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I Won’t Run For Senate Again – Ekweremadu

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Senator Ike Ekweremadu has said he will not be seeking re-election into the Senate come 2023.

This is according to a press statement made by the lawmaker on Sunday, May 12 in celebration of his 57th birthday.

In his communique, Ekweremadu appreciated God and his constituents for his re-election and triumphs, noting that he was raised to address enormous challenges faced by his people.

The parliamentarian said 2023 will be time to call it quits, adding, however, that as the 9th Assembly gets underway, he will ensure that all ongoing projects within his constituency are finished.

He said he will continue to collaborate with others within the Senate and outside, to ensure that the nation begins to enjoy peace, justice, and unity on a different pedestal.

“I will work with other patriotic Nigerians within and outside the National Assembly and across party, ethnic, and religious lines to address issues of disunity, insecurity, and poverty currently threatening our nation. I believe that together we can pioneer a new order characterised by peace, justice, unity, prosperity, egalitarianism, and boundless opportunities for all”.

Below is the lawmaker’s full statement as released by Uche Anichukwu, the Deputy Senate President’s special adviser (media).

…Says God has been kind to him

The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has announced that he would not seek re-election into the Senate in 2023, noting that God had been kind to him, raising him to address enormous challenges faced by his people.

He spoke on Sunday at an event to mark his 57th birthday and to appreciate God and his constituents for his re-election and triumphs.

Ekweremadu recalled how he became the Chairman of his age grade association at age 10, and served as President-General of Mpu Town Union, pioneer elected Chairman of Aninri LGA, Chief of Staff of Enugu Government House, Secretary to Enugu State Government, fourth term Senator, third term Deputy President of the Senate, and the first Nigerian Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament”.

He, however, observed that it had not been all rosy as he had also faced serious political challenges and persecutions.

“We are assembled here today to mark the awesomeness of God in my life and to thank you all for standing by me over yet another year of trauma in my politics, including the attempt on my life and lives of my family members, the assault on my liberty, and all the evil designs of the evil people in our society against my person and politics. I have been through the valleys of the shadow of death. I have been scorched and bruised for my political beliefs and determination to defend the principles of democracy and uphold justice for every segment of this nation.

“Indeed, without the almightiness of God and your fidelity, I would not have been here to acknowledge the triumph of God’s grace over the evil intensions of wicked souls in high and low places of our society”.

Ekweremadu expressed happiness over the developments his representation had brought to his people.

“My life and political odyssey are products of divine grace working through destiny helpers like you, for I know where I am coming from. I also know how far the Almighty God has brought me.

“I have also looked back on the last 16 years, which I have represented Enugu West as their Senator and I can only thank God for our accomplishments. I have tried to count our blessings. I have tried to name them one by one. I must confess that I am truly surprised at what the Lord has done for us.

“Our road infrastructure has improved remarkably. The Awka-Ugwuoba-Oji River-Nachi-Udi-9th Mile-Abor-Ukehe-Opi Road, which is our latest intervention in this regard, has just been awarded.

“We have made progress in electricity and water supply to our various communities. We have built, rebuilt, and we are still building and rebuilding schools, churches, health and civic centres, among others.

“Our human capital development projects are on the upward trajectory. We have assisted several of our young people with employment in public service. Through the Ikeoha Foundation, we have supported 3,843 undergraduates with bursary awards, 87 with full scholarship, while over 12,155 women and youth have received basic education courtesy of Ikeoha Foundation Adult Literacy Programme”, he told his people.

Despite the achievements, however, Ekweremadu said it was time to call it quits with the Senate come 2023.

He said: “However, my dear brothers and sisters, you must admit that no matter how melodious a song may be, it will definitely have an end. Therefore, as I thank you for these 16 memorable and splendid years as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; as I thank my distinguished colleagues for honouring me as the Deputy President of the Senate for three consecutive times; as we recall the accomplishments of the projects of my representation in the last 16 years; as I acknowledge your kindness in keeping me in the Senate for these 16 years; and as I prepare to further represent you by your mandate for the next four years, let me seek your understanding and indulgence to now announce that this will be my last term as your Senator.

“As we get set for the 9th Senate, be assured that I will focus on the completion of all ongoing projects we attracted and ensure that communities that are yet to benefit from our vision in infrastructure adequately benefit.

“I will work with other patriotic Nigerians within and outside the National Assembly and across party, ethnic, and religious lines to address issues of disunity, insecurity, and poverty currently threatening our nation. I believe that together we can pioneer a new order characterised by peace, justice, unity, prosperity, egalitarianism, and boundless opportunities for all”.

