There have been war of words between supporters of the deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, and the director general of Voice of Nigeria, Osita Okechukwu, over the Enugu West Senatorial seat.
Both parties, the APC Youth Circle (APCYC) Enugu West Senatorial District and the Enugu West Peoples Assembly have not only shown solidarity with the politicians but also condemned the workings of the opposing political parties.
Although it is not clear if he would seek re-election into the senate, Mr Ekweremadu, a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), is currently spending his fourth term in the upper legislative chamber of the National Assembly, having been elected in 2003.
Mr Okechukwu has however, declared his intention to contest election for the senate in 2019 under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to represent the Enugu West Senatorial District – the district currently represented by Mr Ekweremadu.
He had asked his party members to supports his ambition to “retire Mr Ekweremadu from politics”.
Mr Okechukwu, becomes the second APC member from the South-east serving in president Muhammadu Buhari’s government to indicate his intention to seek election into the Senate in 2019.
Pledging their support, the APCYC, wished Mr Ekweremadu a successful retirement from the senate.
In a statement by the group’s general coordinator, Geofrey Eze, the group assured that Mr Okechukwu would give selfless service to the people of Enugu West and unite the zone, which they claimed has been divided by Ekweremadu’s divide and rule tactics.
Allegations and counter allegations
Mr Eze said unlike Mr Ekweremadu who was buying Okada motorcycles for youths, Mr Okechukwu would revamp the abundant coal deposits in Enugu State to ensure the creation of employment for thousands of youths in Enugu West.
He listed some appointments that Mr Okechukwu influenced so far in the district to include, Awgu – Titus Okolo, Commissioner ICPC, Oji River – Polycap Udah – member Board Ministry of Federal Capital Territory, Udenu, Major General Chris Eze – Ambasador to India, Igboeze North, Barister Bath Ugwoke – Member Board of Voice of Nigeria, Isiuzo-Hon. Ejike Eze, Member National Population Commission and Nkanu West – Nonye Okoro, Board Member, and Federal Medical Centre.
“Distinguished Senator Ekweremadu never mentioned the huge coal deposit in the district in his 16 years sojourn. Okechukwu has been on this mission and it is elementary knowledge that he will facilitate the revamping of the coal deposits in Inyi, Amansiodo, Onyeama and Okpara mines, better as a senator.
“Mr Okechukwu as a Buharists no doubt as a senator will easily hook up with President Buhari’s RRAP Projects – Roads, Rails and Agriculture – to facilitate the Eastern Corridor Railways, which will cover the Port Harcourt, Umuahia, Owerri, Abakaliki, Awka, Makurdi, Lafia, Akwanga, Jos, Damaturu, and Maiduguri,” he said.
The Enugu West Peoples Assembly on the other hand, advised the Enugu State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to stop fantasizing over the Enugu West Senatorial seat currently occupied by Mr Ekweremadu, as there is no vacancy yet.
The national president of the Enugu West Peoples Assembly, Paul Anikwe, in a statement, told the opposition that they were taking their lucks too far.
While stating that the people of Enugu West have since endorsed Mr Ekweremadu and governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for additional terms, Mr Anikwe said they are more concerned with getting Senator Ekweremadu to take another shot at the senate, than joining issues with people of no political consequence in Enugu politics.
He accused the APC of being disjointed and speaking from both sides of the mouth.
“While their National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, was at the National Assembly a few days ago promising a return ticket to APC National Assembly members, using US Senator, John McCain, as an example of long-serving lawmakers, these ones in Enugu are daydreaming about retiring the best performing Senator and the longest serving presiding officer in Nigeria’s history with a lot of experience, clout, infrastructural and human development to show for his quality representation.
“We know that APC’s violent congresses in Enugu produced at least two factions. While a faction led by Ben Nwoye is loyal to the likes of Senator Ken Nnamani as well as Sullivan Chime and Osita Okechukwu, the other Deacon Ogbodo is loyal to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geofrey Onyeama, the chief promoter of Mrs. Ibekaku-Nwagwu.
“So, let him and APC first put their chaotic house in order before daydreaming over Ekweremadu’s seat. On Ekweremadu Enugu West stands and we have no reason to change our minds,” he said.
Mr Anikwe, however, said he did not begrudge the Enugu APC factional candidates and officials for mentioning Mr Ekweremadu’s name “as that was the only way to make their ambitions newsworthy.”