Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu must be watching with some trepidation the drama engulfing Senate President Bukola Saraki over the latter’s alleged false declaration of assets.
Saraki is in danger of being forced out of office if the Code of Conduct Tribunal finds him guilty of making a false asset declaration. Public officers in Nigeria are required to “submit to the Code of Conduct Bureau a written declaration of all his properties, assets, and liabilities and those of his unmarried children under the age of eighteen years.” This should be done immediately after taking office, at the end of every four years, and at the end of their term in office.
Saraki has claimed that his troubles are due to his becoming Senate President in controversial circumstances – against the wishes of the leadership of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
A handful of renegade APC senators connived with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senators to install Saraki. Part of that agreement with the PDP legislators saw Ekweremadu return as the Deputy Senate President, despite belonging to a minority party.
Ekweremadu’s elevation was viewed as even more unacceptable to the APC rank and file than Saraki’s. They have been trying to get rid of him ever since.
The Code of Conduct Tribunal/asset declaration could be used against Ekweremadu if that approach works against Saraki.
The senator for Enugu West started off as a lowly Chief of Staff to governor Chimaroke Nnamani in 2002. In 2003 he was (s)elected a senator and first became Deputy Senate President in 2007. Since then he has acquired a massive property portfolio in Enugu that includes: the Citi Park Luxury Hotel, 23, Umuano Street Independence Layout, Enugu, Modotel Hotels in Okpara Avenue, Enugu (previously owned by former vice president Alex Ekwueme, a multi-acre land at Nike for his private university, two mansions at Iyienu Street, Independence Layout, Enugu, a radio station, and three high rise buildings at Owerri Road, Enugu.
In addition, one source claimed that Ekweremadu owns “streets” in Enugu. He also owns a multi-room mansion with a swimming pool in Barnet, north London, estimated to be worth at least £5m.
It is very unlikely that Ekweremadu would have self-incriminated by declaring any of these assets that were most likely acquired via corrupt means. In 2013 a group called the Enugu Salvation Group (ESG) had called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate Ekweremadu for acquiring so much real estate in 12 years as a senator.