Barring a last minute change of mind, Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi may have finalized plans to get rid of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Umahi reportedly sealed his imminent transfer to the APC during meetings in October 2020 in Abuja with APC leaders, including President Muhammadu Buhari.
Umahi was elected governor on the PDP platform and is currently serving his second term.
The member representing Ikwo / Ezza South Federal Constituency on the APC platform, Hon. Chinedu Ogah, was the first to break the news in a statement praising Umahi for the “bold decision”.
Umahi’s action confirmed the rumor when, upon his arrival from Abuja, he held separate closed-door meetings with members of the Ebonyi State Assembly, council chairs, and state PDP executives, among others, during which he reportedly informed them of his planned defection to APC.
Apparently acting on Umahi’s script, the Assembly members held a press conference the following week and gave PDP national leaders seven days to call the NEC meeting and locate the party’s presidential position in 2023 in the southeast, warning of the “serious consequences” if the party did not comply.
PDP’s Ebonyi State Working Committee (SWC) 24 hours later (Tuesday, October 20, 2020 to be precise) also held a press conference making the same demand from PDP’s national leadership. He cautioned that no other arrangement would be acceptable.
On why the lawsuit came so early, Ebonyi State PDP Chairman Barr. Onyekachi Nwebonyi said that the body languages of the powers that be in the PDP had shown that they had no plans to cede the presidential office to the area.
The demands of the two institutions, analysts say, are a smokescreen to pave the way for the imminent exodus from PDP to APC in the state.
Evening meetings have also been held at various levels in the APC and PDP camps with the aim of tightening up loose ends in preparation for Umahi’s defection.
For example, some APC stakeholders recently met in Abakaliki at the residence of the member representing the Ikwo / Ezza federal constituency, Hon. Chinedu Ogah, to discuss, among other issues, the impending defection of UMahi to APC.
Ogah was said to have said during the meeting that Umahi’s defection to APC would bring good news for the party ahead of the 2023 gubernatorial election in the state.
Without doing so, APC stakeholders held another meeting at Saltspring Hotels Abakaliki last Sunday, where they officially confirmed to party members in attendance that Umahi’s move was complete.
Senator Julius Ucha, a member of the National Assembly Service Commission, the convener, said it was carried out in conjunction with the APC South East Mandate. He explained that the Mandate of the Southeast was a pressure group that negotiated for the place that corresponded to the Southeast region in APC.
Ucha, a senator who represented the Ebonyi Central Senate District for eight years, told the APC stakeholder meeting that “the Governor of Ebonyi State is on his way to APC.”
He said: “When the President of the Federal Republic visited the state of Ebonyi, I gave him a presentation that the governors are very powerful and it is difficult to underestimate a governor in any state and my recommendation is that the Governors of the East to declare APC. That was around 2016 or 2017. But today, I want to kindly announce at this APC meeting that the Governor of Ebonyi State is on his way to APC.
“This is not a joke; and that’s why I said we need to keep praying that nothing will stop him.”
In addition, speaking, Senator Anthony Agbo corroborated Ucha’s statement that Umahi was addressing the APC, and described it as a major trap for the party in the state and nationally.
“Ebonyi State has made a great catch; the APC in the southeast has made a big catch; and the APC, in Nigeria, has made possibly the biggest capture and that is why these leaders from the Southeastern Mandate are also invited to be present.
And what is the biggest trap? That His Excellency the Executive Governor of the state of Ebonyi, is imminently crossing from PDP to APC ”, Agbo emphasized.
Agbo, who was Managing Director of the APC State Governor Candidate in 2019, said Umahi was the best performing governor in the current dispensation.
“This is evident in the achievements of his administration in all its ramifications. If it is road construction and if it is some kind of infrastructure and some kind of leadership indexes. He is supposed to be the best Nigerian governor in this dispensation. And if we have such a governor and providence makes him decide to cross with our Party, APC, it is something that is worth celebrating.
For his part, CC Ubah, president of the South East Mandate, who hails from Imo State, said APC members in Ebonyi State would soon start enjoying themselves like their counterparts from Imo State when Umahi officially joined the party.
In addition, in a statement read during the meeting by former Ohaozara LGA president, Mr. Chaka Nweze, APC stakeholders resolved to give Governor Umahi a red carpet welcoming the party.
They described their impending defection to APC as a welcome development and noted that they were eager to receive it. They also urged APC members in the state not to panic over the development as their interests would be fully protected.
