By Kingsley Ubani
The Senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial District, Uche Ekwunife, PhD, has stated her reasons for taking leave from the maden 2023 Anambra Political Dialogue held on Thursday, February 16, 2023.
Ekwunife who arrived at Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre, Awka, the venue of the debate on the scheduled time, had to discontinue the debate because the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Hon Dozie Nwankwo was allowed to join the dialogue after he arrived more than two hours late.
“We were all given the schedule for this debate, and we all confirmed our attendance. I had to reschedule most of my campaign activities for today because of the importance and value I place on debates and events of this nature, however, I consider it unacceptable that the candidate of APGA will be allowed to mount the podium, more than two hours after we have started. For me, this is a bad precedent”, the federal lawmaker said.
The Senator also argued that the candidate of the Labour Party, Senator Victor Umeh by virtue of the nullification of his candidacy by the Federal High Court and consequent order of court barring him from campaigning or parading himself as a candidate should not have been invited for the event. She stressed that as a serving lawmaker, she cannot be seen participating in a process that does not align with the law, urging the organizers to excuse Senator Victor Umeh to guarantee a lawful debate.
“We are lawmakers and aspiring lawmakers, and must at all times be law-abiding. I did not oppose the Labour Party Candidate’s presence at the debate at the initial stage because I waited to make my case while it is clear that he is actively involved in the debate”, the PDP Senatorial Candidate stressed before quietly leaving the premises of the occasion.
Also raising a point of argument in favour of Ekwunife was the candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), Barr Helen Mbakwe who argued that Hon Dozie Nwankwo should not be allowed into the debate after coming in late. Barr. Mbakwe in her submission said that the rules of debates are clear and that no one should be given preferential treatment (referring to the admission of the APGA candidate). “If we must succeed in our quest towards building a new Nigeria, then we must be firm in executing and implementing our set rules”, Mbakwe added.
Before the incident, Senator Ekwunife had taken about three questions, highlighting her achievements in the National Assembly, while showing mastery and understanding of the responsibilities and functions of a lawmaker. She conveyed her message of hope and consolidation to the gathering through the eloquent articulation of her antecedents and plans for Ndi Anambra Central.