Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu has boasted that he could remain in the Nigerian Senate “forever” if he so desired.
Ekweremadu said this at an event on Thursday in Abuja, tying his boast to his being in touch with his constituents.
The dialogue themed, “Youth Candidacy and the Future of Nigeria Beyond 2019”, is a series of political engagements aimed at broadening the political participation of young Nigerians ahead of the 2019 elections. It was organised by the #NotTooYoungToRun movement.
It was also at the event that Senate President Bukola Saraki declared his presidential ambition.
“I’m in total touch with my people and that is why if I want to remain in senate forever, I will,” Mr Ekweremadu told young aspirants on the platform of PDP.
He charged the aspirants to always connect with their immediate constituencies, adding that it was the only way to remain relevant in politics.
“PDP is not a home for urban politicians, for young people,” he said.
“If you want to participate in politics, you have to pay your dues and the best place to pay your dues is your local community. That is where we all started from.
“Don’t think you will go to the House of Reps or House of Assembly by running around Wadada Plaza, it’s not going to work.”
Meanwhile Ekweremadu on Friday denied claimed he was misquoted. In a statement posted via his Facebook handle, he said that ‘boasting is not in his character’.
Full statement below:
I read news story by some online media misrepresenting me as boasting that I could be in the Senate forever if I wanted. However, such boastful attitude attributed to me is not in my character. I was only mentoring the youth that they needed to be rooted at the grassroots and relate closely with their immediate constituencies to achieve their political dreams, using myself as an example. My advice was taken out of context.
I have always seized opportunities of meeting the youth and other aspiring politicians, who consult me on their political ambitions against the erroneous notion that they must have a godfather in Abuja or the party to succeed in politics.
Much as I played a key role in ensuring that the Not-Too-Young-To-Run Bill succeeded and even wanted 18 years as age qualification to run for office, I have always advised my mentees that it is erroneous to hope to win elections relying only on the fact that they are young. I always advise them to start from somewhere, preferably the grassroots and remain with people even when elected.
In my case, I served as Chairman of my age grade association at ten and served so many years as the President of my community’s town union before serving as the pioneer Chairman of my Local Government Area (LGA), etc. So, I used the opportunity of the public dialogue themed ‘Youth Candidacy and the Future of Nigeria Beyond 2019’ organised by the Not-Too-Young-To-Run movement to share my personal experience, reiterating that the secret of my political staying power lies in relating closely with my constituents, making myself accessible to them, and ensuring justice and equity in the distribution of opportunities and development projects.
I said that so long as I continued on this path, my people would always want me to run, ready to re-elect me as many times as I am willing to present myself. This is a verifiable fact. This is despite the fact that my town, Mpu, is the smallest in my LGA, and my LGA is the least in Enugu West Senatorial. And that is the more reason I remain humble about it and most grateful to my people, who are my primary employers and above all to God to whom all power belongs, and whose grace has no doubt brought me this far.
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