The event was attended by key stakeholders in Enugu, including Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and members of the National and State Assemblies from the State.”

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$2billion Arms Fraud: Group Petitions Buhari Over Probe Panelists

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A group has petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari to re-examine the composition of the $2 billion fund misappropriated during the last regime of President Jonathan.

The group, Egalitarian Coalition of Nigeria, in an open letter to President Buhari, alleged that senior members of his cabinet who were complicit in the transaction
cannot turned round to become a judge in case involving them.

When the president assumed office in 2015, he directed the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, to convene an investigative committee on the procurement of hardware and ammunition in the Armed Forces from 2007 till now.

Accordingly, the National Security Adviser, constituted the Committee on Audit of Defence Equipment Procurement, CADEP.

But the group in the petition, signed by Dr. Suleiman Attahiru, Executive Director and Sir Fabian Aigbosua (KSJ),
Secretary, told President Buhari, that domiciling the powers to constitute the committee in the Office of the National Security Adviser was albeit an error because the National Security Adviser, Babagana Mungono was a part of the rot in the system at the time as Commander, Brigade of Guards, Chief of Defence Intelligence Agency and later Commandant TRADOC in 2013 when he retired from the Nigerian Army.

”Mr. President, there is no way the NSA, Babagana Mungono could feign ignorance of all the underhand dealings in the purchase of arms and ammunition in the period under review because of the strategic positions he occupied.

”Mr. President, and as predicted, the NSA did well to cover his tracks by taking charge of the proceeding of the committee and ensuring that underhand deals linked to him while he was within the corridors of power were left untouched by the committee. All of these are in public space.

”Mr. President, as a fact, some members of CADEP are culprits in the same act in which they have crucified others just because the National Security Adviser has your ears and attention at all times.

”This was evident in the arrest of Air Commodore Usman Mohammed, a member of CADEP by the Department of State Security for fronting for members of CADEP in receiving financial gratification from those been investigated by the committee”, the group said.

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Lawan: My Support For Buhari Will Not Make Senate His Rubber Stamp

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Ahmad Lawan, majority leader of the Senate, says the national assembly will not become President Muhammadu Buhari’s “rubber stamp” if he is elected Senate president.

Lawan told journalists in Abuja on Saturday that although he is a fan of Buhari, his support for the president will not jeopardize the upper legislative chamber under his leadership.

Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) had endorsed Lawan to succeed Bukola Saraki as Senate president.

The Yobe lawmaker said he will ensure that the decisions of his colleagues be carried out without any fear or favour.

“I won’t deny it; I am a president Buhari man. I believe in him and I believe in my party because of the ideals they stand for. But if you believe in someone and they have an issue that you think can be carried out in a certain way other than the way it was presented, suggesting you go the other way demonstrates that you are really for that person.” he said.

“So my support for the president, for example, must not be misconstrued as going to make the national assembly a rubber stamp if I am senate president.

“The function of the legislature is for the members of the legislature in majority to take a decision after a debate or whatever; then the minority would have had their say and the decision goes to the majority. You cannot as a presiding officer say no, I am not going to go with that position. Else you will be sacked.”

Lawan also said that the legislature and executive must ensure they work harmoniously for the common good of Nigerians.

“If you choose to fight, the two arms suffer and the country suffers even more because it is not possible for you to fight and get something done for the country. I don’t belong to the school of thought of encouraging fighting between the two arms,” he said.

“When you have to work together, you will disagree, and by the design of the constition, the legislature has been given some functions that will naturally make the executive sit up.”

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Release Our N25bn, ASUU Tells FG

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities has urged the Federal Government to release the N25bn it approved for lecturers.

ASUU President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, made the demand during a valedictory lecture and book presentation by the former Vice-Chancellor of Michael Okpara University, Umudike, Prof Ikenna Onyido, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, on Saturday.

He said the union was getting impatient with the FG over the delay in releasing the money.

However, Ogunyemi denied reports they were planning to embark on strike over the matter.

He said, “ASUU has not said it is going on strike. What we said was the reported N25bn the Federal Government said it had approved, we’ve not seen it.

“When we signed the Memorandum of Action with government on February 7, we agreed that by February 28, the N25bn would be released, and government signed it. We have yet to see it three months after.

“That’s why we’re saying that government has defaulted and if our members come up with any decision because government has defaulted, the leadership can’t stop them. That’s the challenge we have.

“We’re only calling on Nigerians to prevail on government to make good its promises and not just to tell us about paper release. Let’s see the actual release.”

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