By Ifeanyi Ottah
We have read with concern the statement credited to the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu published in This Day Newspaper that the decision of the people of South-East geo-political zone of Nigeria to vote for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last general election was a good decision and have no regret about it. He went further to say that given another opportunity, the people will vote in the same manner. He said: “we have no regret, Igbo’s have no regret for the way they voted; if they have the opportunity tomorrow they will do it again. We are convinced we voted rightly, and because we believe we are part and parcel of this country, we believe what we got is within our right.
“We expect that APC should be able to accommodate the people of South-south as they form their government, because don’t forget that Buhari got about 15 million votes. We have more than 150 million Nigerians, so he is not the President of 15 million people, the rest of the people must be accommodated.
“In fact that was why when we saw that it appears that South-East and South-South were being marginalized in the scheme of things; we decide to take a short so that our people will be part and parcel of government so that every part of Nigeria will have a sense of belonging…”
While we congratulate Ekweremadu for his emergence as Deputy Senate President, we also make bold to state that given his political antecedent, Ekweremadu is not competent as far as this government is concerned to speak for the good people of South-East geo-political zone.
As Deputy Senate President for over eight years running, when his party PDP held sway, there is no record (we stand to be corrected) of where the plight of the zone has formerly been presented to the former presidents or even presented on the floor of the senate for urgent attention.
If truly Ekweremadu is in the senate for the Igbo as he boasted, we challenge him to tell the south-east the developmental project he attracted to the region, since he assumed office as the deputy senate president.
Interestingly, his party had ruled Nigeria at the centre for 16 years, and within these years, Ekweremadu had served as deputy senate president (position zoned to the south-east) for 8 years and the federal roads in the zone especially his immediate constituency, Enugu/Onitsha express roads has remained a death trap while the teeming youth unemployment keep growing rapidly every day and the distinguished senator’s quota is allegedly sold to his cronies and those who can afford it.
As a self-serving politician, the Igbo now wondered how the zone would begin to expect the promised dividends of democracy from him in a government led by All Progressives’ Congress (APC).
We wish to state categorically that the South-East did not only vote for President Muhammadu Buhari but also contributed to the success of his election as against the impression created by Ekweremadu. To prove this point, the South-east had a case of stolen mandate, where the PDP governors from the zone allegedly colluded with the officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to manipulate the whole process, by declaring unrealistic figures.
While we call on President Buhari to ignore the unguarded statement made by the senator, as he was speaking for himself and not for the zone, we therefore urge Ekweremadu to concentrate in his constituency and refrain from any statement that might deny the South-East the juicy appointments and other dividends of democracy the zone is expecting from Buhari’s government.
We are not oblivious of the fact that Ekweremadu in his attitude of “use and dump” politics has started making frantic effort to defect to the ruling APC, so as to continue to be relevant in politics.