Umahi challenges PDP to zone 2023 presidential ticket to S’East
By Jonathan Asikason
The executive governor of Ebonyi state and the chairman of the South East Governors’ Forum, Engr. Dave Umahi, has challenged the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to put him to shame by zoning the 2023 presidential ticket to the South East. He emphasised that “injustice to the South East was injustice to all.”
Governor Umahi stated this when the Senate Chief Whip and former governor of Abia state, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, hosted him to dinner in Abuja at the weekend. He urged PDP to desist from attacking his person and consider the issue that made him leave the party.
“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.”
Gov. 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, Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu dismissed as untrue the media reports that they were not happy that Umahi joined APC. He clarified that if anybody should be happy about Umahi’s defection that it should be South East APC; while also noting 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 defecting to APC. The group maintained that the move would enhance the quest for Nigerian president of Igbo extraction come 2023.