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The former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has formally withdrawn from Enugu State governorship race after failing to clinch the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Ekweremadu announced his withdrawal from the race in a statement on Thursday.
The lawmaker said he had made plans and developed strategies to transform the state but regretted that some persons conspired against him and “planted landmines” to frustrate his rescue and transformation mission in the state.
He said he also witnessed “betrayals and high level of ingratitude” in his journey, but said he remained focused on his vision for the state.
“After considering the current security situation in the South-east region and the need not to put anybody in harms way by a foreseeable combustive political environment, as my ambition is not worth the life of any Enugu son or daughter, I, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, hereby formally withdraw from the 2023 gubernatorial contest in Enugu State. I congratulate Peter Mbah and wish him success,” he declared.
He said he took the decision after holding wide consultations with some elders of the party and his political associates across the country.
While declaring his interest to contest for the position in March, the lawmaker had rolled out his roadmap for the development of the state which he christened, “My agenda for Enugu State: A pathway to a new Enugu State.”
But the lawmaker stressed that he had received “assurances” from the governorship candidate of the PDP in the state, Mbah, that he would integrate the roadmap in his programme for the state as well as ensure participation of everybody in his government.
Ekweremadu expressed pain that some of his supporters were killed and others injured in attacks by his supposed political opponents who were determined to frustrate his ambition.
He lauded his campaign team and those who have supported his ambition for governor in the state assuring that “the light will never go out.”
Ekweremadu had, hours before the PDP’s governorship primaries in the state, announced his withdrawal from the exercise, citing manipulation of the delegates list.
Before then, the lawmaker had been in a face-off with the leadership of the party and the state governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, over their insistence on respecting zoning arrangement in the party.
The party had announced the zoning of its governorship ticket to Enugu East District.
But Ekweremadu, who hails from Aninri, in Enugu West District, had repeatedly kicked against the zoning arrangement; insisting that there was no such agreement in the state.
Mbah, who hails from Owo in Nkanu West Council Area, Enugu East District, later emerged winner in the party’s governorship primary.
Following Ekweremadu’s inability to clinch the party’s governorship ticket ahead of the 2023 general election, he made contact with the All Progressive Congress and All Progressive Grand Alliance over a possible switch to either of the opposition parties.