Ekweremadu, Peter Obi, Ndi Igbo, and the integrity conundrum

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By Emeka Maduewesi
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My early morning schedule was interrupted last Thursday with a phone call from a friend, “Have you heard what happened to your friend?” to which I replied, “Which of them?” My mind instantly thought of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, but my lips uttered, “You know I live in the last time zone. I’m always the last to know. What happened?” He then narrated the ordeal Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his wife are facing in the United Kingdom. The story was traumatic for me at every level; parents seeking to care for their seriously sick child and possibly breaching the law in the process.

I have known Senator Ike Ekweremadu since our first year (Level 1)law students playing Law Students Association (LAWSA) politics at the University of Nigeria. In our second year, we were in the same hostel. You see, unlike some of those politicians who couldn’t name any of their classmates, Senator Ekweremadu has classmates he could call by first name or even guy name basis. After forty years, I’m still Midwest.

Back to my early morning bad news, I told my friend that Senator Ike I have known for four solid decades lacks the capacity to do what he just narrated. “Nnaa, he cannot do any of those things ooh. I know him. He plays safe, much to the chagrin of many people. He follows laid-down procedures 99.9% of the time. He has integrity.” My friend believed me and we both prayed that my vouch for Ike’s integrity will not collapse under the weight of London Metropolitan Police evidence.

As the call ended, I clicked through a few news reports on the issue and made some phone calls. When the letter Senator Ekweremadu wrote to the British High Commission started circulating in the cybersphere, I read it over and over, and muttered to myself, “That’s Ekwe. He Has not changed.”

My worries immediately shifted to Sonia. [Watermark: Emeka Maduewesi] How is she doing? With both parents in detention, who is caring for her? Will the new inflict emotional distress on her that could complicate her health challenges? Would she suffer guilty pangs for making her parents go through all these for her sake? Then my mind drifted to Nigerian political fault lines.

As the 2023 election approaches, the battle line is being drawn for the soul and the future of Nigeria between corrupt ancient crooks on the one hand, and the productive, competent, and non-corrupt, on the other. Governor Peter Obi represents the latter. But he is Igbo.
In Nigeria, being Igbo comes with special requirements, higher standards, and capricious moving of the goal post. If the Igbo publicly scorch their family rascal, to other Nigerians, they don’t love themselves, and if the Igbo passionately support a competent family member as standards bearer, as in the case of Professor Chukwuma Soludo, they will be called clannish, ethnic bigots.

Fortunately, Governor Obi has his proven frugality principles and integrity going for him. He seems to be telling other Nigerians, “I am Igbo. I live in Onitsha, Anambra State, and I want to lift every Nigerian up irrespective of ethnicity or religion. A productive Nigeria is possible.” To further validate his claims, he will point at his good works and impeccable credentials as Governor of Anambra State for eight years.

While we now have Governor Peter Obi exhibiting those qualities and standards required to pull Nigeria up, we have Senator Ike Ekweremadu, the most recent highest ranking Igbo politician, in far away the United Kingdom, facing criminal charges that come with the highest degree of moral turpitude. [Watermark: Emeka Maduewesi] That’s the conundrum Ndi Igbo are facing now because if you are Igbo, you don’t carry your odium alone. Every citizen of the Igbo Nation carries it with you.

Today, every Igbo is Senator Ekweremadu and his wife; crime suspects, human trafficking suspects, and organ harvesting suspects. Unfortunately, not every Igbo is Governor Peter Obi, a decent politician seeking a better Nigeria for all Nigerians. When you are a good Igbo, it does not trickle down to the Igbo Nation.

But something huge is about to happen in Nigeria, and like Governor Obi, Senator Ike Ekweremadu will be on that rare list of decent politicians Ndi Igbo and other Nigerians will be proud of. I’m neither a prophet nor the son of one, but I know Chukwu Okike my King and Father, and being Igbo, I’m a priest of Chukwu Abiama. When it comes to ife gbasara Ndị Igbo, I know what the spirits and our ancestors ate for dinner. I stand with Ikeoha! I stand with the Ekweremadu family!

A Moment of Historical Context:
When Chief Onyeama Ọnwusi of Eke, Enugu State, arrived in London, Britain, in 1925 to enrol his son, Charles Dadi, in school, another young boy tagged along. When asked the reason for having the boy around, Chief Onyema told his British hosts that the boy will be running errands for his son, a prince of Eke. That boy was Simon Ezevuo Ọnwụ. A few years later, as Charles Dadi graduated from the University College, London, and was admitted to the Lincoln’s Inn as a lawyer, Simeon Ọnwụ graduated from the University of Edinburgh Medical School to be reckoned as the first Igbo medical doctor. [Watermark: Emeka Maduewesi] The great Igbo State Union was founded on the foundation laid at Dr. Simeon Ọnwụ’s Welcome Home Party in Port Harcourt. Will David Ukpo Nwamini come back from London a hero or a villain? Nke a bụ okwu, bụlụkwa inu!

Emeka Maduewesi, Esq., LLM,
Technology <> Intellectual Property <> Antitrust