Hon Ben Alukwu explodes on chances of Senator Prof Ike Ekweremadu in 2019 General Elections

Hon Ben Alukwu was the immediate Past Chairman of Ani Nri Local Government area of Enugu State. Alukwu has been a successful businessman before venturing into politics in his State.

He hails from a family that thrives in transport business. At his latter age, he converted the transport business to a construction company which metamorphosed to his conglomerate of Auto and Construction companies. The company known as SOARS Auto Company Nigeria limited, runs a dealership of about four major companies in Nigeria including Tapper Ford Automotive, Mitsubishi, Suzuki and Peugeot. All these vehicles in south East are under SOARS Auto Company Nigeria limited.

In this interview with Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Alukwe dares anyone who attempts to truncate Ike Ekweremmadu’s 5th term bid to the senate. He warned those spreading fake news and hate speeches against DSP to stop or have him to contend with. 
Excerpts:

His journey

I am a politician of repute in Enugu state and beyond. I have been actively involved in politics since 1979 when my father contested for the Ani Nri/ Oji River federal constituency. He contested for House of Representatives but he lost to the candidate of the Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP) and since then, I became much interested in politics.

I played an active role in 1983 during the time of NPN and NRC when Jim Nwobodo was floored by Chief CC Onoh. I continued in 1987, after which we installed Dr. Sam Orji as the Local Government Chairman of Enugu in 1990. I was also one of the kingpins that installed Mr. GB Onoh as the chairman of the Enugu North Local government.

Apparently, in 1991 and 1992 when a new Local government was created, I re-launched back my political empire down to my local government. In 1992 and 93, however, I was appointed the state chairman of tax force on recovery of government properties in Enugu state by His Excellency, Dr. Emmanuel Okwesilieze Nwodo. So, since 1993 to date, I have been playing active politics in Nigeria. I happened to come from Ani Nri Local Government where the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremmadu hails from and sometime in 1999, I was appointed by the Governor of Enugu state, as the chairman of Enugu state Transport Cooperation, known as ENTRACO. Later in 2001, I was also appointed as the Administrator of Ani Nri West Development Centre. I come from Nenwe in Ani Nri Local Government.

In 2007, I became the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Enugu state, Barr. Sullivan Iheanacho Chime on Political Matters. Since then, we have been watching the political space, until I was appointed the Caretaker chairman of Ani Nri Local Government by the present Governor of Enugu state, His Excellency, Dr. Ifeanyichukwu Ugwuanyi (Gburu Gburu). But I left just few months ago after handing over to the present chairman.


You seem to be very passionate about Senator Ekweremmadu’s political elevation. Which aspect of his political ideologies interest you most?

With due respect to the politics of Nigeria today, I always believe that honour should be accorded to whom honour is due. In the life of the Deputy Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Ikechukwu Ekweremmadu, I should align myself with his style of politics being so cool headed as a politician.

In Enugu West today and in the entire South Eastern part of Nigeria, his name rings a bell because of his perception and attitude to politics. Sequel to this, Enugu state stakeholders on the 14th of April, honoured the Deputy Senate President alongside the Enugu state Governor and other national Assembly members from Enugu West. This honour was accorded to them by the entire five local government Areas of Enugu West local government of Enugu state. He was endorsed to go back to the senate and I beat my chest to say that the entire Enugu west senatorial district have taken it as a decision that he must go back to the senate. In as much as our votes in Enugu state will count, Enugu West citizens gave him that mandate and it has permeated to all the politicians both in the ruling party and the opposition party.

You mean DSP Ike Ekweremadu has no opposition in the 2019 contest?

He doesn’t have any opposition. He was endorsed without prejudice. Other serving members at the Federal House of representative are lucky as they too got same endorsement as Ekweremadu including Hon. Toby Okechukwu representing Ani Nri/ Awgu/ Orji River federal constituency and Hon. Dennis Oguerinwa Amadi representing Udi/Eziagu federal constituency. These members actually earned the endorsement because of their quality representation and help of Senator Ike Ekweremmadu. We can stand on our feet and thank God for giving us somebody like Prof Ike Ekweremmadu who has joined the Enugu State governor to change the face of Enugu state.

The State governor, Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Ike Ekweremmadu and other national Assembly members from Enugu West Senatorial zone in Enugu state including Toby Okehukwu and Hon. Dennis Oguerinwa Amadi were endorsed for second term. They earned it and we will continue to support them.

