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The Umahian presidential opportunism



David Umahi

Engineer David Nweze Umahi is the current executive Governor of Ebonyi State in south-eastern Nigeria. The 56-year old bespectacled quintessential gentleman is married to Rachel and they have seven children. Ever since he joined politics Nigeriana he has made himself heard loud and clear by his state and national interventions.

With achievements on the ground around the state the Governor has demonstrated how some semblance of quality guber leadership could come from Igboland; how same could be used to better the lot of the majority. The impact of this result-oriented governance is apparently being felt by compatriots in Ebonyiland.

Governor Umahi’s performance in Abakiliki speaks good of service delivery to the poor people of the rural state. And his infrastructural development and economic empowerment of the youths stands him well as a man on a mission to cement his legacy after his second tenure must have elapsed.

Recently Gov. Umahi announced unsurprisingly that he had left the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in his state for the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).

Umahi said at a press briefing in the state capital that he had dumped the PDP because of the ‘injustice’ meted out to the South-East people despite several years of loyalty to the party.

Ever since his defection questions are being asked as to the real motive behind the desperate move. Did he take the cross-carpetting decision in accordance with his good conscience and principles or were external influences or coercion applied from sources within and outside the state?

While Gov. Umahi sounded unconvincing by saying that the PDP marginalisation of the south-east was the major reason of his exit from the national opposition party other theories had been propounded by those who should know better as to the reason for the PDP/APC swap.

The voluble Governor of Rivers State and one of the henchmen of the PDP, Nyesom Wike, had picked holes in the ‘real’ reason behind the Umahi unceremonious exit. According to Wike, Gov. Umahi dumped the PDP because of his 2023 presidential ambition! While accusing the Ebonyi Governor of ‘blackmail’ he argued strongly against citing political marginalisation as reason for any cross-carpetting.

The Ebonyi Governor had reacted angrily to the Wike bombshell by labelling him a “dictator” who controlled the structures of the party by imposing Uche Secondus, the National Chairman, on the rest of them!

While Gov. Wike’s influence on the PDP cannot be dismissed with a wave of the hand it must be noted that he had worked hard to merit his position in the party by making the right opposition noises and demonstrating his loyalty and commitment to the party’s fortunes, good or bad.

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With Gov. Umahi dumping the PDP for the APC the south-east geo-political zone has witnessed further polarisation. Umahi by taking Ebonyi to the APC as the ‘supreme cult’ famously took Imo state from the PDP and handed it over to the APC may lead to other PDP Governors joining the bandwagon. So, the “Supreme Court” Governor, Hope Uzodinma, is not alone now that Umahi has hit town with APC tidings!

For us, however, beyond the flimsy reason of ‘injustice’ or ‘marginalisation’ of the Igbos in the PDP scheme of things the Umahi PDP/APC swap represents nothing but political opportunism of presidential dimension. Besides, it goes a long way to buttressing the very problem of leadership quandary afflicting our polity — politicians without principles and politics without ideologies!

All things considered we hold that the PDP had done more for the Igbos than the APC in terms of national appointments and democracy dividends. There could not have been injustice when the opposition party selected ex-Governor Peter Obi to run with Atiku Abubakar for the presidential poll of last year.

There could not have been marginalisation when the PDP President had appointed an Igboman as the Chief of Army Staff. And made it possible for one of them to emerge the Senate President.

Since the Buhari regime has hopelessly failed in tackling issues of insecurity, youth unemployment and mass poverty Nigeria needs a pragmatic leader post-Buharism in 2023. The sound character of that President who would be able to work assiduously towards improving the Nigerian condition may not be found in Gov. Dave Umahi. Igbos have better candidates for the job!

The Umahian presidential opportunism must be seen for what it really is. And no irrational sentimental justification must be deployed to defend the indefensible.

It smacks of political betrayal of the worst kind what Umahi has just done. Having benefitted immensely from the PDP he should have chosen the path of honour instead of the dishonour.

Author: Ozodinukwe Okenwa…

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