Governor, David Umahi, of Ebonyi State, has stated that he deserved accolades for defecting from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the governing All Progressive Congress, APC, rather than attacks on his person by leaders of the former ruling party.
Governor Umahi insisted that his recent defection to the APC is a strong message that the South East Zone can no longer be taken for a ride, positing that the zone is now ready and willing more than ever to take its destiny by its hands.
Umahi who spoke in a statement made available to on Friday by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Francis Nwaze, lamented that the neglect of the South-East region has taken an alarming proportion.
He said his crossover to the progressive party, has launched both Ebonyi State and the South East Zone into the bastion of national politics and discourse which is its rightful place in the comity of states and regions in the country.
The Governor further recalled enormous sacrifices made by late former Vice President, Alex Ekwueme, and other notable South east leaders for the formation of the Peoples Democratic Party, insisting that remaining in PDP would continue to deny the region its rightful place in the nation’s scheme of things.
Parts of the statement read, “Politicians who feel disillusioned, cheated or denied free and fair opportunities, defect to other parties to participate in the elections or benefit from certain prospects. One of the issues that have contributed to party defections in Nigeria is lack of internal democracy within political parties. In Nigeria, recognition of candidates for nomination and selection for primary elections depends on the strength of the candidate in the area of economic and political power, without any due consideration of the integrity and capability/capacity of the candidate involved and regional spread. These acts have led to political crises leading to individuals defecting to other parties and/or forming new parties as a result of dissatisfaction with party operation. For instance, the unhealthy power contest and intra-party crisis prompted incessant defections of prominent members of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) between 2013-2015 to the now ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).
“As a result of the above scenario, it is important to note that party defections in Nigeria are not restricted to one party, but has become a political norm in Nigeria’s democracy; sometimes in protest of bad governance and marginalization. The above circumstance is certainly not unconnected to what led to the recent defection of the Chairman of Southeast Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State Engineer David Nweze Umahi from the People’ Democratic Party, PDP to the ruling All Progressives Congress.
“The reason for the bold step was due to the age-long neglect of the South East Zone by the PDP although one of its foremost founding members His Excellency, the former Vice-President of Nigeria Dr. Alex Ekwueme was from the Zone. Because of the integrity of Dr. Ekwueme, the Igbos of the South East Zone embraced wholly the PDP and rallied around it since the return to Democracy in 1999 but despite supporting other regions to take their shots to the number one plum job in the Federation, the Zone has always been relegated to the background when it comes to consideration for the presidential slot.
“The proceeds of this noble action, therefore, will not just be gargantuan but also bountiful considering that no major decision of national interest will be taken under any pretext without due consultation and representation of South-East Leaders in the country. This will be more so if other States of the Zone could see beyond the immediate and take action to ensure comprehensive rebrand and reintegration of the South East Zone to its pride of place in the governance of Nigeria”.