Editorial

HAS EKWEREMADU BEEN ABANDONED BY HIS CONSTITUENCIES?

On September 12th, 2022, Miss Sonia Ekweremadu, the ailing daughter of Senator Ike Ekweremadu, CFR, PhD, former three-time Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate and incumbent senator representing Enugu West Senatorial District in the Red Chamber of the National Assembly sent a heart-rending S.O.S. through her Instagram page to the world over her double jeopardy.

Firstly, the twenty-five year old young woman appealed for organ donation from members of the public in order to save her life from a rare kidney disease, FSGS Nephritic Syndrome with which she had been battling for years.According to her, doctors advised against donation from her family members as comprehensive medical examination showed that her ailment was genetic and would likely reoccur.

Secondly, she alerted the world that her father, Senator Ekweremadu, had been diagnosed with acute kidney damage, in the time that he has been incarcerated.Sonia’s health challenge is no longer news. However, her revelation of her father’s current health challenge is indeed terrible news.

Indeed, Sonia’s medical emergency and her parents’ ordeal are quite pathetic. However, the Senator’s present health status brings an alarming dimension to the whole unfortunate episode. Even the hardest of human hearts ought to be touched!

Unfortunately, following the arrest of Senator Ekweremadu and his wife, Lady Dr. Nwanneka Ekweremadu, in June for alleged conspiracy to traffick a human person for organ harvest in London in April, 2022, it appears the Senator’s constituencies have abandoned him, after he had done so much and sacrificed tremendously for these constituencies. These constituencies include; Ndigbo, his party -the PDP, the National Assembly, etc.

As Deputy Senate President, Ekweremadu took an unprecedented risk by hosting meetings of the South East Senate caucus in his official residence and as well providing required logistics to facilitate the release on bail of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the IPOB leader in 2017.

Before then, he had led the South East Senate Caucus to confront President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2016 over the continued detention of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. When it was fashionable for people to run into their shells in awe of the administration, Ikeoha, as he is fondly called, challenged Buhari in an open letter against Operation Python Dance in the South East region and rebuked the security agencies openly at the floor of the Senate over the killings of harmlessly protesting Igbo youths.

Googling and reading through Ekweremadu’s open letter against the Python Dance and his call for dialogue instead, one shudders in awe, seeing that he had a premonition of what is happening in the South East today, in terms of insecurity and did warn against it.After Kanu’s extraordinary rendition from Kenya and subsequent detention last year, he, again was spearheading attempts to secure the IPOB leaders’s release through a political solution until his arrest in London. This was despite being mobbed by IPOB loyalists in Nuremberg, Germany in August, 2019.

According to him, he did that, not because he was a member of IPOB but because of his belief in adhering to the rule of law in dealing with dissenting groups, regardless of their ethno-religious identity.

Given the place of Ekweremadu in South East politics and how he has rallied round prominent Igbo sons in distress, one would have expected the South East Governors, especially his own State Governor and Leader of the PDP in the region, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to formally mobilize the South East leaders to make a presentation to the Federal Government on behalf of Ekweremadu, who was until recently, the highest ranking political office holder from the South East region. However, it seems we have to wait forever as they all appear to have moved on.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a party Ekweremadu virtually saved from extinction in the aftermath of their loss of the presidential election in 2015 is also vividly missing in action. Apart from adding him in their presidential campaign council (while under incarceration), one can hardly recalls any action the party has taken to aid his cause.

Even when the EFCC recently ridiculed its mandate by that malicious and shameful interim forfeiture court which it got like a thief in the night while Ekweremadu is in detention in London, battling for his name and daughter’s life, the PDP couldn’t whimper. Yet, we all know that Ekweremadu’s emergence as Deputy Senate President from the opposition PDP which the ruling party wanted to kill and bury to institute a one-party state and his refusal to abandon the party like many others remain the real sources of all his troubles in the last seven years.

The PDP owes its existence today to Ekweremadu and the likes of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State. While many party chieftains have totally abandoned or left and returned to the PDP as it serves their political interests, he is one of the few that have not moved an inch from the party both in good times and bad times. Despite being bruised in the animated play that accompanied this year’s Enugu State intra party gubernatorial politics, he chose to stay back in the PDP and continued to be a loyal party man.

Also, the National Assembly, where he served as three-time Deputy Senate President and Speaker, ECOWAS Parliament deserves commendations for the much they have done, including sending a delegation to the UK over the issue. However, they have to do more to pressurize the Federal Government to do the needful by ensuring that a diplomatic solution is applied to remedy the embarrassing situation.

