We can sympathize with Ike Ekweremadu, but not justify him


I sincerely sympathize with Senator Ike Ekweremadu and wouldn’t wish what he is currently passing through on my worse enemy. The former Deputy Senate President did what he could as a loving father to save his daughter’s life. Any responsible father would do the same.

Sophia is a beautiful child of his youth, and no father would fold his hands and watch his child suffer or die when he has the resources and contacts to save the life of that child. I do not even judge Ekweremadu for trusting in a go-between who obviously took advantage of his desperation nor do I have any strong opinion on his choice of a street boy as the donor of his daughter’s kidney, I perfectly understand his situation as a father who wanted his daughter to be fine, happy and healthy.

Those who remind us that we should be human and stop casting blames on the veteran legislator and his family at this time of trials may not be wrong, but I have a problem with those who try to stop ordinary Nigerians from venting their opinions, no matter how “insensitive” about the indisputable fact that Ikeoha could have avoided this situation, if he had done his best to be responsible to his constituents and if he had also used the opportunity of being in government for more than two decades to ensure that the necessary health amenities and conditions for survival of our people are made available.

Ekweremadu and his wife wouldn’t have been in prison today if they trusted the Nigerian health system or if the man of the house who had served as an LGA Chairman, Senator, spokesperson of the Senate, Deputy Senate President and other strategic and powerful positions he has held since the advent of the Fourth Republic. God and the people of Enugu have given the lawyer turned politician many outstanding opportunities with which he would have made lives better for the common man and invariably saved himself and his family from this very disheartening situation.

I know a few people who have had close contacts with the Ekweremadus and they say he is a kind man. They say he assists people to attain their goals, and I don’t disagree with them.

As a Senator and a Deputy Senate President for eight years, Ike Ekweremadu had the powers to make the federal government site at least six well-equipped and world class diagnostic centers across the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria. He also had the powers to halt the mass exodus of our medical professionals through a legislation that would have ensured that Nigerian medical graduates do not only get good jobs after graduation but are as well exposed to the best possible training and as well provided with the best equipment and working environment. The truth is that there is nothing special about London, New York or Berlin hospitals, except the fact that their governments and government officials are less corrupt and more responsible that they ensured that the right resources are made available to the people, and inadvertently, to themselves and their relatives.

Do you ever imagine what would have happened to our health sector if Ike Ekweremadu had used the resources he deployed to the acquisition of the over 40 houses which the EFCC is aiming to confiscate in building hospitals and equipping our medical schools? Apparently, we will have better healthcare services and the need for Sophia to be in London for a kidney transplant might not have arisen.

Even though we have some hospitals here that claim to perform kidney transplant surgeries, our system has made it impossible for Ike Ekweremadu and indeed any Nigerian politician to trust in their efficiency. They know what they have done to the system and they cannot afford trusting any of these hospitals to take care of their health issues or those of their families. Whenever they cannot help but use Nigerian hospitals, 98% of Nigerian politicians will most definitely prefer private, and especially, expatriate run hospitals than go close to government run hospitals.

With the Ike Ekweremadu experience, Nigerian politicians have at least learnt that they could actually be in a situation where it would be impossible for the highest contacts they can boast of to save them. With Obasanjo, Nigerian Senate, Nigerian Hiuse of Representatives and others writing to seek clemency for Ekweremadu, the court still went ahead to give a judgement it felt is commensurate with the crime committed.

If Nigerian politicians learn lessons or have the slightest modicum of patriotism in them, they would long understood that it is safer and wiser investing in making their country work. Because among other things, they enjoy a lot of privileges and even immunity here. If Sophia was in Nigeria and a kidney was needed to save her life, the many strict laws and regulations that obtain in the UK and other countries wouldn’t obtain and even when it did, Ekweremadu’s influence and contacts would have come handy and he would have easily circumvented these regulations and given his daughter another chance at living, while himself would be here gallivanting around and possibly rooting for another opportunity to continue ripping us off and dominating us.

I would wish that other Nigerian politicians learn some good lessons from Ikeoha’s predicament and become more responsible to their constituents. Build more hospitals, use your office’s to ensure that Nigeria works, incest in good education and training for our professionals, provide good working environment and ensure a good level of transparency in running government business, because bad governance is like a stone thrown into the market place, you cannot know whom it will hit. Ekweremadu might be fortunate to be serving a mere ten years in prison in the UK today, worst things shall befall all political office holders who fail to use their offices and influence to improve the standard of living in the country, because they believe they are immune to effects of the absence of these basic amenities and working systems.



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