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[OPINION]: The Persecution of Ike Ekweremadu - Reuben Abati

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While writing the piece above, I kept receiving on my phone what’s app messages attacking Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu. I am sure other Nigerians would have received the same hate-message either on whatsapp or through other media. Ekweremadu is pointedly accused of being the brain behind the Igbo drama over whether or not Peter Obi is the fit and proper person for the position of running mate to Atiku Abubakar, on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). While other Nigerians have settled that matter and concluded that Peter Obi is in order, and that Igbos deserve to be Vice President of Nigeria and even President in due course, the Igbo elite, playing well-known stereotypical politics, are trying to create a little self-serving show of their own. They don’t need it. They should look at the bigger picture, and stop behaving like a child that lost a promised candy. 

 

The persecution of Ekweremadu is unfair and undeserved.  Ekweremadu, yes, has been council chairman, Secretary to the Government of Enugu State, a Senator since 2003 former Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, and two-term Deputy Senate president, and one of the persons on the Atiku shortlist. He deserves to be celebrated and not be used as a scapegoat for the discomfort of other persons who lost out in the race. Ekweremadu himself has said that he is in support of Peter Obi. So, who are the agent-provocateurs out there in the East? Ekweremadu was for a while the last man standing for the PDP and Ndigbo. He is paying a heavy price for this. He has been brutalized. 

 

The ruling party attacked him with the police and the EFCC. He was accused of having properties. They are charging him from one court to another.  His emergence as Deputy Senate President and his loyalty to Senate President Bukola Saraki made them unhappy. When the PDP seemed to have completely lost its bearing, Ike Ekweremadu stood firm.  He deserves recognition for this. The political jobbers who are trying to set him and Peter Obi on a collision course even before the 2019 elections are enemies of Ndigbo. The urgent task before the Igbo elite is to seek those who are trying to divide them, the mercenaries among them, and the need to protect the larger Igbo interest. Both Ike Ekweremadu and Peter Obi deserve the support of the Igbo elite, not a squabble of the villagers.         

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