Certainly, we know that the Federal Government of Nigeria CANNOT treat a British Member of Parliament in the same way that the British authorities have treated Ekweremadu; from lying to the entire world that he trafficked a homeless and orphaned minor to their country to the long incarceration without trial. How the National Assembly members sleep at night with ease and are desperately fighting for various elections while the real author and pilot of the constitutional and electoral reforms Nigerians enjoy today is locked up leaves one speechless!

Ekweremadu’s other constituencies ranging from Enugu West (the district he has superbly represented for nearly twenty years), Greater Awgu (his socio-cultural zone in Enugu State) and Aninri (his Local Government Area of origin), equally have roles to play.

In terms of Constituency projects and quality representation, Ekweremadu has done so much for his senatorial district, more than any other Nigerian Senator in recorded history.

In fact, he has done more projects in neighbouring Senatorial Districts than the Senators representing such districts. He is indeed in a class of his own.

What of his army of ardent supporters? Bikonu, are there not one thousand persons left in the city of Enugu, who personally feel touched by their brother’s plight? Where are the Bishops and pastors of the churches he built or supported financially? Where is his spiritual father and ally, Archbishop Emmanuel Chukwuma? Of course, their leading a march to Lion Building will really let the world know that Ikeoha is still very dear to us. He was not arrested for corruption. He was arrested for being a responsible parent.

Legally, what is the case against him? Basically, he wrote in support of David Nwamini’s application for British type D Medical visa. The visa type tallies with the Senator’s disclosure to the British Government in his letter supporting David’s visa application wherein it was stated that he (Nwamini) was travelling to the UK for organ donation and equally declared the hospital for the procedure. It is therefore a travesty of justice and indeed against natural justice and mischief to charge him under the United Kingdom Modern Slavery Act 2015, which relates to human trafficking and organ harvesting. The British authorities are only invariably telling the world that it is the norm for lawbreakers to write to their Government to inform them that they were coming over to their land to perpetuate illegalities. Otherwise, a Nigerian lawmaker wouldn’t write to inform them that David Nwamini was going to donate a kidney to his ailing daughter in a designated hospital only for them to turn around to arrest, humiliate, detain and try him without first sacking, detaining and trying all hierarchy of the UK High Commission in Nigeria.Besides, the London Metropolitan Police appears to have more than a professional interest in the Ekweremadu.

First, it was very unprofessional and irresponsible for the Investigative Police Officer at the Metropolitan Police to have disregarded the information contained on Nwamini’s international passport stating that he was 21 years of age, choosing to rely on his oral evidence of being aged 15 years and as such a minor. Although that lie has been ruled on by the court of law as a lie and even though the trial is hinged on the trafficking of a human person, the fact that the alleged organ donor lied about being a minor, lied about being an orphan, lied about being a homeless person, and lied about not been educated, and only discovered that he was trafficked and being enslaved and maltreated after he had cruised life in the UK (as we saw from his social media posts) make many wonder how the Metropolitan Police and the prosecutors are insistent on trying a Nigerian Member of Parliament on the testimonies of a chronic and impulsive liar.

Equally worrisome is what a civil rights group as well as Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Worldwide recently described as collaborative efforts by the EFCC and the London Metropolitan Police to keep Ekweremadu in detention, perpetually. They alleged that as the Metropolitan Police shopped for evidences to thwart Ekweremadu’s bail, they wrote the EFCC on 17th July and the EFCC obliged them in a world record time on 18th July staring in their letter that they would not only go after Ekweremadu’s alleged assets while he was in detention, but would also file criminal charges against him. All these were aimed at not only thwarting Ekweremadu’s chances of freedom by presenting him as a man of means who had the resources to stage an escape from the UK, but also to import an unrelated and clearly political matter to bias the mind of the court and nail Ekweremadu. Despicable!

Finally, we should avoid destruction of our national assets at the altar of political expediency. Ekweremadu, all things considered, remains a national asset; for Ndigbo, his party, the National Assembly and his other constituencies.

Who, apart from Ekweremadu, could, as a sitting Deputy Senate President advocate and promote Restructuring and Devolution of powers from the Federal Government to the federating units with passion, knowing fully well that as the country’s Number 5 citizen, such constitutional changes would also affect him personally?

How can Nigerians ever forget his fertile contributions to our national discourse and political lexicon with the introduction of such popular phrases as “Feeding bottle federalism”? In fact, all patriotic Nigerians, as a matter of justice and national pride should prevail on the Federal Government to ensure his expedited return to Nigeria.

Mazi Ikechukwu Bismarck Oji, MNSE

Publisher, hoo!haa!! Newspapers

2nd December, 2022

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