With his eyes set on becoming president of Nigeria, Ike Ekweremadu, the deputy senate president, may be considering decamping to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC from the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, with a view of becoming the party’s presidential flagbearer in 2013.
According to multiple sources who spoke with 247ureports, Dr. Ekweremadu “has begun facing pressure from his senior aides who are advising him to dump the PDP for the APC, in return for the presidential ticket in the APC at the conclusion of President Buhari’s tenure”.
“Ekweremadu can get the south east governors to follow him to the APC,” the senior aide is quoted as saying. “He and the South East Governors had almost defected to the APC last year, it was Ekweremadu that stopped it”.
Other sources close to the deputy senate president told The Trent that he rebuffed the idea saying that going to the APC was “unthinkable”. However, aides close to the deputy senate president, are continuing to impress him with the strategic importance of such a move.
It is an open secret in political circles that Ekeremadu has been gunning for the position of vice president for a long time. His personal ambition came to the fore when former President Goodluck Jonathan appointed him to chair the committee to assess the party’s defeat in the 2015 presidential poll.
Ekweremadu was adamant in making sure that the committee’s report recommended the zoning of the presidency to the North and the zoning of the vice presidential ticket to the South. It was designed to foreclose Jonathan running for the office of president in 2019, and make room for him to lobby for the running mate ticket to be zoned to the South East.
His desperation to become vice president has continued to manifest in several ways. For example, Ike Ekeremadu was the only official of the PDP to attack Olusegun Mimiko, the immediate past governor of Ondo State, when Mimiko left the PDP and returned to the Labour Party.
“He had never been comfortable with Mimiko in the PDP, he saw him as a rival for the party’s vice presidential ticket,” a chieftain of the PDP told The Trent in June, 2018.
“As the most respectable member of the PDP from the South West, Ekweremadu always saw Mimiko as the most likely choice for the running mate of the eventual presidential flagbearer of the PDP. He didn’t like that,” the source, who pleaded anonymity, said.
The deputy senate president’s discomfort was based on the calculation that the PDP would field a North/South West ticket to counter the Buhari/Osinbajo ticket of the APC.
When Atiku Abubakar, the presidential flagbearer of the PDP announced Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra State, as his running mate, Ekweremadu was one of the South East leaders in the party to express displeasure at the emergence of Obi.