The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on Tuesday, alleged that his Ebonyi State counterpart, David Umahi, left the Peoples Democratic Party to pursue a presidential bid.
This is as Umahi at a media briefing in Abakaliki on Tuesday said his decision to dump the Peoples Democratic Party, was premised on his conviction that the All Progressives Congress was more amenable to working in the interest of the South East zone.
Umahi, explained that he was leaving the PDP because of the injustice meted out to the people of the zone despite several years of loyalty.
But Wike said, in a statement by his Special Assistant (Media), Kelvin Ebiri, on Monday, that contrary to Umahi’s claims, the PDP had not been unfair to the South-East.
Wike noted that Umahi’s defection did not come to committed PDP members as a surprise because the Ebonyi State governor had been fraternising with the ruling party over time.
He said, “My friend, Umahi wants to be president. There is no problem about that. You have a right to be president. Nobody can stop you. You are educated. You have been a governor for two terms, so you are qualified to say I want to be president of Nigeria.
“My reaction to Governor Umahi’s defection is not that he has no right to defect, but to say he is defecting because of injustice meted to the South-East that is insulting to the South-East.”
While demanding that Umahi should retract his alleged false claims against the PDP, Wike argued that under the PDP, the South-East had over the years produced Senate Presidents; National Vice Chairman of the PDP and Secretary to the Federal Government.
He urged the PDP National Working Committee and the National Executive Committee to take decisive steps to ensure that PDP does not die in Ebonyi State.
Umahi, at the briefing, had explained that he was leaving the PDP because of the injustice meted out to the people of the zone despite several years of loyalty.
He equally dismissed speculations that he was dumping the PDP to pursue a presidential ambition.
Umahi said, “I have been a successful governor for two terms and a successful business man in business, where I also have a calling.
“I am not driven by selfish interests but because we need to protest against marginalisation. We have benefited more from the APC government. I didn’t start this protest today. I have no regrets. In life, you have to be courageous.
“The South-East has remained faithful to PDP, voted for its candidates yet had not been considered fairly in Nigerian polity. The APC is amenable working for the South-East zone than the PDP.”
The governor also faulted claims made by the Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, Senator Walid Jubrin, that the South-East never requested for the party’s presidential ticket.
Umahi saud contrary to Jibrin’s claims, over 50 organisations, the Ebonyi Assembly, as well as the PDP State Working Committee had demanded that the position should be zoned to the South-East.
According to him, the quest for the emergence of a President of Igbo extraction come 2023, was in the interest of Nigeria’s peace and progress.
However, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan said, “The PDP is not aware of the defection of any of our governors. Our governor in Ebonyi State raised some issues which as a party, we are looking into them.”