Any day Ike Ekweremadu, the deputy senate president wakes up and didn’t abuse or blame President Buhari for one reason or the other is certainly an odd day. He literarily sleeps and wakes on the steroid of antagonizing Buhari. He eats insults and abuses on Buhari as a favourite staple. Ekweremadu comes from the South East where abusing Buhari is gold and he strives so hard not to miss that gold! Ekweremadu as deputy senate president was a throw-up of Bukola Saraki’s coup that saw him trade off his party’s due right to get his own senate presidency. So Ekweremadu is a usurper that feels he needs extra efforts to keep himself electorally viable and what better effort than abusing Buhari which has become a very viable venture for displaced South East PDP politicians since 2015 when Buhari got their god and personal saviour out of power?
But Ekweremadu was deputy senate president for eight years before his cahoots with Saraki got him another deputy senate presidency. You might say he needs to abuse Buhari to stay beholden to his party whose investment in procuring the deputy senate presidency from Saraki and his betraying loyalists look like a bad investment considering Buhari’s scorched earth approach to the public treasury where Ekweremadu’s almost twelve years’ reign as deputy senate president found rewarding traction.
To Ekweremadu, Buhari is the beginning and end of all Nigerian problems and recently, he was so peeved that he baited military coup if only it will stop Buhari. Ekweremadu lives on the life sport of abusing and accusing Buhari and in this, he is home with a coterie of his fellow Igbo PDP chieftains and members who see Buhari as the most potent evil that must be done away with. You can’t blame them. At the twilight years of PDP in power, Igbo became its first sons. Added to this fanatical attachment is the presidency of Jonathan, which the Igbo claimed with resounding glee as their own. In the run-up to the last general election, Igbo threatened, vowed and swore that nothing and nobody should dare vote out PDP and Jonathan. They courted and made a viable enemy of other Nigerians with their rabid pro-Jonathan obduracy.
It was such rude awakening that on the morning of March 29, 2015, Igbo woke up to discover that both Jonathan and PDP had been swept away in a revolution that they hardly prepared for. Who led such a revolution? Buhari. So you can understand why many of them, especially PDP beneficiaries have vowed to live their entire lives with hatred for Buhari running terminally in their veins. It was a rude shock to Ekweremadu and his Igbo PDP confederates. It was a terrible morning and the after-effects of that dreary morning is what is playing out today. Additional to this sad reality is Buhari’s tight-fisted approach to the treasury from where the lifeblood of these Igbo PDP mandarins flows. They are not finding it funny at all. Curiously, in the bloom of PDP’s unseemly corrupt dominance of the country’s politics, Igbo were perpetual hewers of wood and fetchers of water with nothing to show for their drudgery except the gargantuan loots of the Ekweremadus and other top party leaders.
Yes, PDP left nothing, absolutely nothing as an achievement for its faithful fanatical Igbo support in the whole 16 years of its leadership. You are bound to run into a ditch and an unfathomable crisis if you ask those who fanatically carry the rump of PDP in Igboland today to tell you just one thing PDP did for Igbo in 16 years. Particularly vexatious is that the Jonathan regime whose defeat is firing an unhealable sore in Igboland today does not even have a five kilometre fixed road in Igboland as its democracy dividend to Ndigbo. It was so horrible that the late Alex Ekwueme, former Vice President and leading PDP light bemoaned bitterly in probably one of his last interviews. Ekwueme told Vanguard about Jonathan’s attitude to the South East, “So, he had every reason to be fair-minded and equitable in his distribution of resources. But we could not go from Enugu to Onitsha on a federal road, you couldn’t go from Enugu to Port-Harcourt on a federal road, we couldn’t go from Aba to Okigwe on a federal road; you couldn’t go from Owerri on the federal road. None of the federal roads in the south-east was motorable.”
Again, Ekweremadu has particularly come under the klieg light of the raging Buhari anti-corruption war. The regime’s anti-corruption agency had recently swooped on Ekweremadu to uncover a hidden tranche of corruptly-acquired 23 properties hidden across the world. This itself followed a petition against Ekweremadu written by a former Enugu Chief Judge, Prof. Umezuruike who wondered how Ekweremadu who was a struggling charge and bail lawyer in Enugu State prior to 1999 suddenly came upon his massive wealth. It was in the thick of this inquest that Ekweremadu made his infamous coup-baiting gamble.
So Ekweremadu has every reason, like any other corrupt politician, to hate Buhari and make his demonization his primary business as he has been doing in the past three years. But then, how does this maniacal attitude helped Ekweremadu’s constituents and the Igbo who are prime pawns of his uncensored bile against Buhari? How had his never-ending acerbic vituperations against Buhari brought the democracy dividends to his people who have watched in strange awe as his personal fortune skyrocket in the past 15 years he has been deputy senate president, while theirs nosedived in the same period? What real fortune has his compulsive ill manners against Buhari helped him to deliver to his people for which he solicited their votes and got elected into the Senate? How has the dwindling Igbo fate been helped by Ekweremadu’s petulant insouciance to Buhari these past three years?
I am sure Ekweremadu and his ilk are not interested in providing answers to the above. He and his cohorts know for sure that they don’t have any reasonable answer for their bile-seeped tirades against Buhari. Good for them, they know that most Igbo do not need such answer from them. They know the porousness of Igbo political thoughts can allow them to walk away with blue murder so long as they can unleash a generous dose of insults on Buhari. They believe they will remain politically relevant in the Igbo enclave if the only thing they do is to insult and blame Buhari for everything under the sun. it is such tragic but true! That is how low Igbo politics has sunk!
