How Omo-Agege defeated Ekweremadu

The election of Delta Central Senator, Ovie Omo-Agege, did not come as a surprise to many having been endorsed by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Presidency.

What may have come as a surprise was the nomination of the immediate past Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, to take the seat of Deputy Senate President.

Ekweremadu (Enugu West Senatorial District), was nominated against all odds, by Senator Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu North) and seconded by Senator Rose Okoh (Cross River North).

His nomination came after Senator Ahmed Baba Kaita (Katsina North) had nominated Senator Omo-Agege to take the seat of Deputy Senate President.

The nomination of Omo-Agege was seconded by Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (Niger North).

Ekweremadu had been Deputy Senate President for 12 successive years under Senator David Mark (eight years) and under Senator Bukola Saraki (four years).

Omo-Agege and Ekweremadu accepted their nomination.

While Omo-Agege promised to assist the Senate President, Lawan to perform his functions effectively, Ekweremadu said that the election of the Deputy Senate President was a referendum on the invasion of the Senate on 18th April, 2018

Before the election, the Clerk to the National Assembly, Mohammed Sanni-Omolori, announced that the same voting procedure used for the election of the Senate President, would also be used for the election of Deputy Senate President.

Omolori went ahead to direct the Clerk to the Senate, Nelson Ayewoh, to make the roll call.

At the end of election and counting of votes, Omolori announced that 105 Senators-elect voted.

He said that one Senator-elect abstained from voting while one invalid vote was recorded.

Omolori said that Omo-Agege received 68 votes to defeat Ekweremadu who got 37 votes.

Ekweremadu told reporters that he contested the election to make a statement on the invasion of the Senate on April 18, 2018.

He said, “For over 20 years I have been very busy with politics and governance. So I think I can have a rest and reflect on other things.”

On why he contested Ekweremadu said: “I believe there must be a referendum. Look at what happened on a day I was presiding and the chamber invaded. It is embarrassing that someone who led that operation will take a bow and be endorsed and we all work home like it doesn’t matter.

“I wanted a situation where we could present a referendum in respect of what transpired.”

Asked at what point he took the decision to contest, he said:

“Early this morning, we were not minded to run for any office, we thought that our friends in APC will present a consensus candidate that we can all be proud of. We don’t want a situation where we will say what happened here and then you come and endorsed the same person Deputy President of the Senate.

“We need to exonerate ourselves. It was not a contest to win or lose. I wanted to make a statement.”

Also in a statement titled “Ekweremadu congratulates Lawan, Omo-Agege” the former Deputy Senate President, congratulated the newly elected presiding officers of the Ninth Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan and Senator Ovie Omo-Agege on their elections.

This was also as he appreciated his colleagues, constituents, and Nigerians for their support, noting that he had made his point.

Ekweremadu, who took to his social media handles after the inauguration of the Ninth Senate, said: “I congratulate the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan and my successor as Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege on their elections.

“I specially appreciate my colleagues, who supported me as I vied for the office again to preserve the hallowedness and honour of the Senate and uphold equity as a priceless ingredient for building a Nigeria of our dreams.

“I have made my point and my colleagues have made their choice. It is now for us all to join hands across all divides to work for the success of the Ninth Senate and National Assembly as well as the peace and prosperity of our nation.

“I am deeply indebted in gratitude to the good people of Enugu West and well-meaning Nigerians, whose support and prayers have seen me this far. They can rest, assured that I will continue to give them quality representation”.

Thanks for reading.
Adapted from The Nation.

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Author: Ashogbon Gideon