Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja and Geoffrey Anyanwu, Enugu
Ebonyi Governor, David Umahi, has challenged the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to put him to shame by zoning the 2023 presidential ticket to the South East.
This was even as the Chairman of the South East Governors’ Forum told the PDP to stop attack on his person, saying there was no basis for it.
The chairman of the South East Governors’ Forum, who spoke when the Senate Chief Whip and former governor of Abia, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, hosted him to dinner in Abuja at the weekend, declared that his coming to the APC is a miracle in the region.
Umahi recalled his promise to the All Progressives Congress (APC) that he was not going to attack the PDP in anyway, insisting that he stood by that promise and was also not going to be part of the destruction of the opposition party.
He, however, said the fact remained that when he left the PDP, he did not say it had done injustice to him, emphasising that injustice to the South East was injustice to all.
“I will advise them to stop the attack on me, on my person. They don’t really have anything on me. They don’t. When they said the party made me, no! It is the people that make party not the party that makes people. This is very important because without our collective effort, the PDP will be dead in our zone.
“So, I will ask them to address the very issue why I left PDP; and that is the fact that we have no future as South East people in PDP. Let them address it. If you ask anybody why the South East people are so passionate about the PDP, they will tell you it is our party. Have we ever negotiated with anybody who is going to be the presidential candidate of any of the political parties? The answer is no. It is bad politics.
“Since people deserve our votes, we should at the same time put them to a task. And in my life, I have always competed with my peers and so, it is very bad that we have supported PDP. The founding father of PDP is Dr. Alex Ekueme, former vice president…I believe strongly that the PDP will do the needful by putting me to shame by ceding the presidential ticket to the South East. And this is just my aim. I never said give it to me. There are many, many Igbo leaders who are much, much better than me and more qualified. But as their younger one, we should watch their back.”
Umahi added that his former party had every right to be angry, even as he said he was not going to join any issues with them.
“When people speculate that I am coming to do this and do that, I just laugh because I continue to say that 2023, by God’s special grace, I would have been a governor for eight years and that is enough for me and I would have to bow out to face my business. So, those who are already speculating are wasting their time. Every man has got his destiny and then, a charter of life.”
Umahi appreciated Senator Kalu and other Igbo leaders both in the APC and outside it for the “miracle” that has just taken place in the South East.
Speaking earlier, Kalu dismissed media reports that they were not happy that Umahi joined APC as untrue.
He added that if anybody was happy about Umahi joining the APC, the South East APC was the happiest people, while also saying he believed that collectively, they had a lot to do to the South East zone.
“My advice is that we must go with all our leaders. All our leaders must be involved. We are not going to leave anybody. We are not going to leave Ngige, we are not going to leave Ogbonnaya Onu, we are going to leave the Honourable Minister of Mines, the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Minister Sharon, the Honourable Minister Nwajiuba, Hope Uzodinma, Rochas Okorocha, everybody. Ken Nnamani is already on board because he represents us in the party executive,” Kalu said.
Meanwhile, the Zikist-Buharist-Movement (ZBM) South East, has said Umahi’s defection would open the floodgate for northern and eastern regions alliance.
The group, in a statement by Stanley Ohajiruka and Mr. Godwin Onwusi, chairman and secretary, respectively, commended Umahi for jettisoning personal interest for the good of the region adding that his move would enhance the quest for Nigerian president of Igbo extraction in 2023.
“Politics is a game of numbers. Today, Ebonyi has left the leaking umbrella of the PDP to the golden broom of the APC, tomorrow we are expecting Abia, Anambra, Enugu and others from the South South, including the big fish from the Niger Delta.”