I contested to protest mace theft, Ekweremadu says after losing Deputy Senate Presidency

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Ike Ekweremadu, former deputy Senate President, has said his decision to contest again for the position at the formation of the 9th Senate is to protest against the invasion of the National Assembly last year.

Mr Ekweremadu who did not indicate interest to aspire for the position until few hours to the election of principal officers at the National Assembly was nominated by his colleagues at the red chamber.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker was however defeated by the preferred candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Senator Ovie Omo-Agege.

Mr Omo-Agege was alleged to have led thugs to invade and cart away the symbolic power of the red chamber last year.

Despite being indicted by the Senate committee that investigated the incident, the APC lawmaker was not prosecuted.

Mr Ekweremadu presided over plenary when the thugs struck and took away the mace from the red chamber. The upper legislative chamber symbol of power was later found under a bridge in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

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Addressing journalists after the election, the Enugu lawmaker said he contested the election as a protest against his colleague who had abducted the mace while he presided over plenary.

Omo-Agege is the only contestant for the position and would have been chosen as a consensus candidate for the position had the PDP lawmaker challenged him.

“Look at what happened on a day I was presiding and chambers invaded. It is embarrassing that someone who led that operation will take a bow and is endorsed and we all walk home like it doesn’t matter,” Ekweremadu said.

“I wanted a situation where we could present a referendum in respect of what transpired.

“Early this morning, we were not minded to run for any office, we thought that our friends in APC in consensus candidate that we can all be proud of, we don’t want a situation where we will say what happened here and you came and endorsed same person Deputy President of the Senate.

“We need to exonerate ourselves. It was not a contest to win or lose, I wanted to make a statement,” he added.

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The former deputy Senate President who was first elected to the red chamber in 2003 has been winning his re-election and has been occupying the position at the upper legislative chamber since 2007 until the expiration of the 8th Senate last week.