Despite being detained in London, PDP appoints Ekweremadu member of Atiku’s campaign team

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has appointed a former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, as a member of the party’s 2023 Presidential Election Campaign Council, despite being detained in London over alleged organ harvesting. Mr Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice, were on 23 June arrested in the UK by London Met Police and charged with conspiracy to traffick a child to the United Kingdom to harvest his organs. The allegation offence is in violation of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, according to the country’s authorities. The couple has a daughter, Sonia, who has a kidney-related disease and has been on dialysis for some time, the prosecutors said. The police added that they believe the plan was to use an organ from the boy on their daughter who needs a kidney transplant.

In a turn of events, David Nwamini, the alleged victim of trafficking, told doctors he was 15 and was coerced by the Ekweremadus into donating his kidney.

However, the Nigerian government said all its records show that Mr Nwamini was not a minor but 21 years old. While his wife has been granted bail on stringent conditions, Mr Ekweremadu, whose bail application was rejected for being a flight risk, remains in custody in London.

Easterner learnt that the senator is expected to appear in court again on 31 October in continuation of his trial. But the PDP, in a document, obtained by Easterner, listed Mr Ekeremadu as part of the 325 members of the campaign council.

Mr Ekweremadu, who represents Enugu West District in the Senate, is a member of the PDP.

He hails from Mpu, a community in Aninri Local Government Area of Enugu State, South-east Nigeria. The Senator is number 27 on the list of members of the council. The document was signed by Mohammed Bature, the national organising secretary of the party. The Akwa- Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, was appointed as the chairman of the council, according to the document.

His Oyo State and Bauchi State counterparts, Seyi Makinde and Bala Mohammed will serve as the vice chairmen for the southern and northern regions of Nigeria, respectively.

The Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, was appointed as the Director-General of the council.

Wike also makes list

Beyond Mr Ekweremadu, another surprise figure who made the list was Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State. His appointment comes in the face of a lingering disagreement with the PDP leadership and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar. Mr Wike was a presidential aspirant of the PDP. He lost the party’s primary to Atiku. He had expected to become the vice-presidential candidate but was ditched by Atiku who, instead, picked Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa. The Rivers State governor was infuriated by Atiku’s action. He refused to congratulate Mr Okowa. He has accused the party of betraying him and breaching its constitution. He subsequently demanded the resignation of the party’s National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu – a criterion he said must be met before he supports Atiku in next year’s poll.

It is not clear, for now, if Mr Wike will accept his appointment into the council given that Mr Ayu is yet to resign as the party’s national chairman. The political campaign for the 2023 general elections is expected to kick off on 28 September.

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