Nigeria-2023: Ekweremadu’s palaver, misgovernance and way out

Ike Ekweremadu has been a top-ranking politician who has been representing Enugu West Senatorial District in National Assembly since 2003. He was the Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate for three consecutive terms (6th,7th, and 8th assembly), totalling 12 years. On February 23rd, 2019, he defeated his closest rival, Mrs Julliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu of the APC with overwhelming 86,088 votes against 15,187 votes.

He only lost his attempt to be the Deputy Senate President for the 4th term to Senator Ovie Omo-Agege who secured 68 votes to emerge a winner.

Within the confine of Nigerian borders, Ekweremadu is not only a celebrity but a powerful powerbroker who could do and undo to influence the speed and direction of Nigeria’s governance. He is a typical Nigerian political leader. Ironically, Ekweremadu is currently cooling his heels in the prison yard of the United Kingdom awaiting trial. 

He is being accused of organ harvesting of a young Nigerian, David Ukpo under Britain’s Modern Slavery Act. He took his sick daughter needing an organ transplant alongside a supposed willing or unwilling donor to a hospital in the UK, something went wrong, Ekweremadu was arrested and accused of human trafficking and organ harvesting. Since then, he has appeared twice in court without bail. 

However, the Ekweremadu-organ-harvesting palaver is not the import of this piece but the accentuated lessons therein. How many crimes like this one or worst are being committed unnoticed by our supposed political leaders within Nigeria and outside? As far as a Nigerian politician is concerned, there is no limit to what he can do to achieve his selfish desire.

Ekwerenmadu might have been Olu (Yoruba), Auwal (Hausa) or any person from over 250 ethnic groups, he is just a typical Nigerian politician or privileged public office holder who was given the opportunity to make Nigeria great but failed to do so. These politicians hold office for the privileges and resources associated with the office. In their efforts to misuse, misappropriate and disabuse resources entrusted in their hands, they neglected important sectors such as health and education. 

Thus, our elected political leaders run abroad to treat all kinds of ailments from the common cold to cancerous diseases, as they have no confidence in the nation’s health sector, which they contributed to destroying. They could not visit our dilapidated, ramshackle, and ill-equipped hospitals managed by poorly motivated, poorly supervised, overworked, and ineptitude health personnel. Adding salt to injury, there was a massive brain drain of medical doctors last year as an aftermath of the government’s poor handling of their industrial action. If the health sector is being given the attention it deserves, Ekwerenmadu’s incidence would have been completely avoided. What a shame to the “giant” of Africa! 

Similar treatment to the health sector is being meted out to the educational sector. Public primary and secondary schools have almost collapsed while private schools have been turned into money-making ventures beyond the affordability of the children of an ordinary man. The university system designed to provide manpower development capable of solving developmental challenges is facing serious mishaps. Public universities with the 95% population of the university students in Nigeria were closed for 9 months in 2020 and 5 months in 2022 with more days still being counted. The universities were closed due to the ASUU strike, which was caused by the government’s failure to provide minimum funding for the system to operate properly.

Meanwhile, the children of these political leaders are either attending private universities in Nigeria or are sponsored to attend universities abroad. Our leaders should realise that there are several consequences to their brazen negligence to these important sectors. As Nigerians, our fate is tied to the country, and we cannot rise above it. That is why their misgovernance is affecting all of us and may consume us if care is not taken. We need to finally stop this misgovernance to survive as a nation.

Come February 2023, we should solidly unite to change the inept politicians who only believe in using us to acquire political offices for aggrandizement. The change may not come quickly but the process must start now.  As discussed in this column previously, in the next foreseeable future, PDP and APC may continue to produce presidents for Nigeria.

This is because each of the two parties has a structure with a national spread. However, the parties are not built on a solid foundation but a foundation of money politics; the survival of the fittest, and the “mightiest takes all” ideology. While the operators of these parties are working tirelessly, hook or crook to maintain their positions but they cannot stand the test of time. 

They would have to go either due to death or old age. Of course, they are frantically making their children inherit their positions as we are seeing now but what do these spoiled children know? They know next to nothing except noodles (Indomie) and eggs, and even some of their academic certificates might have been paid for, clandestinely. 

These children were only made to pass through the sunny side of life, nothing built their capacity or prepared them to withstand Nigeria and angry Nigerians. Yes, Nigerians are angry as they are watching how the children of these political leaders are marrying each other to breed high-class kleptocracy and continue from where their parents/grandparents stopped. They would soon be swept into the dustbin of history by the wind of real change, not the counterfeit change we have been seeing all along.  

It is time for the progressives across the nation to actionably come together and democratically wrestle power from the crop of inept politicians who have woefully failed and betrayed our trusts. Staying aloof is a disastrous option as the nation cannot survive a continuous battering for the next few years. 

Where are the true disciples of lates Sir Ahmadu Bello, Aminu Kano, Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Benjamin Azikiwe, Joseph Tarka and host of other nationalists? They must unite to save the country.

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