David Umahi, Ebonyi State governor, has officially pitched his tent with the All Progressive Congress (APC).
This is coming months after speculation went rife that he was planning to dump the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on whose platform he became governor and was re-elected last year.
His move to the APC is expected to boost the dwindling image of the ruling party that has found it hard to penetrate the Igbo predominantly area since it was formed in 2014.
Addressing reporters today in Abakaliki, Mr Umahi described his movement into the APC as a protest against PDP’s injustice meted out to the geo-political zone that had supported it mostly since the return to democratic rule in 1999.
He debunked reports of him demanding the opposition party to zone the 2023 presidency to the South-East and bargaining on what to benefit from his new party.
“I want to clear the air that I never sought (for) PDP presidential ticket and I will not. So whoever that said that I moved to APC because they refused to zone the ticket to me is being very mischievous,” Umahi said.
“Even if PDP promises somebody presidential ticket how does it work where over 8000 delegates will be voting. And such promise cannot happen with more than 10 or 20 people so people are being very mischievous about that.
“There are a lot of qualified persons from South-east. Some people say I was promised lots of things by the APC, there was no such discussion. APC never promised me any position, they never promised South-east any position.
“However, I offered this movement as a protest to injustice being done to South-east by the PDP. Since 1999, the South-east have supported the PDP. At a time the five states were all PDP. One of the founding members of the PDP was from South-east, the late former Vice President, Alex Ekwueme.
“It is absurd that since 1999 going to 2023, the South-east will never be considered to run for presidency under the PDP. And this is my position and will continue to be my position. It had nothing to do with me or my ambition.
“In 2015, PDP had zoned the next presidential slot to the north against 2019. Then the statement in Bauchi that the presidential slot is open to all parts of the country and the overtures and scheming to remove most members of the National Working Committee, these are some of the indications that the party has no intention of zoning it to the South-east.
“The point is very simple. In 2023, I would have been in PDP between 23 and 24 years and south east never really supported APC the way they are supporting PDP and in that 2023, they would have been eight years in office but it would have been about 23 years going.
“So, I believe strongly that the will of God will come to play but I believe that APC is amenable to working with South-east from all indication, it’s amenable and I also believe that until justice and equity is implanted in this nation Nigeria, it is difficult for Nigeria to make progress,” the governor added.