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Defection: Senators, Reps disown Ebonyi governor

The Ebonyi State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Caucus in the National Assembly, yesterday, said that Governor David Umahi was on his own in his defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC). Addressing journalists at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja, yesterday, the three Senators and five members of the House of Representatives, representing Ebonyi on the platform of the PDP, said that none of them was moving with Umahi to the APC.

While acknowledging that the governor has the fundamental right to join any political party of his choice, the lawmakers, however, reminded him of the Supreme Court judgement, which forbids members of political parties from defecting to another party unless there is a division in their party. A former Governor of Ebonyi State and Senator representing Ebonyi North Senatorial District in the Senate, who briefed journalists on behalf of the Caucus, Sam Egwu, noted that Umahi and his immediate family had benefited immensely from the PDP, and should have remained eternally grateful to the party.

He observed that Umahi was appointed the Ebonyi State Chairman of the PDP, made deputy governor of a PDP administration and was elected for two terms under the banner of the party while pointing out that, as a governor, Umahi’s two younger brothers were elected to principal offices of the PDP.

The lawmaker said that while the Caucus supported that it was the turn of the South-East to fly the Presidential flag of any of the major political parties come 2023, it was impolitic, indecent and unwise to give ultimatum and conditionalities in a bid to secure zoning.

The Caucus said: “For the sake of clarity, we wish to state that not a single member of the Ebonyi State PDP caucus of the National Assembly is defecting to the APC. The three senators and five House of Representatives members remain proud card-carrying members of the PDP, the platform under which we contested and won elections in 2019. “The major reason given by Chief Umahi for defecting from the PDP to the APC is now in the public domain which is that the PDP has not been fair to the people of the South- East on the issue of zoning the Presidency and Vice Presidency.

“While we support that it is the turn of the South- East to fly the Presidential flag of any of the major political parties come 2023, yet we consider it impolitic, indecent and unwise to give ultimatum and conditionalities in a bid to secure zoning.

“Indeed, if there is any Ebonyi person who should remain eternally grateful to the PDP, that individual ought to be the Governor Umahi; a man who was appointed the Ebonyi State Chairman of the PDP, made deputy governor of a PDP administration, and was elected for two terms under the banner of the PDP.

“As Governor, his two younger brothers were elected to principal offices of the PDP; one (Mr. Austine Umahi) as the National Vice Chairman (South-East) and another Mr. Maxwell Umahi) as the Deputy State Chairman of the PDP.

“As democrats, we concede Chief Umahi’s right to join any political association of his choice. However, as federal lawmakers, we are not unaware of the Supreme Court’s decision that candidates are products of political parties. What it means is that political office holders are not at liberty to migrate from one political platform to another, particularly when there is no division in their party.” The lawmakers, however, failed to call for the impeachment of the governor or his resignation, for breaching the law guiding defection from one political party to another, as there is currently no division in the PDP.

The eight Caucus members who were in attendance during the briefing are: Senators Sam Egwu, Obinna Ogba, Mike Nnachi; Hons. Sylvester Ogbaga, Igariwey Iduma Enwo, Chukwuma Nwazunku, Edwin Anayo, and Livinus Makwe. The Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia South), was also present at the meeting, perhaps in a show of solidarity with the decision of the Caucus not to defect with Umahi.

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