From Magnus Eze, Enugu
Former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu has at last withdrawn from the 2023 gubernatorial elections of Enugu State.
Ekweremadu in a statement on Thursday titled, “Time to unite,” congratulated the Enugu State governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Mba.
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He also thanked his supporters for their steadfastness, urging them to bear with current decision whether it went down with them or not.
He further urged them remain with the party.
Ekweremadu noted that his team was determined to transform Enugu State but “unfortunately, as we were doing these, some of our compatriots were busy conspiring and planting landmines to frustrate our rescue and transformation mission. We have witnessed betrayals and high level of ingratitude on this journey. Yet we remained focused.”
He continued: “I think we have fought a good fight to redefine governance in our dear state. It is time to review this journey and take a well-considered decision for the unity of our state. We have succeeded in opening the political space for greater participation. We have raised the consciousness of our people and opened their eyes to positive possibilities. Although these possibilities are today dimmed by fraudulent political practices, the light will never go out and we hope to rekindle the light in mentoring our youth in good governance, responsible political participation, and finest practice of democracy.
“My dear friends, associates, and well-wishers, I know you have been waiting to hear from me. You have expressed to me individually and collectively your readiness to take a long journey with me to actualise our vision by whatever platform. I have deeply reflected on it all with a good sense of history, including my political history, and the need for the unity and peace of our state. No sacrifice will be too much. Therefore, I have come to a decision. Please, bear with me if my decision does not meet your expectations. I call for your understanding.
“May I respectfully express my deep gratitude to our formidable campaign team, the Ikeoha Campaign Organisation; our irrepressible media team; our diehard supporters; those who have encouraged us financially and logistically; our security team; the youth of Enugu State; my ever supportive family; the Church and religious groups; the PDP executives at various levels in Enugu State, especially our wonderful statutory delegates, who unfortunately could not vote eventually; our traditional rulers; women organisations and other corporate organisations; Ndi Enugu in diaspora; and my numerous friends, admirers, and well-wishers within and outside Nigeria; and others too numerous to mention, for standing by us all this time.
“As long as I live, I promise to stand by you collectively and individually in appreciation. I am pained by the experience of our people, who were injured in the series of senseless attacks on our disciples in the course of this journey as well as many being persecuted, some of whom are still facing sham trials and some in detention for offences they did not commit. Their only offence was their support for Ike Ekweremadu.
“Therefore: After consulting widely with the elders of our party as well as well meaning friends and respected elders across the country and beyond;
“After a long and painstaking introspection on our contributions to the development of the PDP;
“After considering the current security situation in the South East region and the need not to put anybody in harms way by a foreseeable combustive political environment, as my ambition is not worth the life of any Enugu son or daughter;
“After considering that the things that hold us together as Ndi Enugu will ultimately outlive the treacheries of the moment;
“After receiving assurances from the gubernatorial candidate of our party, Barr. Peter Mba, that he would integrate our “Pathway to a New Enugu State” in his programme and his assurances of the participation of everybody in his campaign team and government;
“I, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, hereby formally withdraw from the 2023 gubernatorial contest in Enugu State. I congratulate Barr. Peter Mba and wish him success.”
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