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2019 presidential contest’ ll be keen -Ekweremadu

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Senator Ike Ekweremadu

Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has said that the 2019 presidential contest would be a keen, noting that it was an indication that the decision of several chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, himself inclusive, to stay back to revive the party after the 2015 general elections had paid off.

Ekweremadu said his decision to remain in PDP during its trying times and despite political persecutions, was to ensure Nigeria continued to enjoy a balanced democracy devoid of one-party system.

The lawmaker, according to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Uche Anichukwu, spoke while fielding questions during an interactive radio programme on Urban 94.5 FM Radio, Enugu, at the weekend.

“The beauty of democracy is stiff competition and vibrant opposition. If you recall my statement in April 2015 after we lost the presidential election, I made it clear that on the PDP we stand. I didn’t nurse any illusion that it would be a smooth ride, but I was determined to pay the price.

“For me, we have paid a lot of price in PDP. I have committed so much of my time to making sure that PDP is what it is today. I am proud to see the product of those efforts manifest.

“Today, the PDP is a party to contend with. You couldn’t say the same thing about the party in 2016, for instance. Then, the party was in shambles. We were able to put things together. Together with our friends, colleagues, our governors and some other people, who stayed behind, we were able to rebuild the PDP”, he said.

On the chances of the major political parties, Ekweremadu explained: “Let me tell you the exact thing about what is happening presently. Ahead of the presidential election, no one can surely say that this party would win or this candidate would win. But in 2015 or 2016, nobody gave PDP a chance and today PDP has bounced back to life.

“So, when you watch the rallies, you say oh, this is a huge crowd for APC in Adamawa or that was a huge PDP crowd in Katsina, the home of the President. That is an interesting thing and that is exactly what we worked for and we are able to see Nigerians participating.

“So, I am happy when I see this close contest and by the grace of God, PDP will win”, he added.
[10/02, 16:05] Salami Pilot: Ekweremadu accuses Buhari’s aide of sabotaging Enugu road project

By Olugbenga Salami

Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has accused the Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Justice Reform and candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Enugu West Senatorial District, Mrs. Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu, of sabotaging federal government’s effort to complete the Oji-Achi-Mmaku-Awgu federal road project in Enugu State.

Ekweremadu said contrary to Ibekaku-Nwagwu’s’ claims, the Federal Ministry of Works, Power and Housing, acting on the outcomes of several oversight visits to the project site by National Assembly Committees on Works, terminated the initial contract awarded to Master Holdings for evident non-performance.

The deputy senate president, according to a statement by his Special Adviser o Media, Mr. Uche Anichukwu, made the clarification during an interactive radio programme on Urban 94.5 FM, Enugu, at the weekend.

“The lady in question, our sister, comfortably married to an Air Force Officer from Imo State, suddenly came up with the idea of running for a Senate seat, which should be okay. Unfortunately, she doesn’t know what happens in Enugu West or anything about the projects”, he said.

Ekweremadu went on: “Although Section B (Awgu-Akeze) of the road in question passes through my place, the first major project I attracted when I became Deputy President of the Senate in 2007 was the Section A (Oji-Achi-Mmaku-Awgu road). It was awarded to a company called Master Holdings promoted by Anayo Nwandu. The job started, but wasn’t making progress.

“When the Ministry of Works advertised the Section B, he also applied. In fact, he moved his machines and started work ahead of the application. He didn’t get it.

“It was given to a company promoted by Isaac Chuks, who is from my place. In fact, I was his lawyer for many years. Nevertheless, because I knew the challenges around that road, I went to him and appealed that he should decline the offer. The Ministry of Works then awarded it to SETRACO, which completed that work in two years.

“Meanwhile, five years down the line, nothing happened along the Oji-Awgu road awarded two years before Section B. Some people around the area were abusing me, thinking I was able to see to the completion of the one that passes through my area faster. But God knows it is not true. That job was taken from Master Holdings and given to SETRACO after a protracted process”.

Ekweremadu, however, accused Ibekaku-Nwangwu of working with the former contractor to stop the work.

“She wrote a petition against the award of that contract to SETRACO. Conspiring with Anayo Nwandu of Master Holdings, who lives and earns his living in Enugu and the Chairman of the Special Investigative for the Recovery of Public Property, Mr. Okoi Obono-Obla. They wrote a petition to the Obla Panel to stop the work. Obla ‘dutifully’ wrote to the FG to stop paying SETRACO. We are still battling that.

“To complicate the matter, they now also wrote a petition that I colluded with the Ministry of Works to take the job from Master Holdings and gave it to SETRACO. As I speak, SETRACO are not being paid. But graciously, they have continued the work. If you go there now, you will marvel at the work going on.

“As for me, I am not the Minister for Works. I am not a procurement officer. So, if you have a contract with the FG and you don’t do the work for about 10 years and government revoked it, how do you blame Ekweremadu?

“But, the real concern is that this is somebody, who wants to represent the people, who wants their vote, yet she wants to stop work on their road.

“Again, somebody wants to keep collecting money without doing any work for many years, yet somebody from Enugu West is colluding with him”, he further stressed.

The deputy senate president, however, said it was not the first time Ibekaku-Nwagwu was involved in fallacious petitions against him.

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