The Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, has said that although as a loyal party man, he wishes his party, the All Progressive Congress (APC) to win the 2023 presidential election, the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi, will win substantial votes from the South East.
Umahi, who was on a private visit to President Muhammadu Buhari, to get him to commission the N1.2 billion Ebonyi Governor’s Lodge in Abuja in mid October, told State House Correspondents that, Peter Obi’s Movement cannot be wished away, describing the movement as an eye opener, which proves that the South East would not be forgotten in Nigeria’s polity
Asked what critical selling points the APC will use to campaign in the southeast, he said: “It’s going to be a different ballgame altogether. Because when campaign starts, yes, the interest of our people in terms of presidency is there, you can’t wish it away. But everyone in south east holding the ticket of their party is going to be struggling and he’s going to be fighting. You will not tell the guy that has the ticket of House of Assembly to look at the bigger picture of Igbo presidency. He may not see it but that is not to say that Peter Obi is not going to get substantial votes in South East.
Asked if the south east was ready for the presidency, Umahi said: “What happened during the primaries of PDP and APC, were a kind of miscalculation by our people but to say whether they’re ready for the presidency of the country anytime, I think that the movement of Peter Obi is an eye opener. That’s why I said, I love what he’s doing. I’m encouraged by what he’s doing. Because if he’s not doing what he’s doing, it means that South East would have been forgotten.
“So while my party takes the victory, he would have prepared a very good ground, for the South East Presidency, so that nobody is going to write us off. And you can see the level of his acceptability, which does not translate to victory of over APC. I’m sure of that, but it’s a good movement. And it reassures the southeast people and the entire country that, we are accepted, you know, that we will one day become the president of this country. It is very important.” Asked if he shares the views with social critics that alleged that the killings in the south east have reduced due to the Peter Obi’s Movement, he said: “You cannot technically assigned the reduction in the killings for Igbo presidency, you can see that security generally is improving in the country. And it has nothing to do with the movement of Peter Obi.
“Peter Obi movement is a movement that is anchored on equity, justice and fairness. It may not translate to outright win because I must defend my party, I must wish my party well and I’m having the ticket of my party. But wither what he is doing has meaning there, is not only in south east, it does have meaning. So we must never attribute the killings in south east to this kind of movement.”
Asked if he was dismissing Obi’s movement by saying his party will will, he said: “Peter Obi’s movement and all the movement are authored on God’s will, is only God who knows who will win, but there must be a wish. As a party man, I would wish that our party wins. And if God says no, the next person I wish that should win is Peter Obi. Because I believe strongly and I will say it anywhere in this north-south presidency, after the north has taken eight years, there is no moral justification for the north to be seeking to take another eight years, it should go to the south. And so I’m not wishing Peter Obi away. God has the final say and he has the power and gives to whomever He wishes.”
Asked if Peter Obi has any chance of winning, Umahi said: “Everybody has chances of winning and chances of losing but you must always have a wish. Yes.”
Asked how the party will deliver on the party national chairman’s mandate that the APC must record nothing but victory in 2023 with issues still bedeviling it, he said: “Well, I think that, we don’t have issues in the APC like the kind of issues that are in other parties. They say in a big house, there are vessels onto honour and there are vessels onto dishonour. Literally, meaning that there must be some issues in a big house like the APC. But the structure and the spread of APC is such that victory is assured. And I can assure you that some of the disagreements in some states are going to be resolved.
“Mechanism has been put in place by Mr. President, the candidate of the party, his vice and then the national chairman and leadership of the party, to sort out those differences. And I think we are well prepared for victory 2023.” (Daily Sun)