The Ebonyi State Commissioner of Information, Mr Uchenna Orji, has said his principal’s meeting with the All Progressives Congress (APC) leader, Bola Tinubu, was purely for consultation on his presidential ambition and nothing else.
According to him, the move by the Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, shows that he is a humble man with “a nationalistic and untribalistic mindset.”
The embattled governor had on Friday visited Tinubu in his Abuja residence.
The Special Assistant to the Governor, Francis Nwaze, made the disclosure via a post on his official Facebook page on Friday.
He wrote, “Presidential hopeful and Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. David Umahi, FNSE, FNATE meets Alh. Bola Ahmed Tinubu in Abuja on Friday, March 11, 2022.”
Though the post failed to reveal details of the meeting, many have said it may not be unconnected to the sacking of the governor by a Federal High Court in Abuja and the current crisis rocking the party.
Speaking on The Morning Show, a programme on Arise Television, Orji when asked to give details of Umahi’s meeting with Tinubu, said, “For me, his meeting with Tinubu is a sign that he is very nationalistic and untribalistic. He believes that democracy is about getting to engage the people.
“He believes in engagement processes and conversations that would bring about consensus. It is one of those very needful outing which we applaud here in Ebonyi State.
“Although it is a closed-door meeting, I may not know what was discussed in there. But I have to mention that our governor has declared to contest for president. He is consulting with leaders of the party and of this country.
“People have come to see that in the APC through this that whether or not you are contesting or have an opposing force, with what he has demonstrated (by meeting with Tinubu), I am not sure that there is any presidential aspirant that has demonstrated this to reach out to another aspirant.
“That has been the character of our dear governor. Even when he was the Deputy Governor, he became the most humble Deputy Governor. His motto was: ‘You need to stoop to conquer’.
“That made him to be the most reliable deputy governor cracking the kernel of his boss at the time. As a governor of PDP at that time, he was working with the governors of APC and the president, who was also APC. Now, that he is in APC, he has got to do what he knows how to do best.”
Asked where Umahi stands in the lingering leadership crisis in the APC between the Mai Mala Buni and Abubakar Bello camps, the commissioner said Umahi is with the ‘leadership of the party’ and ‘a follower of structure’ and would ‘surrender to the decisions of the establishment’ as a loyal member of the APC whose experiences were not in doubt.
Meanwhile, the Chairman, Ebonyi State Universal Basic Education Board, Hycinth Ikpor, has alleged that the Peoples Democratic Party was working in connivance with ‘powerful forces’ to frustrate the presidential ambition of Umahi.
The UBEB boss, who faulted the judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja, that sacked Umahi and his deputy, Dr Kelechi Igwe, observed that his defection to the APC averted a ‘political omen’, which was waiting for the Igbo.
He stated this during a press conference, in Abakaliki, on Friday.
He said, “Yes, Umahi won election on the platform of the PDP. On November 16, 2020, he left the PDP and joined the APC. People were asking him why he left. He said the party didn’t have any agenda for the Igbo man, that the PDP does not have any intention to consider the Igbo man for the presidency.”
In a related development, the Ebonyi State chapter of APC has warned the member representing Afikpo North/South Federal Constituency and the Peoples Democratic Party nominee, Iduma Igariwey, to cease arrogating ‘His Excellency’ title to his name, as he is not yet a governor.
The APC argued that the lawmarker could only become governor after Umahi had completed his tenure in 2023.
The APC stated this in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Ogbuatu Chidi Simba.
According to the statement, “Idu Igariwey is not the governor of Ebonyi State and can never be as no one has ever become governor of a state through appointment since the return of democracy in Nigeria and as such should desist forthwith parading himself as the governor of Ebonyi State.”
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