The chairman of Enugu State indigenes in Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Lagos State chapter, Prince Marcus Agubataofia, has described the declaration by the Deputy Senate President, Chief Ike Ekweremadu, not seek re-election in 2023 as a welcome development.
Prince Agubataofia who in the last general election led a one-man -campaign with the theme: “Enough is Enough for Ekweremadu in the Senate,” said that for a very long time, Chief Ekweremadu has dominated the politics of Enugu West Senatorial District, the way Robert Mugabe did in Zimbabwe.
He also spoke on other issues in this interview. Excerpts:
Chief Ekweremadu has declared that he would not seek re-election in 2023, how do you see his declaration?
Well, as far as I am concerned, it is a welcome development. Enugu West Senatorial District needs a breathe of fresh air. We are in a democracy and not monarchy, which is a system whereby an individual continues to dominate over the people till death. Even now kings are resigning from their thrones. You see what happened in Japan recently where their king resigned from the throne. So, what makes democracy the best system of government in the world is because it is a participatory system of government. It does not allow for one man domination of the political space like Chief Ike Ekweremadu has done in the last 20 years. Most of the children who were born in Enugu West Senatorial zone in 1999 are now in the university. This simply means from cradle to adulthood, the only senator in their intellect is Chief Ekweremadu. Can you imagine what this might have done to their psyche. This is exactly what happened in Zimbabwe with Robert Mugabe.
Would you consider his decision not to seek re-election in 2023 as a victory for your campaign?
It is not a victory for me as an individual, but rather a victory for the people of Enugu West Senatorial zone. It is a victory for equity and justice. It is a victory for democracy. Lastly, it is a victory for humanity. It was never a personal fight .I saw an abnormality in Enugu West Senatorial zone and discovered that those who were supposed to speak out were not doing that. Enugu West Senatorial zone is made up of many local government areas and for four consecutive times ,the person that is representing the zone is coming from one particular local government area and nobody wants to speak out against such injustice. It is not even that there are no other qualified individuals in the other local government areas .That is why I decided that I would not be part of such conspiracy of silence. Our children are growing. What are we teaching them? What legacy are we leaving for them? Legacy of compromise, complicit and silence in the face of injustice. I, as a person cannot be part of such crowd. For example, Udi, which is one of the biggest local government areas ,not only in Enugu West Senatorial zone, but also in Enugu State as a whole has never produced a senator since Nigeria became independence in 1960. What can you make of that? It is not as if they don’t have learned or knowledgeable people.
What gave you the courage to speak out?
Well, that is the way I was wired .I don’t like ostrichic or pretensions living .I am a strong believer in the golden rule which is do unto others as you would want others to do unto you .You have seen how people from the south , especially socio -cultural organizations like Afenifere and Ohanaeze have been shouting because some northern leaders have said that the North would retain power in 2023.They said that rotation of power is the beauty of democracy because it gives the component parts sense of belonging .I concur with this view of the socio-cultural groups.But why don’t we start it from our own locality? Why don’t we practice what we preach? Mind you the national headquarters of Ohanaeze Ndigbo is in Enugu and it is in the same Enugu that an individual has dominated the Senate seat for almost 20 years and nobody raised an eyebrow. That is the problem with man, always looking outwards and never inwards. I have nothing personal against Chief Ike Ekweremadu. I have respect for him. He is an illustrious son of Enugu State in particular and Igbo land in general. The only thing is I believe that we should try to be giving the younger generations opportunities to grow, rather than shutting them out.
But it is said that law making is like wine, the older the better?
But nobody was born a law maker. They all learn to be law makers. Monopoly hardly brings out the best in human beings .Most of the time, what people gets from monopoly is complacency. If there is no competition, people relax.This is human nature. We all are celebrating Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi today because there is rotation of power among the three zones in Enugu State. If not, a performer like him would not have been discovered. So, we need other people in Enugu West as senators so that we can compare their performance with that of Chief Ekweremadu. That is the way to develop. If another senator comes on board ,he would have a record on ground that he would want to surpass and that would be to the good of the entire zone.