- APC South East leaders blocks his entry into party
The much reported defection of the Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr Dave Umahi of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) may not happen after all as he is being blocked by other interests especially by South East bigwigs of the ruling party.
The planned move may have also pitched the high performing Governor with the top leaders of the two main political parties in the State. While the APC blocked his entry, PDP leaders wish he moves quickly out of the party.
Global Upfront Newspapers (GUN) gathered that the Governor is already seeking a gradual U- turn to remain fully in PDP since APC leaders both in the State and in the South East caucus are not enthusiastic about receiving him.
Meanwhile PDP National leaders were expected to be in Ebonyi State capital Abakaliki this week to discuss with the Governor over a soft landing since the APC project appear to have crashed.
GUN learnt that the APC leaders in the region like the Ministers of Science and Technology (Dr Ogbonnaya Onu) from his State; Labour and Productivity (Dr Chris Ngige) from Anambra and Minister of State for Education (Chief Emeka Nwajiuba) from Imo State and others felt slighted as they were not consulted. Members of National Assembly from the South East echoed the same sentiment of not being considered for consultation over the movement to the ruling party.
Our source said that Governor Umahi had negotiated his entry into the party directly with the President who he sees as his personal friend and decided to ignore other leaders from the zone.
GUN learnt that none of the three factions of the APC at the national level is willing to have Umahi whom they believe is coming for the Presidential ticket being eyed by leaders of the interest groups.
Even as Umahi realizes the danger of leaving PDP for APC and ready to recoil, some top leaders of the party in the State are praying fervently that he goes and even urging the party leadership at the national level to push him away.
GUN recalls that the talk for the Governor’s defection grew stronger after his visit to the Presidential Villa last month and was congratulated by an APC legislator from his state.
Even though he denied it, the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, through their Speaker, apparently acting on his behalf in a press conference, gave seven days ultimatum to the national leadership of the PDP to announce the zoning of the 2023 Presidency to the South East or face rebellion.
GUN source said that the Ebonyi PDP asking for impossible at this time was trying to find grounds for their defection as they believe their leader the Governor was promised Presidential ticket in the APC.
Ebonyi State PDP romance with the APC began before the 2019 general election when an Anambra billionaire summoned all Ebonyi traditional rulers to tell them that President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to hand over to their son, Governor Umahi, in 2023 and therefore they should cooperate with him.
As a result, there was a design to let the President earn at least 25 per cent of the votes in Ebonyi State, an electoral fraud that was eventually allegedly executed after 98 per cent of Ebonyi people had voted for the PDP.
Governor Umahi’s initial move to defect to the APC with members of his State Executive Council, State House of Assembly and PDP State executive committee was to get what the PDP cannot offer him, which is the Presidential ticket of the party in 2023.
And the matter was made worse for the Governor by the fact that PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus recently said that every zone is open to contest the Presidency of the party in 2023. To him, this did not give hope to hiss dream of becoming the President of Nigeria.
GUN learnt that his APC friends, including the President’s henchmen, have told him that he needs to crossover early enough to be able to benefit from the 2023 power game.
The whistle was blown on the defection plans by the member representing Ezza South/Ikwo Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Honourable Chinedu Ogah, on Saturday, who said that “yes, Governor Umahi’s defection to our great party, APC is a step in the right direction. We cannot afford to remain in opposition. We must join the ruling party to continue to reap the dividends of democracy.
“I am calling on other Governors in South East to toe the line of Governor Umahi and join APC. We have to be at the centre, we have to join the mainstream politics for overall development of our zone and the country in general. President Muhammadu Buhari has done well. Everybody should join the APC to encourage him.”
But the Governor, in a Press Statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Francis Nwaze, in Abakaliki, denied Umahi’s defection to APC, saying that “the news is a product of a figment of imagination on the part of the carriers as Governor Umahi was, is, and is still flying the flag of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). It is, however, difficult to observe how people are easily persuaded to believe in fake dummies in the name of rumours.
“If for any reason, Governor Umahi wishes to leave Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), it will be officially communicated and can never be a product from rumour mongers,” he stated.
When also contacted for his reaction, the Ebonyi State APC Chairman, Pastor Eze Nwachukwu Eze, said that the party’s doors are open to welcome Governor Umahi and others to the fold.
“We will not be against him joining APC, though nothing has suggested such to me or my office and none of our national leaders has communicated us to that effect. We, however, want our party to grow, spread its ideology over Nigeria and make Nigerians believe that it is the party to identify with,” he said.