Timeline: Who is Ike Ekweremadu?
Recently, news broke that one of Nigeria’s former lawmakers, Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice were arrested and arraigned before a United Kingdom court. According to reports, the couple was charged with allegations around organ harvesting.
Here is what you should know about the former lawmaker.
Ike Ekweremadu, a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, was born on May 12, 1962 in Amachara Mpu Village in Enugu State’s Aninri Local Government Area.
He was born into the royal family of His Royal Highness, Late Igwe Mathias Ekweremadu, the Okwaa Anekeoji 1 of Mpu in Enugu State’s Aninri Local Government Area.
He completed his secondary education at St. Dominic’s Secondary School in Ugiri, Imo State, and Boys Secondary School in Umueze Awkunanaw, where he earned a Grade 1 in the West African School Certificate.
Ike Ekweremadu was admitted to the Nigerian Bar in 1987 after studying law at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). He later pursued his Masters degree at the same university. Following that, he received his Doctorate from the University of Abuja.
He is married to Lady Nwanneka Ekweremadu, with whom he has four children.
Ike Ekweremadu’s political career began at the grass roots level, when he served as the Chairman of the Mpu Town Union in Enugu State. He was then elected Chairman of the Aninri Local Government Council.
In 1997, his exceptional performance earned him the title of Best Council Chairman of the Year.
1999 – 2002
Having amassed an impressive political resume at the grassroots level, Ekweremadu was appointed Chief of Staff, Enugu State Government House, and later Secretary to the Government of Enugu State, a position he held until 2002.
Ike Ekweremadu ran for Senate for the first time in 2003 and was elected. He was elected as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to represent the Enugu West Senatorial District on the Peoples Democratic Party platform (PDP).
As Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Information in September 2003, Chief Ekweremadu stated that the Senate would conduct a thorough investigation into bribery allegations leveled by Federal Capital Territory (FCT) minister Mallam Nasir el-Rufai.
Senator Kenechukwu Nnamani defeated Ike Ekweremadu in the race for President of the Senate of Nigeria in 2005.
As the spokesperson for the Southern Senators’ Forum in July 2006, Ekweremadu denied allegations that they had reached an agreement to return power to the North in the 2007 elections.
President Olusegun Obasanjo asked the Senate in September 2006 to review a report by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission that accused Vice President Atiku Abubakar of fraud. Ike Ekweremadu promised to form a committee of inquiry whose report would be submitted to the Senate, though he noted that impeachment would be difficult because a 2/3 majority would be required.
In the April 29, 2007 Nigerian National Assembly election, Ekweremadu was re-elected as deputy senate president. He was tasked with allocating committee chairmanship positions to the southeast zone, making decisions that were unpopular with leaders such as Senator Chris Anyanwu, who did not receive the positions they desired.
In July 2007, Ekweremadu was instrumental in defusing opposition to Ojo Maduekwe’s controversial nomination to a ministerial position.
It is worth noting that he was re-elected in both the 2007 and 2011 senatorial elections.
Ike Ekweremadu was named co-chairman of a committee charged with conducting primary elections for the Peoples Democratic Party’s governorship candidate in Anambra State in September 2009.
He was appointed to lead ECOWAS, the Economic Community of West African States, in September 2009. And was a member of an ad hoc committee tasked with restoring constitutional order in the Niger Republic.
He was elected First Deputy Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament and became the regional parliament’s Speaker in August 2011. In 2011, he was re-elected as Deputy President of the Senate.
In the 2015 senatorial elections, he ran again and was re-elected to represent Enugu West Senatorial District in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He also retained his position as Deputy President of the Senate.
On February 23, 2019, Ekweremadu was re-elected as senator representing the Enugu West senatorial district for the fifth time in a row, with 86,088 votes, defeating his closest rival, Mrs Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who received 15,187 votes.
On June 11, 2019, Ekweremadu was defeated in his bid to become Deputy Senate President of Nigeria’s 9th Senate. Ekweremadu faced off against Ovie Omo-Agege, who won with 68 votes.
Ekweremadu indicated that he will leave the Nigerian Senate by not running for re-election in 2023, after spending 20 years as a senator.
On August 17, 2019, while attending the Second Annual Cultural Festival and Convention organized by Ndi-Igbo Germany in Nuremberg, Ekweremadu was the victim of a violent attack when members of the Indigenous People of Biafra IPOB stormed the venue and began questioning Ekweremadu about the killings of Igbos during Operation Crocodile Smile and Python Dance by the Nigerian army.
They also questioned Ekweremadu about his alleged role in the expulsion of IPOB from Nigeria. The situation quickly devolved to the point where Ekweremadu was physically dragged from the venue, assaulted, and pelted with eggs. He would later announce that he had escaped the venue unscathed.
Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of IPOB, issued a statement on the attack on Ekweremadu, calling it a “polite warning” and warning other Igbo governors of possible similar treatment.
The four suspects were charged with physical assault and sentenced to 20 days of hard labor without the option of a fine.
On June 23, 2022, Ekweremadu and his wife Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu were charged with conspiring to bring a child into the UK to harvest organs. An investigation had been ongoing since May 2022, when the Metropolitan Police were informed of potential violations of modern slavery legislation,.
According to the prosecutor, a 15-year-old homeless boy was transported from Lagos to Heathrow with the intent of harvesting kidneys because one of Ekweremadu’s daughters has kidney disease.
On June 21, the couple was discovered with £20,000 in cash before boarding a flight to Turkey.
On June 23, Mr. and Mrs. Ekweremadu were denied bail, and the case was adjourned until July 7, although they deny the charges.
Senator Ike Ekweremadu has received numerous awards, honors, and traditional titles.
He was made a Knight of the Order of the Good Shepherd by the Diocese of Enugu (Anglican Communion); he received the Dr. Kwame Nkrumah Africa Leadership Award; and he was awarded a Doctor of Laws, LLD, (Honoris Causa) by the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
Among his traditional titles are the Ochiagha Ndigbo (Generalissimo of Igboland) bestowed upon him by Eze Nri, the custodian of Igbo culture and tradition, and the Ikeoha Ndigbo (Pride and Strength of Ndigbo) bestowed upon him by the South East Council of Traditional Rulers. He is also a Commander of the Federal Republic, a national honor (CFR).