Our Governor, Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has nothing to fear in our senatorial zone because he has our votes 100 percent.

What happened the day they were endorsed?

It was a peace rally and everybody was in support of their re-election. You recall that the former Enugu state governor Chief Sullivan Chime pulled out from PDP and joined APC. But at the peace rally, all his supporters who moved from PDP to APC with him declared for PDP that day and we are optimistic that Chime will return because he went for an errand in APC and will return very soon. More than 6,000 members of Chime’s supporters from Enugu West are now back to PDP.

You said that the political character and attitude of Prof Ekweremmadu earned him respect and endorsement for re-election but why is it that some people are still fighting him?

What they are doing is political witch hunting since they could not see anything to indict him or poll him down. Their gang up is operation pull him down. They moved into his personal life, his financial data, his wellbeing but they don’t know anything. They don’t know that any time, any day even if they push Prof Ike Ekweremadu to prison, Enugu West will still be behind Ekweremmadu. Whatever that happens to him, he will still be our Senator come 2019 to 2023 and I am sure of that. We love him and he loves us dearly. He is our voice and that of Enugu state if not Ndigbo in Nigerian politics. He has never been compromised and all these rantings won’t distract him one bit.

What do you think is the problem of former Enugu state chief Judge that is being accused of witch hunting Ekweremmadu?

Those things are just politics. It is a diversion of personal problem to the one who the chief judge believes has the sagacity of creating such problems. The truth is that Prof Ekweremadu who I know that has true Igbo character cannot be involved in the suspension of the former Chief Judge of Enugu State. I believe that there are more things behind that which has nothing to do with Ike Ekweremmadu. I know very well that a panel was set, headed by the Chief Judge of Ebonyi State, Chief Alloy Nwankwo who clearly hand precision details of what the panel did as regards the chief judge of Enugu state. I have not seen how Ekweremmmadu could be involved in that matter.

Do you think all these are because of 2019?

Exactly, that is because of 2019. All these things happening now are part of the 2019 fever and despite the fever, Ekweremmadu is going back because he remains one of the senators in Nigeria that is down to earth, closer to the grassroots and maintains cordial relationship with his state governor. He has distinguished himself in the senate and Nigerian politics. He is part of the success story of Enugu state today. He contributed a lot in making Enugu one of the very calm areas because he takes care of the problems of all the people in the West and discusses their matter with the governor. The Enugu state governor is very comfortable with him. Enugu west senatorial zone are also very comfortable with him.

But some people still see him as a very arrogant and pompous politician?

He is never arrogant and I can bet my life for that. He is so humane and down to earth. Even you can call him now and he will return your call which others don’t do. He is one of the high ranking legislators that is very accessible.

Ugwuanyi on his part is a charismatic leader. He carries everybody along and that is what fetched him our endorsement which is 5 over 13 including his senatorial zone. I don’t think Ugwuanyi has a contender. I am sure that APC will not field a candidate for governorship. I am very sure of that unless they want to fill in the blank spaces.

Any political party that is fielding a candidate for governor in Enugu state is just wasting their time and resources because the person or party can’t even win any ward or local government in Enugu state.  Enugu state is like a family and once we take a decision, it becomes sacrosanct and our decision is that our working governor and the senator of the Enugu West senatorial zone shall go back for 2019 including members of the National Assembly in Enugu West senatorial zone.

If people continue to accuse Deputy Senate President unjustly, what will you do?

Let me first of all alert all Nigerians and his traducers and critics that I am now prepared to put a challenge to any person who wants to mar his image that took him years to build or truncate his chances of returning to the senate. I am prepared to fight back. Let this serve as a warning to all political never do wells. Let us all join hands to support such a character to push him to a higher level that is above Enugu West senatorial ambition. He is already a presidential material, considering his age and what he has put down in the entire South East. His wealth of experiences in nation building is enough for Nigerians to consider him for President.
Hon Ben Alukwu explodes on chances of Senator Prof Ike Ekweremadu in 2019 General Elections Hon Ben Alukwu explodes on chances of Senator Prof Ike Ekweremadu in 2019 General Elections Reviewed by Odogwu Emeka Odogwu on Sunday, May 06, 2018 Rating: 5

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