Since 1998, Senator Ike Ekweremadu has remained on the corridors, or is it in the parlours of power. Ekweremadu was local government chairman. He was Chief of Staff to Governor Chimaroke Nnamani. He was Secretary to Enugu State Government. He has been a serving Senator for the past 15 years. And outside the shores of the country, Ekweremadu was Speaker of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament.
Ekweremadu is the longest serving Deputy President of the Senate in the history of Nigeria. He has won the coveted seat for unprecedented three tenures, even in a most unlikely circumstance. He has served two different Senate Presidents from two different political parties, working in harmony with each of them.
In a country where politicians, like the leopard, always change spots by jumping from one political party to the other, and where those who defect are celebrated or eulogized, Ekweremadu remains one of the few notable politicians in Nigeria who remains faithful to his political party, and who refuses to defect.
Ekweremadu is at home with his constituents, in particular, people of Enugu West Senatorial District, and by extension, Enugu State and the South East geopolitical zone. He has given them quality representation, attracted democracy dividends, and now works in synergy with his State Governor.
Senator Ike Ekweremadu, a lawyer and an academic, started his voyage into politics when he was elected Chairman of his native Aninri Local Government Council of Enugu State in 1998.
A foundation member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he sought to return to the local government council as chairman in 1999, but did not succeed. He was not despaired. He contined to trudge on. He was however compensated with the appointment as Chief of Staff to the Governor of Enugu State, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani in 1999, and in 2002, was appointed Secretary to the Enugu State Government.
Ekweremadu joined national politics in 2003, when he contested and won election to the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Four years later, in 2007, he was elected Deputy Senate President, with Senator David Mark as the Senate President. Both men worked inseparably together, and complemented each other’s efforts in tackling Nigeria’s problems.
For instance, in 2009, when the country was confronted with a constitutional crisis, following the failure of the then ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua to handover to his Deputy, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, before traveling to Saudi Arabia where he later fell sick, Ekweremadu and David Mark came up with the “Doctrine of Necessity” whereby the National Assembly conferred on Jonathan the position of Acting President as if it was the President himself that did it. That novelty has since become part of the nation’s statute.
As Deputy Senate President, it was the lot of Ekweremadu to chair the National Assembly’s committee on constitutional amendment, which for the first time in the history of the country, had succeeded in altering some sections of the constitution on two different occasions, even if some people were to consider such alterations as not fundamental to the country’s problems.
When, in 2015, Ekweremadu won election to return to the Senate for the fourth time, but his political party, the PDP, failed to win at the centre, some people thought that it was going to be the end of the road for the ranking Enugu Senator to retain his position as Deputy Senate President. Some of them even suggested that Ekweremadu should change camp and defect to the APC, for him to retain the position. But he turned down that suggestion.
Rather, to the surprise of many people and the consternation of the opposition, Ekweremadu successfully maneuvered his way back to win the position of the Deputy Senate President for the third time, this time around, pairing with Abubakar Bukola Saraki of the APC, as the Senate President. Again, two of them began to work inseparably together.
Not many people, particularly members of the ruling APC, which claimed that the position belonged to them, believed that Ekweremadu would last even for one week in that position. But there he is, three and half years down the line, the man still stands firm like the Rock of Gibraltar, no shaking, even in the face of several blackmails and mounting onslaughts against him.
Back to his constituency, Enugu State, Ekweremadu is the stabilizing factor, or the bridge between the so-called “Abuja politicians” and the politicians at the home front. The two groups seem to be working harmoniously. In times past, they were always at daggers drawn.
But this time around, we have not heard of any acrimony, no rancour, no quarrel and no war between any of the two groups. No doubt, we should give a lot of credit to the State Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who, due to his peaceful disposition, always ensures that there is peace in Enugu State and that each person gets his due share.
Thus, while during the forthcoming elections, in some other states, even among members of the same political party, some politicians may be using guns, sticks and matchets to sort out their differences, in Enugu State, the people will likely be sitting around the table to decide on who gets what without over turning the table. This is due to the perfect understanding between Senator Ike Ekweremadu and Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.