Dave Umahi, the Ebonyi State Governor Dave Umahi has said other aspirants from south south and south-west for the presidential election in 2023 are betraying the loyalty of the south East on rotational presidency.
The governor also said that President Muhammadu Buhari is not averse to the southern presidency in 2023.
Speaking to State House correspondents after meeting with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa on Tuesday where he went to present a “Thank you” letter from Southeast leaders following his recent two-day working visit to Ebonyi to the president, Umahi said that the south as a whole made a demand that the presidency should rotate between the north and south.
According to him, the south East had thought that having supported Southwest for eight years and supported south south for six years, it will be their turn come 2023 for fairness, equity and justice.
He said: “We were all part of that meeting on the side of the southern governors. But some of us, you know, thought it was a collective request. And it was, you know, a sincere and genuine request and we believe it is.
“But we also thought that they had south east in mind, since south east has supported Southwest for eight years and supported south south for six years. And this was the thoughts that the southeast, you know, had in mind.
“But when the game became on, and a lot of people from Southwest, a lot of people from south south and their numbers in each of these regions, you know, are even more than that of south east.
“Our people became suspicious of this collective request and agitation. And so they’re demanding that if the basis of asking for presidency to come to the south, is on the platform of that equity, justice and fairness, that on moral ground that South east should have the right of first refusal.
“But that is not the case. And so a lot of people are beginning to think that in the first place, it was not a genuine demand. And it wasn’t based on fairness, equity and justice. And that it could be termed to be blackmail.
“And so our position is that look, if everybody from the south is going to be vying for this, then, why is it that everybody from the north, you know, who wishes not join to vie for it. Meaning that we’ve jettison the so called equity, justice and the fairness, and there will be jettisoning zoning.
“And so I wouldn’t know how anybody else outside south east and maybe north east, will be talking about equity, fairness and justice, if such a person is also contesting.
“So that platform could be termed to be, a ploy to deceive or in another language, a blackmail.
“Our position remains that it is the turn of south east, if it is to rotate between north and the south. And if it is thrown open on the basis of these two regions, North East and the Southeast, then they’ll have equal steak, if we’re talking about justice, equity and fairness. But if that’s not what we’re talking, then it will be immoral for Southeast people to join.
“And we will continue to demand for Southen President, I think they should come out of that dream and begin to ask for south east presidency.”
Governor Umahi also described the presence of former President Goodluck Jonathan in the race for the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as another wonder of the world.
Umahi said that it would be difficult for the ruling party to campaign with Jonathan as its presidential candidate.
He said even though there have been denials regarding the former President’s rumoured move to the APC, if he eventually joins the ruling party it would be a material for Guiness Book of Records.
The Governor wondered how the APC would reconcile its policies and promises with those of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) under which Jonathan was President.
He said: “Jonathan is my father and God used him and the wife to make me a governor of the state and so, anybody who has done anything for me, I’ve always remained very grateful to such person and I will continue to be very grateful to him, the wife for being available and my destiny helper, to achieve that feat.
“Probably if that miracle did not take place, then the miracles that happened in Ebonyi State, in terms of total evolution and transformation wouldn’t have taken place.
“So, he’s a man we can’t forget, just like Sani Abacha, who created the state and Mr. President. Of course, we’ve named the airport after him, we’ve named the light tunnel after him, we’ve named the Presidential Lodge after him.
“Good intention that we don’t forget people who have helped us, but on the question of joining, I may not say much about that because I’ve seen a lot of write ups, denials, but if a decides to join and to run, it will, for me, become one of the wonders in this century.
“The reason is that if you go and see the campaign programmes of APC and you now ask President Jonathan to come and run, I don’t know what will be our campaign promises and what will be the stories we’ll be telling Nigerians.
“I believe strongly that he was not aware of the forms and I want to believe that people that are mischievous would have bought the forms to embarrass him.”
“But from what I read, he has quickly distanced himself from that. But like I said, if that is not the case, then the Guinness Book of Records is not totally filled up.”