Nnamani: How Enugu gov ordered me to drop senate presidency bid for Ekweremadu
Former Senate President Ken Nnamani said he first nursed the ambition of vying for the seat in 2003 but shelved the idea after his then state governor, Chimaroke Nnamani ordered him to.
Ken Nnamani, who was Senate President between April 2005 and May 2007, stated this in his newly released book, ‘Standing Strong: Legislative Reforms, Third Term and Other Issues of the 5th Senate’.
He said that in 2003, the Enugu governor wanted Ike Ekweremadu, a first-term senator representing Enugu West, to become Senate President.
Ken Nnamani said he obeyed the governor’s directive at the time because he did not want to cause political tension in his state.
“While I was encouraged by my colleagues to run for the position, my governor, Chimaroke Nnamani, was opposed to it.
“His preferred candidate for that position was a certain Ike Ekweramadu, the senator representing Enugu west senatorial zone in the upper chamber.
“The governor made it clear to me that the man, who was also a first-term senator, was his candidate for senate president.
“Going by the support I was receiving from my colleagues, I could have ignored my governor and run for the position. And perhaps I could have won. But I did not want to rock the boat and create political tension in my state. So, I deferred to the governor and withdrew from the contest for the position,” he wrote.
Ekweremadu contested against Adolphus Wabara and lost.
However, the position became vacant two years later after Wabara resigned following a corruption allegation levelled against him.
Ken Nnamani said the Enugu governor again ordered him to shelve his ambition for Ekweremadu but he declined this time.
“In the new race for senate president with only senators from my state, Enugu, potentially running, I felt confident that I stood in better stead than others to win and lead the distinguishing assembly.
“But again, my governor, Chimaroke Nnamani, appeared on the scene. Again, he advised… no, ordered… that I must not run but instead must support senator Ekweremadu.
“The audacity with which he delivered his directive was beyond belief. While ordering me to hands-off the race, he said, to my anger and utter consternation, that he had sent Ekweremadu to the senate specifically for that role,” Ken Nnamani wrote.
Ken Nnamani emerged Senate President in April 2005.
He added, “By my election to the seat of senate president, the senate was serving notice that it was ready to purge itself of puppet leadership.
“The senators were rebelling against what they saw as undue interference in their affairs by the executive.
“They clearly wanted an independent legislature as enshrined in the constitution. They saw in my emergence an opportunity to do that, to break free from the stranglehold of a domineering executive branch.
“By defying the executive and rejecting its interference in choosing its leadership, the Fifth senate metamorphosed from one in which the presidency remote-controlled its business, to one where senators were determined to carry out their law-making and oversight functions independently.”