Umahi’s possible defection to the APC has been grapevine fodder for quite a while. Earlier in the week, the APC in Ebonyi announced that Umahi was on the verge of joining their fold.
Punch reports that on Tuesday, November 10, Umahi told National Working Committee (NWC) members of the PDP that his decision to join the APC has become irrevocable.
Some members of the PDP NWC who were at this meeting which held at the Ebonyi Governor’s Lodge in Abuja were National Chairman Prince Uche Secondus, Deputy National Secretary, Agbo Emmanuel; National Organising Secretary, Austin Akobondu; Financial Secretary, Abdullahi Maibasira; National Women Leader, Mariya Waziri and Senator Sulieman Nazif, according to the report.
The 2023 presidency
Umahi, Pulse has learnt, wants to ditch the PDP because in 2023, the APC will be zoning the presidency to the south of Nigeria. It is understood that the PDP is not ready to make that commitment to Umahi just yet.
57-year-old Umahi is regarded as one of the better performing governors in the country and is credited with delivering on a slew of infrastructure promises.
Reports say he has also changed the face of Abakaliki, the Ebonyi state capital.
Umahi is also in the good books of President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC and has accompanied the Nigerian leader on a raft of foreign trips.
President Muhammadu Buhari (Left) and Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi have a good chemistry (Presidency)
Punch reports that during the meeting in Abuja this week, Umahi maintained a friendly mien and tone with the PDP delegation, but stuck to his decision to leave the PDP when the matter came up for discourse.
However, the PDP delegation argued that the APC had become unpopular and that Umahi will be making a mistake if he switches to the nation’s governing party.
Sources at the meeting however said the governor was not convinced, insisting that the APC is planning to zone the 2023 presidency to the southeast.
PDP Chairman Uche Secondus (Thisday)
He reportedly promised to remain in the PDP if the party could publicly declare that it would zone the 2023 presidency to the same zone.
One of the sources at the meeting told the newspaper that, “I think Umahi’s mind is made up. We told him there was no need for him to abandon the party that had made him a deputy governor, state chairman of the party, two-time governor and all that. But he refused.
Ebonyi State Governor Dave Umahi [Concise News]
“He wanted us to unilaterally zone the office of the presidency to his area. We cannot do that. Parties are not run that way. He told us he was leaving. That is what we got from him.’’
Secondus wasn’t immediately available for comments for this story when Pulse placed phone calls across.
It is unclear if the APC really intends to cede the 2023 presidency to the southeast geopolitical region.
Two other geopolitical regions in the south, namely the southwest and the south-south, are also staking claims to the presidency in 2023.
All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader Bola Tinubu. [Guardian]
In the southwest for instance, APC godfather and national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has already set out his stall to contest the presidency in 2023 and he’s as formidable a contender as they come.
This week, Tinubu’s camp enlisted the services of social media influencers who sang his praises to the heavens and bolstered his image by the hour.
Umahi would still have to battle the likes of Tinubu for the presidency in 2023, should he eventually make the switch. And that’s one uphill battle he will have on his hands.
Umahi was first elected Ebonyi governor in 2015. His second term as governor elapses in 2023.