The Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi who recently defected to the ruling All Progressive Congress has been assured by the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) a level-playing field if he aspires for the seat of the residency in the next general elections.
The chairman of the forum Governor Atiku Abubakar Bagudu while welcoming Umahi said he would surely contribute to the party’s process of membership and leadership recruitment at all levels.
Recall that Umahi had anchored his defection to APC on PDP’s marginalization of the Southeast. He said he defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) because the PDP had failed the people of the Southeast.
He clarified that his defection was not premised on any deal with the APC on the contentious subject matter of presidential zoning to the region in 2023.
Meanwhile, the Forum described the defection of Umahi to the ruling party as a testament to the party’s capacity to mobilize and unite all Nigerians.
The PGF, in a statement, noted: “Our message to all Nigerians is clear- politics is all about free, fair, and transparent contestation. APC belongs to every member. Everyone from every part of the country is free to aspire for any position in the party in line with provisions of our party’s constitution and the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
“The guiding philosophy, as enshrined in the provisions of our manifesto, is economic, social, and political development of Nigeria.”
The Forum noted further: “Indeed, considering the nature of achievements recorded in Ebonyi State since 2015, Umahi couldn’t have been in any other party, but the APC. If anything, we are only welcoming Umahi home where he belongs; to the party that will provide him and his people and indeed all Nigerians, the viable platform for political aspirations and negotiations.
“Together with Umahi and all our leaders in the APC, we are confident that our party’s capacity to serve the collective interests of all Nigerians through effective representation will be strengthened.
“By coming into the fold of the progressives, Umahi has opted for open, transparent, and honest contestation in politics, which is the overarching commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari and all our founding leaders.
“We are confident that the National Caretaker Extraordinary/Convention Planning Committee will soon release a detailed program of activities leading to the national convention.
“Together with Umahi, we shall forge stronger partnership to mobilize all patriotic and other like-minded progressive Nigerians to join us in APC to enhance our capacity as a party to respond and resolve all our democratic challenges.”
“Even if PDP promises somebody a presidential ticket, how does it work when over 8,000 delegates will be voting. And such a promise cannot happen with more than 10 or 20 people. So, people are being very mischievous about”
“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 Southeast any position”.