Posted by News Express | 3 September 2018 | 1,459 times
Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, has explained why he supported the then opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) with the sum of N5 million at its formative stage 2014.
This, he explained, was to help expand the political space.
“I will tell you something that is going to shock you. In 2014 when APC started, they wanted to register members in Enugu State. Senator Chris Ngige (now Minister of Labour) called me and said they were having problem registering members in Enugu State, and asked if I help them. I was the Deputy President of the Senate in the PDP, but I gave them N5 million. Ngige is still my witness,” Ekweremadu disclosed when the people of Enugu West stormed his residence on Sunday to present him with the PDP nomination form, which they purchased for him, insisting that he must return to the Senate in 2019.
A statement by Uche Anichukwu, Special Adviser (Media) to the Deputy Senate President, disclosed that the lawmaker warned against the muzzling of the opposition by the ruling party, insisting that multiparty and opposition remained the beauty of democracy.
According to him, APC would not have emerged victorious in the 2015 election had the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former President Goodluck Jonathan been repressive.
APC, which was formed as a merger in 2014, ousted the then governing PDP in the 2015 General Election.
Ekweremadu who is one of the longest-serving lawmakers, having been in the upper legislative chamber since 2003, is also Nigeria’s longest serving Deputy Senate President since 2007.
The Senator who accepted to run for the Enugu West Senatorial District in the 2019 general elections, said: “The beauty of democracy is the enlargement of the political space in which everybody is free to participate, bring and exchange ideas, and disagree in order to agree. But we are not seeing that today.
“During that 2015 election, one lady came to me and said she wanted to run against me on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and she needed my support. I said okay, I will start by paying for your nomination form because I believe every party must be given a chance. She lost the election, but I later helped to secure a political position for her.
“Just yesterday, I also got a call from a man who introduced himself as an engineer from Achi, but lives in Jigawa. He later came with his family to tell me that he wanted to run for the Senate in Enugu West. I congratulated him and offered to help purchase his nomination form. But he told me he had already bought his form. He was surprised when I offered to buy form for him. As far as I am concerned, all power belongs to God.
“We should not try to reduce the political space. We must allow people to participate. You can disagree with people, but you must not try to harass them with security agencies and the rest. That is bringing us a lot of embarrassment in the international community”.
•Sourced from a BusinessDay report
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