Wednesday, December 12, 2018

A Great Man (Senator Ike Ekweremadu)

HUMAN RIGHTS LEGENDS

His Excellency, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, PhD, CFR hails from Mpu in Aninri Local Government Area of Enugu State. He holds both Bachelor of Laws and Master of Laws degrees from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka as well as Certificates in Leadership from Harvard University and Oxford University. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Law from the University of Abuja. Senator Ekweremadu was a career legal practitioner and an Associate Lecturer at his alma mater before running for political office. He has since held several elective and appointive positions in Nigeria, namely, the Legal Adviser, National Republican Convention (NRC), 1990-1993; pioneer Chairman of Aninri Local Government, 1997-1998; Chief of Staff, Enugu State. Government House, 1999-2001; and Secretary to the Enugu State Government from 2001-2003.

He was elected a Senator representing Enugu West Senatorial District in 2003. He was re-elected into the Senate in 2007 and 2011. In the Senate, he was unanimously elected the Deputy President of the Senate for two consecutive terms in 2007 and 2011.In 2015, he was again re-elected a senator and re-elected for three consecutive times as the Deputy President of the 8th Senate. Ekweremadu became a member of the Nigerian delegation to the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS Parliament) in 2003 and was subsequently elected the First Deputy Speaker of the Community Parliament. In 2011 he was unanimously elected the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament. Ekweremadu remembers with deep attachment his election as the chairman of his community age grade at the age of ten years and later the president of his community’s Town Union. These two positions injected in him grassroots impetus and passion for service to humanity. The two positions exposed him to the enormous challenges and needs of his native Mpu community. His desire to render service to Mpu community in particular and Aninri Local Government Area in general was the driving force for his journey into politics. His exceptional performance as the Town Union President leveraged him to win an election under the platform of the United Nigeria Congress Party(UNCP) as the pioneer Chairman of Aninri Local Government. In 1997, he was declared the best Council Chairman of the year for constructing an ultra-modern local government secretariat for the newly created local government area within a record time without recourse to loans. His prodigious background facilitated his appointment as the Chief of Staff, Government House of Enugu State in 1999, a position he held most creditably. His sterling qualities and distinctive accomplishments as the Chief of Staff earned him an elevation to the position of the Secretary to the Government of Enugu State in 2001, a position he also held with colour and panache until he was elected a distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2003. In the Senate, Ekweremadu has a number of Bills and motions to his credit in addition to several co-sponsored Bills. His Bills include the Civil Process Servers Bill, Private Detectives and Investigators Bill, Federal Land Registry (General Provisions) Bill as well as the State of the Nation Address Bill and the River Basins Development Authority (Amendment) Bill both of which have been passed by the two Chambers of the National Assembly. His co-sponsored Bills include the Nigeria Police Act (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill, Abolition of Discrimination Against Women Bill; National Human Rights Commission Act (Amendment) Bill, and the Legal Aid Council Act (Amendment) Bill. Key among his sole sponsored Motions include “The Absence of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”, “The Surging Incident of Kidnapping and Hostage-taking in Nigeria”; “The Outbreak of Hostilities in Jos”, “The Menace of Gully Erosion and Landslide in the South East of Nigeria”. He has also chaired various important Committees in the Senate, including the Senate Committee on Constitution Review, which at present he heads for three consecutive time. As Chairman of this Committee from 2007 to 2011, Senator Ekweremadu has received recognitions and awards for piloting the first successful amendment of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria. The amendment resulted in elaborate electoral reforms that laid the foundation for the widely applauded 2011 General Elections. As Chairman of the Joint steering Committee of the Policy Analysis and Research Project (PARP) of the National Assembly (a capacity building project supported by African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), based in Harare, Zimbabwe) from 2007, Sen Ekweremadu effectively steered the Project to a resounding success, resulting in its transformation into a full-fledged National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS), which Governing Council he chairs at present. As a Member of the Nigerian Delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament since 2003, the First Deputy Speaker in 2007 and subsequently the Speaker of the Community Parliament, he has gained wide reputation as a firm believer and courageous defender of democracy in the West African sub-region. The decisive recommendations of the ECOWAS Parliament’s Ad-Hoc Committee on the Political Situations in Niger Republic and the Republic of Guinea which he chaired, contributed greatly in resolving the crises in favour of democracy. as the Speaker in 2011,Ekweremadu pursued with passion, the Enhancement of the Powers of the Community Parliament as a core Legislative Agenda at the sub-regional parliament. He rallied the Parliament to adopt and submit a Draft Legislation on the Enhancement of the Powers of the Parliament to the ECOWAS Commission for adoption/enactment by the Authority of Heads of State and Government. This is a milestone in the history of the Community Parliament that no Speaker before him ever attained. He also spearheaded an ambitious infrastructural upgrade of the Parliament, including a new office complex for the parliamentarians. The Deputy President of the Senate is an erudite lawmaker. He has so far presented over 20 public lectures and papers within and outside Nigeria to enrich public discourse on the themes of democracy, Nigerian federalism, the Nigerian constitution, security, anti-corruption, environment, and economy. Senator Ekweremadu’s quality representation at the senate resonates with his people. He fulfills the aspirations and consciousness of his constituents. He has within his incumbency in the Senate exited his people from a labyrinth of neglect to a symmetry of infrastructural development. His Youth and Women Empowerment Programmes are legendary. He, for instance, attracted the establishment of five Youth Development Centres, one in each of the five local government areas that comprise his Enugu West constituency. Ikeoha Ndigbo is a philanthropist. He founded the Ikeoha Foundation on assumption of public office as a Council Chairman in 1997. This has been his constituency outreach platform for grassroots development. The Foundation has helped to uplift youths, women, children and other vulnerable members of the society, while also serving the educational needs of over one thousand less privileged students. Distinguished Senator Ike Ekweremadu holds the Nigerian National Honour of the Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR) in addition to several honours and awards. He has received honourary doctorate degrees, Doctor of Laws, LLD honoris causa from the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State and his alma mater, the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). He has also been decorated with the Dr. Kwame Nkurumah Africa Leadership Award. He has been conferred with many chieftaincy titles, such as Ochiagha Ndigbo conferred on him by Eze-Nri, the custodian of Igbo culture and Ikeoha Ndigbo, which was bestowed on him by the South East Nigeria Council of Traditional Rulers. Senator Ekweremadu was born on May 12, 1962 and is happily married to Lady Nwanneka Ekweremadu, PhD. They are blessed with four children.

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