Defection: You are on your own, Ebonyi lawmakers tell Umahi

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Federal lawmakers on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party from Ebonyi State have formally reacted to the defection of the state governor, David Umahi, from the main opposition party to the ruling All Progressives Congress.

At a press briefing in Abuja held at the National Assembly complex in Abuja, the three senators and five House of Representatives members declared that they were not in support of the action of Governor Umahi to abandon the PDP. 

Senator representing Ebonyi North and Leader of the PDP National Assembly caucus from Ebonyi State, Sam Egwu, who addressed journalists on behalf of his colleagues, said the excuse given by Governor Umahi that the PDP has not been fair to the South-East zone on the issue of zoning the presidency and vice presidency was untenable. 

The lawmakers said it was indecent to use zoning as a condition to secure the 2023 Presidency for the South-East. 

The lawmakers who maintained that they would not join Umahi in his new political platform further argued that by virtue of the pronouncements of the Supreme Court, “political office holders are not at liberty to migrate from one political platform to another, particularly when there is no division in their party.”

They also endorsed the dissolution of the leadership of the party at ward, local government and state chapters by the PDP national secretariat.

The statement read to newsmen by Egwu, a former Ebonyi State governor read in part: “We, the undersigned members of the Ebonyi State PDP caucus of the National Assembly, wish to address our fellow PDP members and other well-meaning Nigerians, on the defection of the Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief David Umahi from the PDP to the APC.

“For the sake of clarity, we wish to state that not a single member of the Ebonyi State PDP caucus of the National Assembly is defecting to the APC. The three distinguished senators and five House of Representatives members remain proud card-carrying members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the platform under which we contested and won elections in 2019.

“The major reason given by Chief Umahi for defecting from the PDP to the APC is now in the public domain which is that the PDP has not been fair to the people of the South-East on the issue of zoning the presidency and vice presidency.

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“While we support that it is the turn of the South-East to fly the presidential flag of any of the major political parties come 2023, yet we consider it impolitic, indecent and unwise to give ultimatums and conditionalities in a bid to secure zoning.

“Indeed, if there is any Ebonyi person who should remain eternally grateful to the PDP, that individual ought to be the Governor David Umahi; a man who was appointed the Ebonyi State chairman of the PDP made deputy governor of a PDP administration, and was elected for two terms under the banner of the PDP.  

“As governor, his two younger brothers were elected to principal offices of the PDP; one (Mr Austine Umahi) as the national vice chairman (South East) and another (Mr Maxwell Umahi) as the deputy state chairman of the PDP.

“As democrats, we concede Chief Umahi’s right to join any political association of his choice.  “However, as Federal Lawmakers we are not unaware of the Supreme Court decision that candidates are products of political parties. What it means is that political office holders are not at liberty to migrate from one political platform to another, particularly when there is no division in their party.

“We wish to use this opportunity to thank the leadership of our grate party, the PDP for their prompt action in dissolving the ward, local government, state and zonal structures of the party in Ebonyi State, and their announcement of a state caretaker team.  

“We also wish to thank teeming members and supporters in our various constituencies who have remained undaunted and committed to their membership of the PDP. We also wish to thank the South-East caucus, and indeed the entire PDP family of the National Assembly.”

Apart from Senator Egwu,  the other lawmakers in attendance were  Senators Obinna Ogba and Mike Ama Nnachi. 

Others were Honourables Sylvester Ogbaga, Igariwey Iduma Enwo and Chukwuma Nwazunku. And Honourables Edwin Anayo and Livinus Makwe. 

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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