The proposed exit of the influential Deputy President of the Senate, Chief Ike Ekweremadu may come to many as a big surprise given the big role he has been making and the king of energy he has bought to the office over the years.
Ekweremadu, a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who represents Enugu West Senatorial District has been in the office of the Deputy Senate President for over two terms and has been in the Senate for more than three terms.
The top lawmaker has revealed plan to leave the Senate. Ekweremadu said that he would retire from the Senate in 2023, The Guardian reports. As such, the lawmaker said that he will no longer seek for re-election to the Red Chambers.
Ekweremadu announced this on Sunday in Enugu during his 57th birthday celebration. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the senator who is completing his fourth tenure in the NASS was reelected for a fifth term during the just concluded general elections.
The lawmaker said it was time to quit the legislature, adding that his remaining time in the NASS would afford him time to complete ongoing projects in his constituency. He said that a new breed politician with shared visions would take over from him at the expiration of the fifth term.
Ekweremadu said that his 16 years sojourn in the NASS had been immensely beneficial to his constituents as it had been a harvest of projects. He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his support through the various projects being executed in his constituency.
Ekweremadu, who traced his political evolution from his time as president general of his town union, said that his political career had not always been smooth.
He said that his life had been a product of divine grace having passed through political persecution and vicissitude of life. “I have been scorched and bruised and in all of these, God protected me. This will be my last time as a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he said.
Ekweremadu said that he may have offended some people in the course of his political career, adding that such people should forgive him.
The Chairman of the occasion, Bishop Emmanuel Chukwuma had earlier described the lawmaker as a perfect gentleman. Chukwuma said that Ekweremadu had provided leadership at all levels of his political life.
NAN further reports that the occasion also marked the 25th wedding anniversary of the lawmaker with his wife, Mrs Nwanneka Ekweremadu.
The jostle for who will occupy the seat Ekweremadu will leave in 2023 might have just began with his planned exit.
In another development, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi representing Niger North has fingered the selfish tendencies of the elite, which he is part of, as cause of the country’s problems. He alleged that local government, as the third tier, only existed on paper, while the states squandered the finances meant for them.
Abdullahi made the speech during a press conference at the Senate Media Hall after sponsoring a bill on Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit and Local Government Finances.Governors, he said, have crippled local governments and the Houses of Assembly have held that tier of government at the jugular, to the extent that elections into the local councils are withheld and caretaker arrangements are foisted on the people, bypassing due process.
On the issue of federation, he asserted that there was always an elitist gang-up against the masses.“We bring in languages that were not created by us and we try to use them to punish our people. “I don’t understand. Today we are talking about federation; does poverty know federation? Does kidnapping respect those things you are talking about? Do the bandits and the terrorists respect that? They don’t.”
According to him, the whole idea is for the structure of governance to make division of labour possible. His words: “We have countries that do not have constitution, but everything is working; so why all the cry about constitution.“ I have always maintained that if every single Nigerian would be honest to see himself implementing what the present constitution says, we would not see the problems we are encountering.”
The constitution says welfare and security are the primary purpose of governance, but how much of it have the leaders implemented? he queried. He touched on the issue of nepotism, which many Nigerians had been accusing the presidency of. “Somebody will become a chief executive of a parastatal, and 150 out of 200 staff are from his family. Did the constitution say that is what he should do? The constitution is clear about it, but he is trampling on the constitution.”
More calls have been made to make the Local Government Areas (LGAs) to be financially independent. The move to make them receive their federal allocations directly from the federal government is topping the list of reforms needed to make the LGAs independent.