• Urges FG to withdraw charges against Onnoghen
Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has reacted to the rumour that he has abandoned the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), saying he would not abandon the party as he and others are currently working on how to oust the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the forthcoming elections.
Ekweremadu has also urged the federal government to withdraw the non-declaration of assets charges levelled against the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) and apologise to the country’s judiciary over the development.
The senator’s commitment to PDP has been in doubt since the presidential candidate of his party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, appointed a former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, as running mate.
But Ekweremadu laid the matter to rest yesterday in series of posts on his social media handles, @iamekweremadu.
“My attention has been drawn to the orchestrated attempts by some characters to create the impression of a divided house in Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the coming presidential election. Such characters dish out fake and divisive stories without source on a daily basis and attribute same to me.
“While I refuse to be distracted by such cheap blackmail, smear campaign, and extreme propaganda, it is important to reassure our supporters that the PDP is united and focused on wrestling power from the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“After the PDP lost the presidency and majority status at the National Assembly in 2015, I made it clear that I would stand by the party, no matter what. It took other party stakeholders and I a lot of efforts, sacrifices, soul-searching, and painstaking negotiations to hold the party together and rebuild it.
“If I did not abandon the PDP at its darkest hour, it does not make the slightest sense to say that
I abandoned it now that its sun is rising again,” he posted on his Facebook page.
The lawmaker added that he is working with Obi and others to ensure the victory of PDP in the elections.
He urged his supporters to discard the rumour of his disloyalty.
The post reads further: “Meanwhile, I have held separate meetings with our vice presidential candidate, Peter Obi and the Chairman, South-east Governors Forum, Dave Umahi, to work out strategies for the success of our party and candidates in the coming elections.
“We are also setting up a meeting of South-east PDP stakeholders by weekend to continue to strategise on the coming elections. I have no doubt that the South-east leaders will deliver the region overwhelmingly to the PDP and I expect that other leaders will also do the same in their respective geopolitical zones.
“Therefore, I urge our supporters not to be distracted by such propaganda as we approach the critical stages in the coming elections. We should rather focus on delivering the votes to ensure the success of our party.”
Ekweremadu is seeking re-election to the Senate in his Enugu West constituency in the National Assembly election slated to hold on March 2.
The deputy Senate president has also described the charges against the CJN as extremely dangerous for Nigeria’s democracy, and emphasised the need to eschew every form of intimidation against other arms of government, especially their leaderships, to enable them play their constitutional roles in the overall interest of the country.
“I consider the charges against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, as ill-advised and dangerous, especially after similar attempts at the leadership of the National Assembly failed.
“This is extremely dangerous for democracy and can only divide the country further as well as alienate us as a country very low in upholding the rule of law and independence of the judiciary”.
He, therefore, advised the Attorney General of the Federation to immediately withdraw the charges “and apologise to the judiciary as we certainly can’t travel this road”.
The Senator noted that the integrity of the Nigerian judiciary remained intact despite obvious constraints.