Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, has said former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, played no role in his defection from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress in November 2020.
The governor made this known on Friday when spoke on Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ breakfast programme.
Umahi described as an insult, claim by Fani-Kayode that he was instrumental in his defection last year.
The controversial ex-minister, who officially defected from PDP to APC on Thursday had made the statement while speaking to newsmen after he was presented to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), by the APC caretaker chairman, Mai Mala Buni, at the Presidential Villa.
Fani-Kayode had hinted at the possibility of the governors of Bauchi, Enugu and Oyo States dumping the PDP and joining him in the APC.
In response to a question as to whether he had friends from the PDP following him into the APC, the ex-minister had said, “There are many people. If you ask my friend and brother, Governor Matawalle here, there are many people within the PDP, who do want to come over to the APC. I can tell you that. I was there and very instrumental when Governor Umahi joined the APC.
“I was there and very instrumental when Governor Ayade did the same thing. I was there and very instrumental when my friend and brother governor of Zamfara, Governor Matawale did the same thing.
“Now, if you don’t mind me mentioning names, somebody like the governor of Enugu State, the governor of Oyo State, and of course, my good friend, the governor of Bauchi State, great friends of mine, and I sincerely hope that they too may end up coming in this direction.”
But speaking on the television on Friday morning, Umahi said Fani-Kayode must withdraw his statement, adding that the ex-minister was “never” part of the discussions that led to his defection.
The Ebonyi State governor said, “He (Fani-Kayode) needs to withdraw that statement. He is my good friend but it was an insult on my person and the other governors. The man did not know when I moved but incidentally, he visited me and we discussed and he said he was coming to join me with other governors to declare.
“How would somebody in PDP be instrumental to my moving, a whole governor of a state, not even a small governor – an experienced governor.
“So, he has to withdraw the statement; he was never part of any discussion of my movement. I moved the South-East to the centre of administration; I moved to close the gap between the centre and South-East which our forefathers like Nnamdi Azikew fought for.
“So, for somebody to say that a whole Chairman of South-East Governors’ Forum, he was instrumental to that, it is an insult on my person and with all due respect, he has to withdraw that statement.”
“He remains my friend but he played no role in my movement and I am sure he did not play any role in the movement of others.”