Ekweremadu: This too shall pass, by Ismail Omipidan 

Yesterday was my daughter’s birthday. He was one of the earliest callers when my wife was delivered of a baby girl, in 2012.  He jokingly told me we denied him of having a birthday mate in my family. So, I know that today is his birthday. But unlike the previous years, he is not available today. 

He had fought so many battles in life which he overcame. I am, therefore, optimistic that this too shall pass.

I believe he would overcome the trial because the general belief among most Africans that “a man’s life is preordained and ruled by God,” has continued to play out in the political trajectory of the former Deputy President of the Senate, Dr. Ike Ekweremadu.

From 1997 when he was elected pioneer chairman of Aninri Council to 2015, when against all odds he emerged as the deputy president of the senate for a record third consecutive time, at a time when many thought it was all over for him, Ekweremadu has fought and survived several political landmines placed on his path.

For instance, after serving in the transition committee that ushered in the then governor, Chimaroke Nnamani in 1999, on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), some political actors plotted against him to ensure he never got any appointment. But providence played a fast one as the governor appointed him as Chief of Staff, Government House and later as Secretary to the State Government (SSG).

The year 2002 was the year of the epic political battle between the Ebeano faction of the Enugu State PDP led by Nnamani on one hand, while former governor of old Anambra State, Senator Jim Nwobodo led the other faction which was also a convergence of all the opposition elements in the state. Had the Ebeano faction lost, Ekweremadu’s political journey could have been brought to a halt. But, behold, they had the upper hand and in 2003, he was elected a Senator to represent Enugu-West senatorial district.

 In 2006, efforts were made to stop him from returning to the senate in 2007 at the primaries, using a female university lecturer, aided by the former Political Adviser to Nnamani, Chief Sam Ejiofor.  He not only returned to the senate, he was elected for the first time as the deputy president of the senate.

 But towards the build-up to the 2011 elections, he was offered the ticket on a platter by the then Nwodo-led PDP leadership, following the political war between Nwodo and the then governor, Sullivan Chime. Ekweremadu turned it down and instead supported Chime.

In the end, they succeeded and Chime got a second term. Ekweremadu too returned to the senate and was elected the deputy president of the senate again.

However, rather than pay Ike Ekweremadu back by supporting his ambition to return to the Senate in 2015, Chime was bent on scuttling it in 2014, until the “unseen hand of God” settled the matter, in favour of Ekweremadu. He not only returned to the senate in 2015, he again emerged the deputy president in an All Progressives Congress (APC) dominated senate, a feat unprecedented in the country’s political history.

Ikeoha, as you celebrate your birthday today, I pray Almighty God continues to watch over you and ease your affairs for you.  Rest assured, this too shall pass!

-Omipidan is a Senior journalist and former Media Adviser to Senator Ekweremadu

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