Umahi to Ebonyi APC lords, We'll do appointment December


Governor David Umahi has met with the Ebonyi APC Chieftains, assuring them of his robust relationship when officially received by the party faithfuls in the state.

Umahi said APC will do appointment in December following his joining the party.

He made the disclosure while having a meeting with the party stakeholders at his country home, Uburu in Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi State where he clarified them on his planned defection to the party slated for this week on or before Friday.

"The APC government will do an appointment by December. We will open the horizon for the people of the South- East to say that ‘we belong’ and unite with our people in the North", Umahi said.

The state APC stakeholders who were in the meeting at Osborne hotel in the state where the governor expressed his readiness to dump PDP for APC within this week after months of speculation of his movement included Chairman Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Chief Elias Mbam, a former governorship candidate of Labour Party in Ebonyi state, Chief Edward Nkwegu; the member representing Ezza South/Ikwo Federal Constituency in the Green Chambers, Hon. Chinedu Ogah; Senator Julius Ucha, Senator Anthony Agbo and the state chairman of the APC, Pastor Eze Nwachukwu Eze.


NATIONAL PANEL learnt that the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu and a member of APC Board of Trustees (BoT), Chief Austin Igwe Edeze, were among the strong party lords who were absent during the meeting. 

According to New Telegraph, Umahi during the meeting, told the APC stakeholders that it was important to note that by 2023, Ndigbo would have served the PDP for over 20 years, but added that it was time “we started asking about the stake of the Igbo in Nigerian polity.


"You cannot sing the Lord’s song in a strange land unless in Zion.” The governor said he believes that a lot of openings will be up for ‘Ebonyians’ and Ndigbo in the APC, especially if there is an alliance between the South- East and the North. “We may be coming together as one people to fight a common enemy, which is ‘neglect.’ When we come together, there won’t be camps. I will not stand in the way of anyone."


He further said: “Ebonyi State in character and content is the symbol of unity, oneness and we are the symbol of onye aghala nwanne ya. In APC, there will be no victor and there will be no vanquished. I have met with the national leader and I have met with the president, there will be no camps. In this marriage there will be no camps."


The governor had earlier told his cabinet and state House of Assembly members as well as the 13 local government chairmen and 64 Development Centres Coordinators, of his plan to leave PDP to APC. Umahi had told PDP National Working Committee (NWC) at a meeting with him in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, that his defection to APC is irrevocable. The governor’s defection had been on the news for some time now.


A source at the PDP said the party had done everything it could to persuade him from leaving. “He has met with the National Chairman oneon- one twice.


The National Chairman, Uche Secondus, has led NWC members to meet with him. Party leaders at zonal level had met with him. But he insisted on leaving,” the source disclosed. Umahi’s defection is said to be propelled by his ambition to contest the 2023 presidency. The governor is believed to be interested in the nation’s Number One seat, and he sees his chance better in APC than PDP.

Another source said he is not necessarily eyeing the presidency, but the vice presidency slot in the event the APC retains its presidential ticket in the North.

Umahi told PDP NWC members led by Secondus, who met with him last week, to zone the party’s presidential ticket to South- East, as condition to remain in the party. But the PDP source told New Telegraph that “not one person, not even the NWC, will determine where the party will zone the ticket.” “When you are not in power, you don’t have much advantage.


The zoning in APC will determine where PDP will zone its presidential ticket in 2023. “If APC zones its ticket to South-West, PDP will go to the North; if APC zones to South-East, PDP will also zone to South-East and allow Nigerians to decide who becomes their president,” a PDP leader told one of our correspondents. The source confirmed that PDP will hold National Executive Council (NEC) meeting this week, but said zoning of presidency will not be a major item for discussion.


“The party set up a com mittee  headed by Bauchi State governor, Senator Bala Mohammed, to appraise PDP’s performance in 2019 general election. “The committee has been going round the country to meet with party elders. When the committee submits its report, the NWC will do two things: either set up another committee to study the report, or take the report to NEC.


“It is after this that the party will decide where its presidential candidate in 2023 will come from,” the source added. He disclosed that this week’s NEC meeting is about the party’s e-registration of its members.


Though, PDP NWC is persuading Umahi not to leave, New Telegraph gathered that party leaders in Ebonyi State want him to go, to allow them organise the party in the state. The governor is seen as overambitious by some of the party leaders.


He was PDP Chairman in Ebonyi State; he served as deputy governor for four years under former governor Martin Elechi, before being elected governor in 2015. “Since he became governor, Umahi has cornered choice positions for his family members: his elder brother, Abel, a retired Army General, is coordinator of South-East security outfit, while his  younger brother, Austin, is PDP South-East Zonal Chairman,” a source said. Party leaders in Ebonyi State did not see his defection to APC as a threat to the fortunes of PDP in the state. Even some of his cabinet members are not going with him to his new party.


He reportedly told members of the State Executive Council that they have two options; either to follow him to the APC or resign their appointments. Last week, two of his commissioners, Lazarus Ogbee, Inter-Governmental Affairs, and Mrs. Rebecca Ogbuewu, Woman Affairs and Social Development, resigned from the cabinet.


Also, a member representing Ezza South in the House of Assembly, Hon. Chris Usulor, said he would not follow the governor to APC. According to him, though the governor’s agitations for the next president to come from South-East is justified, such agitations could be done within the PDP and not necessarily in another party.

“That notwithstanding, personally I took a stand that having been in PDP since 1999, I find it difficult to move to another party this time around. I think that agitation, I believe within me, could be done in PDP too,” he said.


Ebonyi State House of Assembly had, at a press conference some weeks ago, given PDP leadership, seven-day ultimatum to zone 2023 presidency to South-East. Usulor, however, said there is no evidence or guarantee that the APC will zone its presidential ticket to the South-East.


Umahi wants to make his demand to look as if he is fighting for Igbo interest, but the source explained that what Ohanaeze Ndigbo is fighting for is for the two major political parties, APC and PDP, to zone their presidential tickets to South-East, as was the case in 1999 when the parties picked their candidates from South-West.


The governor, it was further gathered, was told by Buni-led APC National Caretaker Committee, to hasten his defection before next year’s national convention.


Already, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the planned registration of new members by the APC. PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, declined comment on the governor’s speculated defection, arguing that the party does not react to rumours. Former Speaker of Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Senator Julius Ucha, a chieftain of APC in the state, has described Umahi as a great asset to the party and the people of the South- East.

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