Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu (Enugu West), has denied reports that he is considering leaving the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Backstory: Ekweremadu shared the clarification on his Facebook page on Wednesday saying that even though his path is in God’s hands, he is still a member of the PDP.
“In the past 24 hours, I have been inundated with calls from friends and political associates seeking clarification on the rumors of my departure from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which has dominated the media. Let it be known that my path in politics is in the hands of the Almighty God, who has indeed been very faithful and gracious to me. I’m very grateful to God for this.
“My vision in politics is a system that works for everybody, a social and political environment where everybody, every section, and every tribe not only counts but is also seen to count. As leaders, we must be mindful of this, for any system built on anything less will not endure.
“Please, rest assured that I am still in the PDP.”
Yes, but: There is a trending photo of Ekweremadu in a handshake with the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole. Several top reporters, including Seun Okin of Channels TV had reported over the weekend that Ekweremadu was mulling a defection and was very close to moving. For 20 years, he has been a member of the PDP and based on that affiliation, he has served as deputy senate president for almost 12 years. However, Ekweremadu is believed to have seriously lobbied for the PDP running mate slot which was eventually given to former Anambra governor, Peter Obi. That decision so riled Ekweremadu that he convened a meeting of South East Igbo stakeholders to protest their non-inclusion in the process.
Bottom line: It is very likely that Ekweremadu will defect to the APC. The big challenge for the party right now which may be holding up the negotiations is the fact that the party has already elected Juliet Ibekaku Nwagu, an aide to President Buhari, as its Enugu West senate candidate. Getting her to forego her ambition for his may be difficult, but removing her without proper cause may lead to litigation. Finally, Ekweremadu’s calculation may have to do with the politics of 2019. Since he did not get the vice presidential slot, defecting to the APC may make sense in the event that the ruling party maintains its majority in the senate next year.