Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi will on Thursday decamp to the All Progressives Congress (APC), the chairman for Ohaozara Local Government Area of the state, Nnachi Victor, has said.
Daily Trust reports that there have been talks about the planned defection of Umahi who is completing his second term on May 29, 2023.
His switch to APC is just as the agitation for the zoning of the presidency, come 2023 to the South-east geo-political zone gathers momentum.
Also, the speculation about Umahi’s presidential ambition has been in the political space.
Victor who spoke to Daily Trust in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, said Governor Umahi fixed the date for his defection during a stakeholders’ meeting with members of the APC in the state.
The meeting was held on Sunday at Osborn La- Palm in Uburu, Ohaozara Local Government Area which serves as governor Umahi’s country home.
The meeting was attended by bigwigs including the lawmaker representing Ezza South/Ikwo federal constituency, Chinedu Ogah; Chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Elias Mbam; Senator Julius Ali-Ucha, the state Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Hon. Nwachukwu Eze and Senator Anthony Agbo, among others.
“We have been officially informed of Governor Umahi’s intention to join us in APC. A meeting was called in Osborn La-Palm in Ohaozara where the governor openly told us of his intention.
“Also, our national secretariat has informed us that Umahi will be joining us formerly this Thursday,” he said.
Speaking on the meeting, RMAFC Chairman Elias Mbam has urged Governor Umahi to go ahead with his plans to defect to the APC.
Mbam said the decision was a welcome development, noting that the state, as well as the South-east, would benefit from the defection.
He said the South-east had nothing to show for its numerous support for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) since the return to civil rule in 1999.
Mbam said the APC-led federal government has shown commitment towards developing infrastructure in the South-east, adding that it was time politicians in the zone moved to APC en masse.
The RMAFC chairman said Umahi’s defection to APC would further strengthen the unity of the party in the state and reposition it towards capturing the governor’s seat in 2023.
Similarly, Imo State governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma yesterday said more South-east governors from the opposition PDP are expected to join the APC.
He also said the defection of Umahi to the governing party was a done deal.
Addressing newsmen after a brief consultation with the Chairman of the Caretaker/ Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee, Governor Mai Mala Buni at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja, he said more state governors from the geo-political zone are on the waiting list to jump ship to the fold of the ruling party soon.
Uzodimma attributed the much touted defection of Umahi to the concerted efforts by APC leaders to make an in-road into the South-east geopolitical zone.
According to him, “if you recall when I addressed you here couple of months ago, I told you that the moment I resume office in Imo State as the governor, that the impression and the perception of our party in South-east will change and the resultant effect will be that more credible individuals and governors will even join the party.
“Today I am being vindicated because we are hearing it and I’m sure few hours from now we get a confirmation that one of our best will be joining the party and is the Governor of Ebonyi State.
“Of course, I will be very glad and it will be my joy to welcome a governor and more governors, not only him, we are still talking more governors to join,” he said.
For the interest of national integration and cohesion, he said Imo and South East need to become part and parcel of the ruling party to make the Nigerian project a complete project.
On his visit to the party’s headquarters, the governor said, “I had a private audience with the National Chairman and some members of the NWC (Caretaker Committee) and also to be able to touch base with our preparedness for the upcoming by-election.”