyond 2019’ organised by the Not Too Young To Run movement to share my personal experience, reiterating that the secret of my political staying power lies in relating closely with my constituents, making myself accessible to them, and ensuring justice and equity in the distribution of opportunities and development projects.
“I said that so long as I continued on this path, my people would always want me to run, ready to re-elect me as many times as I am willing to present myself. This is a verifiable fact.
“This is despite the fact that my town, Mpu, is the smallest in my LGA, and my LGA is the least in Enugu west senatorial. And that is the more reason I remain humble about it and most grateful to my people, who are my primary employers and above all to God to whom all power belongs, and whose grace has no doubt brought me this far.”