How many lawbreakers are there in Nigeria?
Until October 31,2022 at least, former Senate President Ike Ekweremadu will continue to languish in detention in the UK where he is still being held over charges of trafficking one David Ukpo Nwamini to London for organ harvesting.
The Central Criminal Court in London recently adjourned his pre-trial to October 31, 2022 to keep the long-running organ-harvesting saga which has been an acute source of embarrassment for Nigerians alive.
A throaty laugh
When at the tail end of June, news first broke that a prominent Nigerian politician and his wife had been arrested in the United Kingdom on allegations of human and organ trafficking, many Nigerians held their breath as they waited to discover who the culprit was.
When the culprit was revealed to be Ekweremadu, many Nigerians were pleased with themselves that the long arm of the law had at least caught up with a Nigerian politician somewhere. Many expressed their satisfaction that it was all happening elsewhere, because if it had unfolded here, it would have been so easily swept under the carpet given the level of impunity.
Even when contrary facts began to emerge about the true age of the alleged victim, many were not willing to give any benefit of doubt to the former Deputy Senate who was apparently trying to save the life of his ailing child.
A tinge of nostalgia
Yet, there are many Nigerians who are sad to see Ekweremadu`s name being mentioned alongside something so scandalous. In many ways, he is a different kind of politician to the ones we have here. Having risen from a lowly university lecturer to become a local government chairman, Secretary to the Enugu State Government, and Chief of Staff at some point, his longevity in the political space, and his unique ability to manage expectations, and remain relevant have endeared him to many.
For the Igbos, Ekweremadu who has spoken up for them many times on the floor of the National Assembly has also been a voice crying in the wilderness that Nigeria has become. It is no news that there is no love lost between the current administration and the Southeast region. Since President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in to office in 2015, the relationship has remained a difficult one.
The tone was set way back in 2015 when the Southeast region unanimously voted in favour of then president Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP to send Buhari slipping to an embarrassing defeat in the region. The Southeast votes did not matter in the long run as Buhari secured votes from elsewhere to clinch the presidency in historic fashion.
If by refusing to vote Buhari and the APC, the Southeast had sent a message, it was one that was clearly received with distaste by the President who cryptically told the Southeast that it would pay for its choices when he said that a region that did not give him much support should not expect much in return. That did set the tone of what has been a frosty relationship.
The ongoing travails of Nnamdi Kanu who has put out his agitation for Biafra in messianic terms for the Igbos has not helped to endear the current administration to the Southeast.
Ekweremadu `s long road
For Ekweremadu, one of Nigeria`s foremost legislators, it is not yet clear if any law was broken. If it was, it will soon become apparent.
What an irony it would be, that a legislator in Nigeria is a law breaker elsewhere. Nigerians know they live in a country of law breakers, many of them people who should consider the law sacred.
Yet the experience of Nigerians is of a country where there are so many who live above the law.