Ebonyi governor gives conditions to remain in PDP

Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State has listed conditions to be met by the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for him to remain in the main opposition party.

The party hierarchy led by the National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, met with the governor on Tuesday to persuade him to remain in the party following growing and undenied speculation that he is poised to dump the party for the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).

The meeting, which was at the instance of the party leadership, sought to assure him that the PDP remains the best party for him given the fading popularity of the APC.

The Tribune Online exclusively gathered that Umahi raised several issues, which he advised the party to ruminate on and take a decision or “he will leave when he has to leave.”

Among them is the issue of zoning of the 2023 presidency to the south-east.

“Essentially, what he was saying is that the PDP has not given an opportunity to the south-east at all,” a party source said.

The source close to the meeting affirmed that the governor alleged that the south-east has not been well treated by the PDP, and therefore, demanded that the 2023 presidency must be zoned to the region as a sign of good faith.

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Umahi told the party leaders that neither President Muhammadu Buhari nor the APC as a party had called him to join the ruling party, against the speculation that he is being offered the presidential ticket of the APC.

Umahi was also said to have told the PDP leaders that his action is not just about him as he said the PDP can zone the presidency to the south-east and work for the emergence of any one of the South-East leaders as the party flagbearer.

While insisting that the south-east should have the ticket, Umahi was said to have told the party leaders: “ if it is (Ike) Ekweremadu, they can give the ticket; if it is Peter Obi, they can give; if it is Okezie Ikpeazu, they can give; if it is Ifeanyi Uguanyi, they can give. But they must stop taking the south-east for granted.”

Tribune Online learnt that the PDP leaders spoke before the governor responded, telling him that if he were to leave the opposition party that brought him to power, he will regret it.

However, some leaders of the PDP in the south-east have dismissed Umahi’s moves, asserting that the Ebonyi governor is not speaking on their behalf.

It was gathered some of the leaders who reached out to the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) members said that the governor did not consult them before giving conditions to the party.

“What they are saying is that, who sent him? When did they discuss that, that even the people that he mentioned to the party like Ekweremadu, like Peter Obi, is he in conversation with them and they told him to go and fight their cause?” A top party source volunteered.

When contacted, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, confirmed the meeting with the governor but said it was on matters of national interest.

“Yes, it is correct to say that we met with the governor of Ebonyi state, Engr. Dave Umahi, to discuss issues of national importance,” the party spokesman said.

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