“A good government implies two things; first, fidelity to the objects of the government; secondly, a knowledge of the means, by which those objects can be best attained.” –Joseph Story
“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.” –Martin Luther King, Jr. The above quotes not only captured how one can evaluate his activities, but also, they illustrated government officials’ moral obligation to truly serve their people.
Government indeed is designed to work for the people and those in government are beholden to the masses. Those in elective and appointed positions are entrusted with public confidence and they have taken a sacred oath to carry out the activities of the government for the benefit of the country, especially the masses whose only link to the center is through their representatives. As a result, individuals in government should endeavor to demonstrate the commitment, as well as widen and stretch the arch of dividends of democracy so that those they represent would nod in agreement with their diligent activities to uplift humanity.
One such person who has epitomized government at its best is Ike Ekweremadu. The Distinguished Senator, Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu is working for the masses as his record in office indicates. Having thoroughly researched his performance prior to ascending to the upper chamber, and examined his activities as a senator, in March 25, 2005, I penned a piece with a caption, “A Vote for Ekweremadu,” where I enunciated why he should be considered for the Senate President at a time when the position was zoned to the southeast geopolitical zone. Also, at that time there was an incessant turnover of Igbo leaders holding the position and a steady and transformational leader was needed to bring permanence and credibility to the office. Thus, considering Ike Ekweremadu’s antecedents and impeccable dossier, opted for him for the office.
I tipped him as an ideal man for the plum office, Senate President because I strongly thought he was not only going to perform without reproach, but he would also stem the bleeding that seemed to portray the zone as incapable of holding a higher office. In the same vein, I felt that having served on the Aninri Local Government Council in1997-1998 and was elected the executive chairman where he received the Best Local Government Chairman of The Year, as well as having served as Chief of Staff under Governor Chimaroke Nnamani and Secretary to State Government (SSG), he had adequate grooming for the job. In fact, in those positions, he demonstrated his tremendous skills in managing mélange of issues and dealing with idiosyncrasies arising from large bureaucracies as he exhibited gamut of administrative and technical skills.
Appreciatively, Sen. Ekweremadu, elected and inaugurated on June 2, 2003 as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria representing Enugu West Senatorial District, has an impressive dossier in good governance and strong leadership. Though he conceded the Senate President to Sen. Ken Nnamani with grace and humility, he earned the admiration of many Nigerians. He never worked to undermine Sen. Nnamani rather he exhibited the virtues that invoked the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. when he said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” Indeed, Ekweremadu never lost hope in the system and in himself; he worked to make it better.
Well, since becoming a senator in 2003, I’ve followed the Deputy Senate President, Distinguished Senator Ike Ekweremadu and he has carried his responsibilities with honor and grace. Ekweremadu’s activities in the upper chamber is reminiscent of how senators in the United States do their job as well as attend to the needs of their constituency as part of their responsibility. In the deliberative body, Ekweremadu has demonstrated legislative prowess without partisan political antics. He has achieved legislative successes with principled, constructive, and pragmatic approach knowing that one has to possess the human and technical skills required to be able to navigate the uncharted Nigeria’s political terrain where tribal politics impede progress and manage deluge of eccentricities inherent in the senate.
Dr. Ekweremadu continues to exhibit high level of leadership that is the envy of many ever since I came into contact with him. On Thursday, March 31, 2005, I wrote a piece where I illustrated the jinx of corruption and how many public officials, with a rare exception, live in opulence while the masses seethe in penury. I also commended those elected officials whose activities inspire us.
I wrote this: “As some people are engrossing personal wealth through corruption, the masses continue to suffer in poverty—eking out a living with economic growth stalled, infrastructures dilapidated, and cultural values degenerated. In the midst of depraved conditions, there are honest public servants who should be commended. Uplift them whenever and wherever you encounter them. Senator Ekweremadu is regular to senate sessions and pays attention to business of the upper chamber.” In that piece I further said, “There are other people in the legislative body that have an impeccable character. Ike Ekweremadu has exemplified himself in office.
Ekweremadu, while focusing mostly on national issues, has not lost sight on his constituency. His “Accomplishments & Constituency Projects” booklet is replete with information on his accomplishments. Since becoming a senator, particularly becoming the Deputy Senate President over 7 years ago, he has consistently worked to attract more federal presence to the Southeast. Ensuring that the dividends of democracy reach everyone, Ekweremadu has facilitated the appointment of several people. Also, he has helped people secure funding for studies abroad on merit. Here’s a letter to the Senator from a member of his constituency (name removed to protect the identity of the author of the letter): “October 12, 2013
Dear Distinguished Senator Ekweremadu, I would like to express my immense gratitude once again for your assistance in helping me with going to the United States for further studies. Without your assistance, I would not have been able to secure Foreign Postgraduate Scholarship. When I first contacted your office, you didn’t know who I was, but it took it upon yourself to ensure that I obtain the scholarship based on merit. Your action renewed my trust in government officials, which has in turn elevated my confidence in our government. I wish everyone in elective office will exhibit the same level of compassion to the masses you have demonstrated eloquently.
I am currently in the terminal phase of my 1st year in the Masters of Epidemiology program at the Texas A&M University. This opportunity to equip myself with important skills set would help save lives and this would not have been possible at all without your active help. I can’t thank you enough for this act of kindness and most considerate gesture. Reciprocating your kindness is not possible yet, but I like to assure you that you will always find me at your service. Now that I’m in the United States, I appreciate your effort more. I’m reminded of you daily when I watch the United States Senators in action, especially how they respond to their constituency requests. In fact, your actions are exemplary and worthy of emulation.
I will be sure to keep you informed of my progress. I’ll continue to pray for God’s guidance and providence as you discharge the honorable duty of taking Nigeria to the next level. Please do accept the assurances of my highest regards and esteem. With best wishes, Dr. XXXXXXXXXXX, MB.BS (Nigeria), Masters of Epidemiology 2014, Texas A&M University”
Ike Ekweremadu is unassuming as he diligently carries out his national and constituency responsibilities without reproach. The above letter is testament to his character.