After 24 years sojourn in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP),
Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State says he is quitting to swell the membership of the ruling All Progressives Party (APC) as a “martyr”, who will be sacrificed to achieve the much-sought Igbo presidency.
Briefing newsmen on Tuesday in Abakaliki, the state capital, Umahi said only martyrs make sacrifices for the peoples’ interest in difficult times.
On his defection, the governor said he would not regret the decision no matter its outcome.
He declared: “I have to lead the protest against the marginalisation of the Igbos by the PDP and I don’t have to consult anybody to lead such a protest.
“I don’t want the PDP to collapse in the South-East but it can collapse itself in the zone if it does not heed the peoples’ advice to entrench justice, fairness, and equity.
“The PDP should be bold to declare its stand on zoning of the presidency to the South-East and if it cannot, should tell us why we are not capable of holding such a position but will come for our votes during elections.”
According to Umahi, the decision to quit PDP is not about leadership but about patriotism, justice, fairness and the overall interest of the people.
“I am not vying for any position in the APC so anybody who does not like me over the defection will be fighting the air.
“I will instead play the fatherly role of guiding anyone who wants to vie for any position because it is a waste of time for any governor to seek to replace himself.
“When you are looking for everybody to be loyal to you in politics, you might not get to your destination because destinations are not straight but full of obstacles,” he said.
Umahi said that he will not be “disturbed” if the APC fails to zone the presidency to the Southeast but will depend on God to determine the matter.
“The APC, however, appears to be amenable towards working with the South-East even though the South-East never supported it the way it supported the PDP since 1999.
“We would be 24 years with the PDP by 2023 and Ebonyi, under my administration, will testify the numerous feats we have attained with the support of my friend and father, President Muhammadu Buhari,” he said.
He said his defection has created a mass movement, unprecedented in Ebonyi history with both PDP and APC faithful coming together to pursue a common cause.
Asked if he is ditched by APC, he said: “I will have no regrets if our agitations are not met in APC as it will be on record that a governor was sacrificed for the betterment of his people on what is rightfully, their due.
“We will still protest if we are still unfairly treated in the APC because protest is the beauty of democracy and if it doesn’t work now, it can work in future.”
Meanwhile, the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, said Nigerians will, “at the fullness of time”, know why Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, left the party.
Ologbondiyan, who stated this on Tuesday night via his Twitter handle, wrote, “The PDP says that the Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. Dave Umahi left our party for personal reasons, which Nigerians will come to know at the fullness of time.
“Our party thanks Governor Umahi for services rendered to the people of Ebonyi State, as the State Chairman of Ebonyi PDP (2003 to 2007); deputy governor of Ebonyi State (2007 to 2015) and two-term governor of Ebonyi (2015 till date), all elected on the platform of the PDP.
“As we wish Governor Umahi all the best in his adventure, we call on the members of our party to remain calm and committed to the ideals of our party as no individual is bigger than the PDP.”
Umahi officially defected from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress on Tuesday, ending weeks of reports that he had dumped the opposition party for the ruling party.
He had told the PDP National Working Committee at a meeting in Abuja last week of his decision to leave the party for the ruling APC.
The governor had also told the PDP NWC led by the party National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, that the APC would protect the interest of the Southeast in the 2023 elections.