Ekweremadu recently got the PDP ticket to represent Enugu West Senatorial district for the fifth time.
However, it appears that the 56-year-old lawyer and politician is dissatisfied with the treatment meted out to him by the PDP especially after the Port Harcourt primary election which produced Atiku Abubakar as the presidential candidate.
Sources say there is a general feeling that Ekweremadu has been sidelined by the PDP after Atiku’s emergence.
While condemning Ekweremadu’s alleged maltreatment, a Senator who craved anonymity said Ekweremadu would have made a better vice presidential candidate for the PDP.
“There is a clear grand conspiracy against Senator Ekweremadu and it is just unfair,” a source told Vanguard. “The issue is not even the mishandling of the processes leading to the emergence of former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, as the running mate to PDP’s presidential candidate, in which the South East leaders were totally sidelined. The issue is a deliberate attempt to sideline the Senator in the emerging scheme of things within the party.
“I am not talking about him not being nominated as vice presidential candidate. In any case, he has shown more interest in restructuring and other key South East interests than in vice presidential ticket. In the discussions leading up to our consideration of the aspirants and eventual decision to give a block vote to Atiku, he always said that the South East should go for the substance than for sheer title.
“To show that the sidelining of Ekweremadu was deliberate, none of the key actors have even reached out to him. The announcement was made on Friday, but Obi only started moving round on Sunday, in the evening. And I did not see him move with the National Chairman or National Secretary. It would have been ideal for Obi, Prince Uche Secondus and some other senior party leaders to have flown into Enugu that Saturday to meet with South East leaders.
“Assuming Atiku heard that there was a subterranean effort to substitute him, wouldn’t he have since rushed home or even canceled his trip out of Nigeria that Saturday to address the matter? And was it too much for him or Uche Secondus to pick a phone to call Ekweremadu, especially given the role he has played in calming the angry South East party leaders?”
A PDP leader in the South also said that Ekweremadu was treated unjustly despite “taking bullets” for the party.
“No, look at the way they treated Ekweremadu. When all of them left, Ekweremadu remained to fight for the survival of this party. How many of them would have resisted the temptation not to defect in the face of the intimidation, harassment, prosecution and persecution meted out on him? As a person, he had nothing to lose if he had defected then. In fact, he had everything to gain. He probably would have been the senate president because he was offered the slot.
“Then, when you people now return, you feel that people, who have held this party to survive, do not matter again simply because you got a presidential ticket. Also, even Saraki knows that if DSP had not been loyal, they would have gotten at him (Saraki) long ago. All the trials Ekweremadu was put through were all because of Saraki. But when it was the turn of Saraki to be there for him, he failed him. And as we speak, how many days is this after the primary? Atiku is yet to call DSP.
“You don’t treat a man who has been taking bullets on you people’s behalf like that. Well, I wish them and PDP well, but they should know that action begets reaction and they will pay the price for this mistreatment of people, who have laboured for the party at the toughest time. And if Ekweremadu leaves, we will hold these people responsible,” he declared.
A member of the Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation (APCO) told Pulse that Ekweremadu was not sidelined by Atiku.
“How can Ekweremadu complain about being sidelined? There is no how His Excellency [Atiku] will sideline Ekweremadu. He is a ranking member of the party. He is a valuable member of the party and I am sure he is not leaving. It is all politics and everyone will be happy at the end of the day,” the source said.
Like Akpabio, like Ekweremadu?
A PDP chieftain who spoke to Pulse on the condition of anonymity said the decision to leave the APC may not be far from the lawmaker’s court cases.
“I’m not saying that DSP [Ekweremadu] cannot leave on the basis of maltreatment,” the source said. “You should also remember that the EFCC is also on his neck over alleged corruption. This APC administration has shown that the only way to evade prosecution is to join the party. You see what is happening with Akpabio, Omisore and Obanikoro.
“It is not our wish that he leaves especially with our plan to rid this country of the bad luck that the APC has brought upon us. Ekweremadu is a grassroot politician and everybody knows this. We’ll work to prevent his defection from our great party,” the PDP chieftain assured.
Calls put through to Uche Anichukwu, spokesman to Ekweremadu for a reaction, went unanswered.
“I will revert to you on the matter you raised,” he replied later to a message sent to him on Monday, October 22, 2018.