Why Ekweremadu’s Position Is Being Contested – Dada | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Why Ekweremadu’s Position Is Being Contested – Dada

Posted: Jul 7, 2015 at 1:30 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Senator Gbolahan Dada represents Ogun West Senatorial District on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). In this interview with ISUMA MARK, he speaks on the leadership crisis in the Senate, the emergence of Senator Ike Ekweremadu as Deputy Senate President, and the struggle for supremacy within the ranks of APC. 

What is your take on the emergence of principal officers of the Senate and the crisis that followed?

This Senate is very peculiar because of the way Senate affairs are usually conducted in Nigeria. This Senate has rather started in a very interesting way for the political players so far. Established traditional arrangement seems to be generating so much concern. We have seen the dynamic shift, a paradigm shift, the way the traditional system runs. That has been alien to the system. You can see that the Senate President is a member of the APC. The Deputy Senate is not a member of the APC and other principal officers, which created the dynamics that are strange to the public. That does not mean at the end of the day we cannot resolve the crisis.
What is actually wrong with Senator Ekweremadu’s emergence as the Deputy Senate President?

It is alien to the political system of this country. People felt it was the APC that lost out. It is odd, it is not normal. It is as if you are telling President Obama to go and join the Republican Party – there will be a problem. It is normal for these people to raise their voices. All you are seeing is a reaction to the rape on them. That is why the reaction may sometimes degenerate into fracas as you witnessed in the House. That is a normal human reaction. Human beings like peace but if you push them to a point where they need to react, they will react. I do not see anything wrong with the people’s reaction in this case.
Was his emergence an indictment on the APC’s inability to organize itself?

The Senate has a laid down rule and regulation. When the Senators conduct their elections, they follow a pattern that has been established for years. If that pattern was what they followed, and in the process he was able to emerge, that process needs to be looked at. It is the process now that we have to talk about.
Do you see a conflict of interest between the APC and the Senate?

The reason why most of the senators who rooted for Bukola Saraki cannot be faulted was that they were voting among themselves. If the same group also decided to vote Senator Ekweremadu, the only area of conflict is that this is the first time in history anywhere in the world when you have the opposition taking a prime position. It never happens in America or England. People find it (Ekweremadu’s Emergence) as a rape of our effort. This is not a conflict. It is not as if he is not qualified, he is qualified.


Don’t you think Senator Ekweremadu’s emergence as the Deputy Senate President is part of the change as well?

They are departing from the tradition. We should try as much as possible not to cause conflict anymore. We should look at a situation whereby we can work as a team for the advancement of Nigeria, moving forward the frontiers of our political landscape. However, this is a conflict where people find it very emotional and know it is a partisan political system because some people belong to the APC, some PDP, and other parties. If at the end of the day one party has worked so hard and is able to reach the landmark of history and suddenly you wake up in the morning and find yourself in the backyard of history, definitely, there would be protest.
As a member of the APC, do you want Senator Ike Ekweremadu, the Deputy Senate President, to resign?

It is unfair on APC for him to be there. If he says he wants to resign, I am not the one to decide that. That is the decision for Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his party to make. I cannot speak for the party because I am not a member of that party.
Where can we strike a balance between party supremacy and the independence of the legislature following the division of your party along two broad lines in the Senate?

The party was not divided. The Like Minds and the Unity Group are members of the same party. It was an alignment of different interest groups. If at the end of the day, the party comes forward and says, look, your ascendency to power is through this party’s platform and we reckon that the party is superior, that is the argument on one side. However, you can come up with a superior argument and say no, the party is also the one that makes up the Senate and the Senate decides that this is the road map; you have to also carry the party along the same line. The real issue is conflict between those who believe that the party should be one changing position, and senators who believe that they must be able to appoint the leadership among themselves. It is an area of conflict that must be reconciled. In any conflict resolution, there is no price too great for peace because the consequence can be bad. There is no position that is irreversible. I feel the senate of this 8th Assembly should be able to resolve the issue using common sense.
How do you think this is affecting the change mantra that brought the APC to power?

That is the slogan of APC. The change we are talking about is a total cultural change – the way I do things, the way we perceive one another. The change must be backed by law. The law must guide us. Those who rape our system must be penalized as deterrent to others. The moment they put law in place the more easily it is to run. The influence of these kinds of things is that change is here. That is part of change – people’s spirit have moved, they cannot stop it. People are saying that I can do better if I were the one in that position. Because it affects you, you want to react to it. The culture will be better off in the end. Nigerians are willing and ready to be led but what you are seeing is that they did not get people to lead them. Now they have opportunity. We need to lay a foundation for this society. The change we are talking about is where man’s total acceptance will not be based on the tribe or region he comes from – where his assimilation and ability to grow up will not be artificially controlled by Federal Character. The new generation Nigerians want to see is that they want to see an opportunity for them to grow.