Listening to Ekweremadu’s rants against Buhari, you will think that he and his ilk that are sunk in this paranoid state brought heaven on earth to Igboland when they were holding sway, making merry and feeling good before Buhari came to spoil their orgy. Strangely, whatever good Ekweremadu and his cohorts did was to do well for themselves in terms of illicit self-aggrandizement. Their fat bank accounts, borderless estates, choice properties and thick cash are all the Igbo got for the 16 years they wielded untamed power. The Igbo masses, on the other hand, fared so badly when Ekweremadu and co were at the zenith of their reign. While the Ekweremadus and their compatriots that are stuck in this maniacal frenzy became stupendously rich for the period their PDP was holding the longer end of the stick, the Igbo walked away empty handed.
Ekweremadu was getting richer when prominent roads in the South East practically went extinct. He pretended he never knew, saw or noticed this debris. By then, his present seemingly pro-Igbo mindset was on recess. The Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, the Enugu- Port Harcourt Expressway, the Owerri-Port Harcourt Road, all practically went extinct as Igbo, whom Ekweremadu wants to con with his cheeky vitriols and uncooked, acerbic outbursts against Buhari, were practically locked down. That was what Ekwueme bitterly captured in the interview excerpted above. The Second Niger Bridge became a regular pawn to Ekweremadu and his PDP as the promise to build that bridge became a ready aphrodisiac Ekweremadu and his PDP waved to Ndigbo for the 16 years they were in power. It is curious that the same Buhari Ekweremadu targets for unending assault is today, and in just three years, fixing the aforementioned roads as well as many other federal roads in all nooks and crannies of Igboland. What more, the Second Niger Bridge has migrated from being an election-winning mantra to a reality as the bridge is being constructed by the same Buhari Ekweremadu picks up every morning for uncouth abuse.
When Ekweremadu was acquiring all manners of wealth for himself as Deputy Senate President, Biafran soldiers were dying in their numbers and he never saw any need to make a case for them. Today, Buhari who has become the ready butt of Ekweremadu’s diarrhead mouth paid off the pension of former Biafran soldiers. At the height of Ekweremadu’s suzerainty when the commonwealth was a free trough for all manners of looters, Ekweremadu made good for himself and over 27 states including the five Igbo states went bankrupt and couldn’t pay the salaries of tens of thousands of Igbo workers for several months. This was at a time oil was going as high as between $86 to $140 a barrel and Nigeria was exporting over 2.5 million barrels each day. The Buhari he finds so happy abusing saved these workers from perdition as well as the millions of their dependents by bailing out these states and stabilizing them even when oil went as low as $27 per barrel and Nigeria was exporting a meagre 800,000 barrels per day!
Perhaps the only democracy dividend Ekweremadu and his PDP did in Igboland was remaining a decrepit Enugu airport as ‘international’ airport even with no upgrading of the decayed facilities in the airport. Is it surprising that Ekweremadu and his Igbo senators who pick Buhari as fair game every day, were there when their Senate drastically made nonsense of Buhari’s 2018 budgetary provision to upgrade the dead facilities of the airport? Caught pants down by the angry reactions that followed this action, Ekweremadu and his fellow anti-Buhari Igbo senators feigned ignorance of the fact that the budget for Enugu airport was reduced o near nothing by their senate. Ditto for the budget for the construction of the Second Niger Bridge!
But Ekweremadu knows that he and his mischievous cohorts have a rich harvest by ploughing the rich Igbo anti-Buhari sentiment as a panacea for their own failure for the past twenty years. They know that the Igbo space is filled to the brim with people that ask no question from those that claim to lead them, a people that lionize the rouges that steal from their barn and are mobilized easily to wage sentimental wars that short-change them in the long run. So to remain relevant, Ekweremadu and his fellow slave-drivers are hooked permanently on abusing and insulting Buhari. This creepy fellow sees a perpetual political relevance in waking daily and making insouciant comments about Buhari. They know who they are dealing with and are assured of the perpetual value for such perfidy. They are hooked with a people that easily confers political relevance on those of their people that grew rich from the common purse; a race that cares less about life-changing projects but more about lionizing the most egregious thieves that grow fat from looting the common patrimony.
In the eight years, he was deputy senate president under PDP, Ekweremadu has nothing to show tan his massive wealth. In the three years he had been dressed in the stolen robe of deputy senate president in an APC government, Ekweremadu has his unceasing abuse on Buhari and his sudden pro-Igbo rants as enough democracy dividend for him to continue being in the Senate. He is not missing that opportunity so he must rant, he must pontificate as a rabid Igbo irredentist and with these, he is assured of the votes of his people. That is enough democracy dividend for them. Buhari can take the blame for every other thing.
Since 2015, ranting against Buhari has become quite a rewarding venture in Igboland and this is what the Ekweremadus who have absolutely nothing to show for their long stay in the inner coves of power to their befuddled fellow Igbo play with glee. No one is bound to ask him how he grew so rich while his constituents and indeed Igbo have nothing to show for his stay in power. No one demands any account from him. He is above board so long as he keeps abusing Buhari. No one queries what he brought for Igbo as deputy senate president for 15 years. Abusing and hauling invectives on Buhari is enough democracy dividend for Ndigbo in post-2015 Nigeria. It is sure vote-catching gimmick and the rump of the waning PDP in Igboland are lapping so hugely on this. He believes that he is assured of perpetual electoral value amongst Igbo so long as he hangs unto the anti-Buhari ranting aphrodisiac. It is a durable life wire as he and his ilk navigate Igbo through their blindest political alley since creation.
Peter Claver Oparah.
E-mail: [email protected]