What do you make of Governor Umahi’s entry to APC and exit from Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)?
I think it is good and he has made a good move for three major reasons. For one, I have been so worried about the situation in the Southeast, because up until now, it seems as if we don’t have anyone in the ruling party and the ruling government in the Southeast. What this Federal Government has done in Lagos State is much more than what it has done in the entire North.
That feat was possible because they (Southwest) have people who can push things, but in the entire Southeast, there is no one to push things. I think that is one aspect. The second aspect is that by his defection I am sure we will produce an APC governor in Ebonyi State. Any person that wins the governorship primary normally goes to win.
The third leg of my optimism is that the governor has also cultivated a lot of goodwill across the country by my assessment. I think Umahi is better than most governors of this dispensation. From my assessment, he is number one. I have seriously admired his delivery. He is in fact about the best in this dispensation. He is the number one governor in the country. I commend him privately anywhere I am. It is difficult to swallow the truth without vomiting it out.
By my assessment, he is the best in the country; he has really dignified the people of Ebonyi by the type of infrastructure he has been putting in place. He has placed Ebonyi State on the map of the country in such a way that whenever good governance is discussed, his name will always be mentioned.
Most importantly, the governor has also played good politics nationally, despite the fact that he was not in the ruling party. He has played good politics for the Igbo, creating an entry point for the Igbo that anytime they decide to identify with national politics it would not be difficult. I am really happy about this development and my prayer is that other governors in the Southeast should join him and come into APC so that the ruling party and Nigerians will start taking the people of the Southeast seriously. That way, when we talk of Igbo president, people will listen, because you really have to be part of a system before you can make demands or even be taken seriously by that system.
Those are my views about it. I am really excited. He has made us proud over the last few years by the type of things he has done. I always commend him everywhere I go and get angry when people criticize and condemn him in my presence because I have seen him do what no other governor in this dispensation has done.
But defecting from his party even when there was no infraction or crisis in PDP, does his decision not infringe on extant laws and the constitution?
We may not know if there was a crisis or not. There may be secret ones and there may be open ones. The governor seems to have grudges with the party and he made demands. It is only in situations like this that the secret crises can come out in the open. He has access to information that may not be available to many people. So, if he feels that PDP has not treated his people with dignity, it is within his democratic rights.
But, as a former speaker of a state House of Assembly, if your governor wanted to defect, would you have endorsed and joined him?
It depends on the kind of governor. If he is a governor that has made you proud; the governor that has lifted the image of your state before the country and the world, you will proudly follow him wherever he is going. Everything depends on the governor you are talking about. I believe this governor is really worth it.
The frictions in Ebonyi APC have created divisions and disharmony within the party, do you think that the governor’s entry would help to douse or exacerbate those tensions?
It would douse divisions and stabilize the party. That was exactly the first point I analyzed to people earlier today, which I forgot to mention to you as the fourth important point to note about his crossover to APC. The first point is that his coming in will help to kill the little cleavages. Everybody has formed one clique or another, people becoming tiny despots within narrow political kingdoms. His coming in will bridge these gaps and we will have one big united political party.
Abia State has similar challenges, but do you think Abia has any lesson to learn from Umahi’s strategic move, especially given that six months ago, talks had reached an advanced stage for the possible defection of the Abia governor …
Indeed, I am strongly not only expecting, but also advising the leaders in both Abia and Enugu to bury the hatchet and join APC without hesitation. They have to join the move. It is not about them; it’s about the Southeast. It is about Igbo land. Let us forget about personal ambition and begin to do what we should be in the centre. We should be working on going back to the old alliance in Nigerian politics. The traditional alignment of Nigerian politics has always been the Southeast and the North.
That is what should interest the leaders. If these governors don’t take up this responsibility, they have disappointed our people. I still urge Abia and Enugu States to join, including Anambra. This will help establish that traditional alignment between the Southeast and the North, if nothing else, for the sake of our people. It is not about the governors, but for our people. That has been the normal natural traditional political arrangement that has always been in place.
But, in the Abia State situation, there’s a former governor who is already in APC and the immediate successor who is already in the senate for the second term, then there is a sitting governor. The problem they encounter is that a lot of them have candidates they want to support for 2023. Are these the people you think can harmonize their interests for the greater good of the Southeast people?
When they show different interests for 2023, then it is boiling down to themselves and not the Southeast we are talking about. At the critical level, we are now, the situation of the Southeast in this dispensation, the only way forward for the sake of our people is to throw away every other interest. Thereafter we try to bring the Igbo into the mainstream of the affairs of this nation by going back to the old traditional alignment between North and East. The political leaders should forget about whom to support or not come 2023 and work for the general good of our people.
CREDIT : GUARDIAN NG