APC Breaks PDP’s Dominance In South East With Umahi’s Defection

APC Breaks PDP’s Dominance In South East With Umahi’s Defection

APC Breaks PDP’s Dominance In South East With Umahi’s Defection
Umahi dismissed insinuations that he defected to the APC because PDP refused to zone the presidency to him as being speculated in some quarters

The inroads made by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the South East geo-political zone widened yesterday with the defection of chairman of the South East Governors’ Forum and Ebonyi State governor, David Umahi, to the governing party.

After weeks of speculations and horse-trading, Umahi finally dumped his former party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), thereby breaking the dominance of the party in the region.

With the Ebonyi governor’s defection, the APC and PDP now control two states each in the South-East region, while the All Peoples Grand Alliance (APGA) is in control of one.

Efforts by the PDP leadership to convince Umahi to remain within its fold failed following agitation by the governor that the party should zone its presidential ticket of South East zone ahead of the 2023 election.

But Umahi dismissed insinuations that he defected to the APC because PDP refused to zone the presidency to him as being speculated in some quarters.

The governor who made the disclosure yesterday during a media chat with journalists at the New Government House Abakaliki said his defection to the governing APC is amenable to working with the South East region than the PDP.

Insisting that he will continue to agitate for the interest of the South East in or out of office, the governor added that he has decided to become the sacrificial lamb that would be crucified for the interest and good of the South East as a zone.

He said, “Let me clear the air and state that I never sought for the ticket of PDP Presidency and I will not. Whoever that said that I moved to APC because they refused to zone the ticket to me is being very mischievous. Because even if PDP promises me, an individual a presidential ticket, how does it work?

“It is expected that well over 8000 delegates would elect the person and such promise cannot happen without more than 10 or 20 people. People are being very mischievous but I tell you, there are a lot of prominent people from South East that can take the slot of PDP.

“Why am I moving to APC? Some people said I was promised this and that but I tell you, there is no such discussion. APC never promised me any position; they never promised South East any position. There was no such discussion. However, I offered this movement as a protest to the injustice being done to South East by the PDP since 1998 till date”.

He noted that between 1999 till date, the South East region has continued to support the PDP, yet the party has not deemed it fit to zone the presidency to the zone, adding that there are credible and qualified personalities in the zone that are competent to rule the country.

He added that till date, the PDP is yet to give reasons why the South East should not get the presidency slot in 2023.

He noted that he started the agitation for South East presidency since 2019, adding however that despite his defection to APC, he would not castigate the PDP.

He wished the PDP would consider the South East region in the zoning of the 2023 presidency in the interests of equity and fairness.

The governor who pointed out that he might resign from politics in 2023 noted that while he is yet to declare interest for the office of the Presidency, he would support any candidate from the zone for the exalted position.

Excitement In APC Over Umahi’s Defection

Meanwhile, Governor Umahi’s defection was greeted with excitement within the APC, LEADERSHIP learnt yesterday.

It gathered that the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led caretaker committee was pleased with the feat it has achieved in getting the governor, especially with the recent loss of Edo State to the PDP.


Imo State governor, Hope Uzodinma had on Monday boasted that Umahi’s defection to APC was a testament to the party’s acceptance in the South East.

He had added that more high profile defections were expected in the coming days.


Although the APC was yet to issue an official statement on the defection as of press time, the party’s official tweeter handle @officialAPCNg said “Welcome home, Governor David Nweze Umahi. Ebonyi State is APC!”

A source close to the party, who craved anonymity said: “We have also gotten a governor into our fold. The Mai Mala Buni-led caretaker committee is reconciling us and even wooing quality persons to our party. We are very happy with the development“.

S’East Governors’ Forum Chair Left For Personal Reasons – PDP

But in a swift reaction to Umahi’s defection, PDP said the Ebonyi State governor left its fold for personal reasons, which Nigerians will come to know in the fullness of time.

A statement by the party’s national publicity secretary of PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, noted: “Our party thanks Governor Umahi for services rendered to the people of Ebonyi state, as the State Chairman of Ebonyi PDP (2003 to 2007); deputy governor of Ebonyi state (2007 to 2015) and two term governor of Ebonyi (2015 till date), all elected on the platform of the PDP.

“As we wish Governor Umahi all the best in his adventure, we call on the members of our party to remain calm and committed to the ideals of our party as no individual is bigger than the PDP”.

PDP Dissolves Ebonyi Exco, Southeast Zonal Caretaker

Meanwhile, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP rose from a meeting yesterday evening and announced the dissolution of the ward, local government and state executive committees of the Ebonyi state chapter of the party.

Ologbondiyan, in a terse statement said, “The NWC has also dissolved the South East Zonal Caretaker Committee of the party.

“These decisions are pursuant to the powers conferred on the NWC by the PDP Constitution.”

Interestingly, while Umahi’s younger brother, Austin was the South East Zonal chairman of the party, his half-brother, Maxwell, was vice chairman of PDP in Ebonyi State.

Umahi Defected To APC To Become President In 2023 - Wike

Reacting also, Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, declared that the quest by his Ebonyi State counterpart, Umahi, to become the presidential candidate of APC led to his defection from PDP.

Wike who stated this last night said the Ebonyi governor’s decision to leave the PDP had nothing to do with alleged injustice meted on the South East by the PDP.

The governor stated that committed members of the PDP were not surprised that Umahi’s formally defection to the APC, which he said he had for a while been fraternising with.

He said he would ordinarily not have been perturbed by Umahi’s decision to defect to the APC, but he felt offended by his attempt to justify his decision on the purported injustice meted on the South East by the PDP.

Wike accused Umahi of being unfair to the PDP which gave him governorship ticket in 2015 against all odds, and repeated same feat in 2019.

The governor noted that while Umahi has a right to move to the APC, for him to attempt to blackmail the PDP and paint it in bad light was mischievous and unacceptable.

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.

“But that does not mean that because you want to blackmail your party, you tell lies to people that you are leaving the party because of the injustice meted against the South-East, that is not correct.”

Wike who demanded that Umahi should retract the statement that the PDP has not been fair to the South-East, argued that under the PDP, the South East has produced Senate Presidents, National Vice Chairman of the PDP and Secretary to the federal government.

The governor said it was erroneous for Umahi to accuse PDP of injustice when he had unilaterally imposed his younger brother as South-East zonal Vice Chairman of the PDP.

He said, “In life, power is sweet, but conscience is important. It is most offensive and insulting for a man to lie against his party because of power.”

Wike said although APC was yet to tell Nigerians where it will zone its presidential ticket, Umahi’s presumptuous move might be too hasty and will ruin him politically.

The governor said, “Assuming the APC decides to zone its presidential ticket to the South East where the party has no formidable base, what is the guarantee that Umahi will secure the ticket.

“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.”

The governor urged the National Working Committee and the National Executive Committee of the PDP to take decisive steps to ensure that PDP does not die in Ebonyi State.

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