1 February 2013

Nigeria: With Grandchildren Around, Senator Ararume Worries Less


Senator Ifeanyi Godwin Ararume says he relaxes by working out and spending time with his grandchildren, writes Anayo Okolie

He had just finished watching the Nigeria-Ethiopia match which ended 2-0 in favour of the Super Eagles of Nigeria at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa, on Tuesday. An off-the-turf chat with Senator Ifeanyi Godwin Ararume was just on time because, example of what he does to calm nerves and keep off the stress of engaging politics just gave itself in.

A proud grandfather, Ararume, often times relaxes with his grandchildren - a volition that gives him as much pride and peace of mind. He does not take for granted, time with his grandchildren because everyone is not as favoured. And given his status, it is only responsible to embrace certain initiatives that typify age, status and class.

Apart from this, Ararume engages in several other activities to rejuvenate. In addition to gymnastics, he also jogs within prescribed health limits.

"When I am not playing politics, I indulge in some in-door and out-door activities. I have a gym in my house where I go mostly in the morning to shake out stress and keep fit. Sometimes, I jog but I love watching soccer with my grandchildren or my friends, depending on where I am. We just finished watching the Nigeria versus Ethiopia match.

"Another thing I do when I am not playing politics is spend good time with my family. My children are adults and some of them are married with children. So, whenever they are around, I spent time with my grandchildren," Ararume said with high sense of fulfillment.

An old-hand in the business of politics, Ararume was elected Senator on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to represent Imo North senatorial district in 1999.

As senator, Ararume had served in key committees like Communications, Police Affairs, Federal Character, Finance & Appropriation, Information and Niger Delta where he was Senate Committee Vice Chairman. Thus, his re-election in April 2003 is believed to have been informed by his performance in his first outing.

A frontline politician in Imo politics, there was a pervasive belief in the countdown to 2007 that Ararume might succeed former governor, Chief Achike Udenwa as a result of his involvement in high wire politics of the state and national. He was soon schemed out of reckoning in a process believed to have been orchestrated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

In the PDP nomination process, Ararume was replaced by Engineer Charles Ugwu, a decision he protested and even secured a Supreme Court ruling in his favour. The deep-seated wrangling in the party however left the field open for Chief Ikedi Ohakim of the Progressive People Alliance (PPA) who later emerged governor of the state in 2007.

Outcome of that saga notwithstanding, Ararume held the belief that it was Obasanjo who stood in his way for not supporting his third term ambition.

He was once quoted in a report as saying thus: "He wanted me to support him during his 3rd term tenure declaration, were he gave me and other senators 5billion. After he lost the support from senators, he requested that I should return the money to him which I refused. I told him that the money was from the PTDF and was meant for the people. He now said it was not possible for me to contest for election and I challenged him. That was all.

"We started the legal fireworks up to the Supreme Court and they had nothing to use against me so as to stop me. If they had, they would have used it since they wanted to stop me at all cost. What Obasanjo did to me, he did to others in Sokoto, where Shagari won the primaries and was asked to step down for the current governor to become the deputy. It happened in Niger, Rivers, Yobe and some other states. The difference is that I challenged it. Amaechi also did and I am happy I did what I did," Ararume said.

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