Organisation of Nigeria. In this interview, Chief Elvis Obiekwe, National President of the group faulted Kwankwanso’s claim that because Ekweremadu did not fight with them to enthrone the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC), he should not reap from where he did not sow.
DYON called on APC to caution the former governor as the selection of the leadership of the National Assembly is a constitutional matter and not party affair.
Obiekwe noted that the choice of Ekweremadu was as a result of his track record and because he helped the former Senate President, David Mark to stabilize our democracy. He said DYON will work against APC if Ekweremadu loses his position.
Excerpts: DYON did not play active role during the just concluded general elections as it did in 2011, what happened? The
former President, Goodluck Jonathan Campaign team sidelined groups who genuinely wanted to work for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to retain power. DYON in one of its populations advised PDP to appoint the immediate past Minister for Education and former governor of Kano State, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau if PDP must retain power. But the leadership turned
Jonathan campaign project into family business, hence majority of our members campaigned and voted in protest. In 2011, we fronted Shekarau for president, but when Jonathan emerged candidate of PDP, we adopted and campaigned for him. The greatest blame goes to the Director of Media of the Jonathan campaign team, Mr. Femi Fani Kayode for instead of being an image maker turned into trouble maker by his utterances. So, we were ignored and we folded our arms and watched PDP disgraced out of Aso Rock. And we will work against the ruling party should Ekweremadu lose his position. So, APC should be careful so that what happened to PDP doesn’t happen to them.How
do you react to the statement made by the former Kano State governor, Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwanso that Ekweremadu should resign?
I don’t know why Kwankwanso is after the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu. I love the statement of President Muhammadu Buhari that “I’m for everybody and for nobody”. What Nigerians need from the present administration is change and not which party controls the National Assembly, but getting credible people on board that give Nigerians the desired change they craved for.
This government promised to effect a change that can improve the living standard of Nigerians; that is what we hope for and we want that change to be visible. President Buhari has indeed, shown that he is out for a permanent change. The only meaningful change DYON is asking for is job creation that can take youths away from the streets. Come to think of it, what has
Ekweremadu done wrong that would warrant Kwankwanso to call for his resignation? His emergence as the Deputy Senate President of the 8th Assembly did not come as a surprise because members of the Upper legislative chamber needed a ranking Senator that can help the Senate leadership deliver the dividend of democracy to Nigerians through effective legislation as the Deputy Senate President. Therefore, the election of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Ekweremadu is in line with the
constitution and not a party matter. On assumption of office, President Buhari made it clear that he was not going to interfere with election of the leadership of the National Assembly and that he was prepared to work with leaders and principal officers of the Assembly. Thank God Buhari has maintained this stand. So, I don’t know why some are kicking against Ekweremadu as Deputy Senate President. Moreover, the argument by Kwankwanso that Ekweremadu is reaping from where he did not sow gathers no water because what is at stake is how to fix Nigeria and we need capable people to do that.
The questions those kicking against the position Ekweremadu is occupying must answer are, did Ekweremadu perform well during the last assembly as Deputy Senate President? Is he the choice of his colleagues in the Upper legislative chamber? The answers are simply, yes.
Ekweremadu is tested and trusted to take Nigeria to the next level and therefore should be left alone to serve Nigerians. Ekweremadu’s past record speaks for him and the Senators are aware, hence, they are comfortable with the Deputy
Senate President. Kwankwanso is of the view that the ruling party is supposed to form the leadership of the National Assembly and appoint principal officers, what is your take?Nigeria is practicing Presidential and not parliamentary system of government where the party is supreme. But in the Presidential system, the President is the leader of the party and the constitution is supreme. So, it is wrong to say the ruling party supposed to produce the leadership of the Assembly. According to the
constitution, members of the National Assembly are empowered to elect their leaders and also select principal officers. Buhari understands this fact and decided from the beginning to respect and obey the constitution when he directed the leaders of his party to toe the part of the law and accept the leadership of the National Assembly. So, Kwankwanso should follow the
Ekweremadu’s position seems to accommodate the interest of Ndigbo in the present administration even though the South-East
did not vote for APC, what is your reaction?That we did not vote for APC during the last presidential election shows that Igbo can now speak with one voice. For electing Ekweremadu as the Deputy Senate President, Buhari has shown that he is indeed, not for anybody but for everybody. The Senators realized this fact; that is why they retained Ekweremadu. If he did not do well during the last Assembly, his colleagues wouldn’t have given him the opportunity to continue as the Deputy Senate President.The
fear of some members of the ruling party is that in case of any eventuality, Ekweremadu may become the Senate President, isn’t that enough reason to kick against Ekweremadu? We don’t pray or wish anybody dead.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki is aware of all this before he decided to work with Ekweremadu. Saraki is a man of justice. Remember, he confronted his late father, Chief Olusola Saraki when he opposed his father’s decision to handover the governorship of Kwara State to his sister, Sen. Gbemisola, but Bukola resisted it and sponsored the present governor of the state to emerge. Again, he fought in the Senate for the removal of fuel subsidy.
Saraki also opposed Muslim/Muslim candidacy when some were pushing for Buhari/Tinubu ticket during the APC Presidential primary. That was when he incurred the rot of Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu. So, the Senate President wants
Igbo to be accommodated in the APC government. Saraki is a detribalized Nigerian and a team player. Therefore, I urge Kwankwanso to emulate the Senate President and leave Ekweremadu alone.
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