On Tuesday, two very close collaborators of Umahi held a meeting with the 64 coordinators of development centers in the state, where the modalities for desertion were discussed.
Sources present at the meeting revealed that no date was set for the desertion, although they were told it was imminent. Coordinators were also told that there was no going back in dropping out.
The coordinators reportedly pledged their support and that of their supporters in their various domains to the governor in whatever step he took.
In addition, the 13 presidents of local governments who were present at the meeting also reiterated their support and willingness to defect with the governor.
It appears that the presidents of the councils and coordinators agreed to return to their different councils and centers to start consultations on the matter immediately.
“Wherever the governor and our leader go, we will go with him. We are very loyal and committed to the project ”, said one of those attending the meeting.
However, on the same day (Tuesday) the PDP National Labor Committee moved to prevent Umahi from leaving the party.
The NWC reportedly held a meeting with Umahi in Abuja to persuade him to leave the party.
But, sources revealed that the PDP NWC was unable to persuade Umahi to rescind its decision, adding that the defection plan was still ongoing.
Umahi was reported to have told the PDP’s national leadership during the meeting that he was going to the APC, which he allegedly claimed, would protect the interests of the Southeast in the 2023 presidential elections, and that his decision was irrevocable.
Eze Nwachukwu Eze, the state chairman of APC in the state, when contacted, said the party had been officially informed of Umahi’s plan by the APC Vigilance Committee led by Buni during a meeting attended by national leaders in Abuja. .
He said: “I just came out of a meeting in Abuja where I was officially informed of Governor Umahi’s plan to get rid of the opposing party, the PDP, by our ruling APC. So wait for the details to be released to you on Ebonyi by tomorrow (Thursday). “
Sources claimed that Umahi had since obtained her APC membership form in her ward. But, APC chairman at Governor Ohaozara’s LGA Victor Nnachi in a conversation with Sunday INDEPENDENT said he knew nothing about Umahi’s alleged APC registration in his neighborhood.
“Regarding Governor Umahi’s defection plan, I heard about it, but I have not yet been officially contacted to register in the district as required by the party constitution,” he explained.
Umahi, according to sources familiar with the development, insisted that the PDP’s 2023 presidential candidacy be zoned to the Southeast in a spirit of fairness and justice, but the party’s power brokers appear to have a different plan.
The angry Umahi was said to have said, “He will not remain in a party that has no future for the Southeast,” thus having concluded plans to get rid of the PDP by the ruling APC.
The governor reportedly informed his cabinet members at the last executive council meeting about his transfer to APC.
He was cited as telling council members that he would not force anyone to join him, but ordered that those who wish to remain in the PDP must resign their appointments.
Consequently, the Commissioner for Intergovernmental Affairs, Hon Lazarus Nweru Ogbee, resigned on Thursday. Ogbee was also an immediate past member of the House of Representatives, representing the Ezza South / Ikwo federal constituency.
Investigations further revealed that Umahi would have made her planned defection official since then, had it not been for the violence that followed the #EndSARS protests, which made the past month a very strange time to launch such a political move.
Another report says the planned defection has been blocked by the southeastern bigwigs of the ruling party.
It was deduced that the measure was planned by some members of the National Assembly and ministers from the southeast.
These stakeholders were said to have made it clear to the Governor of Ebonyi State that the APC presidential ticket was not for him.
A source close to the Mala Buni-led APC was reported as saying that although the Ebonyi state governor is welcome to the party, the APC cannot simply give him the presidential ticket, adding that there is nothing to indicate that the APC ticket has been divided into southern areas. -East.
The source said Umahi should be aware of the treatment he was given when he allegedly nominated his brother, Austin Umahi, as a ministerial candidate in 2019 and was withdrawn at the 11th hour, stating that the same fate might await him.
It was reported that the governor could be taking a 180-degree turn to stay fully in the PDP, as APC leaders, both in the state and in the Southeast caucus, are not enthusiastic about receiving him.
It was reported that APC leaders in the region such as the Ministers of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, from his state; Labor and Productivity, Dr. Chris Ngige, from Anambra, and the Minister of State for Education, Chief Emeka Nwajiuba, from the State of Imo and others felt slighted because they were not consulted.
Members of the Southeast National Assembly also echoed the same sentiment of not being considered for consultations on the move toward the ruling party.
Whether Umahi is defecting to APC or remains on his PDP will soon be known to all as the political drama unfolds.
Source: – Independent ng