As the chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) await the defection of Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State into their fold, bigwigs in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are all out to stop the governor from dumping their party.
There have been talks about the planned defection of Umahi who is completing his second term on May 29. In Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, the talk of the impending defection of the governor has been dominating political discourse.
If Umahi dumps PDP, APC will have an easy inroad into the South-east geopolitical zone as the 2023 political machinations continue to gather momentum.
Despite political party differences, Daily Trust reports that the Ebonyi State governor has been very close to the presidency. Governor Umahi is also rumoured to be warming up to contest the 2023 presidency.
At the moment, APC has 19 governors, PDP 16 and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) one.
It was gathered that top shots of the PDP have commenced moves to stop the governor from decamping to APC.
Our correspondent gathered from impeccable sources in the PDP that the National Working Committee (NWC) and other stakeholders are uncomfortable with Umahi’s move to pitch tent with the APC ahead of the 2023 general elections.
A member of the NWC who attended a meeting between the committee and Umahi, held behind closed doors on Tuesday, in Abuja, told our correspondent in a telephone interview that the meeting was part of moves by PDP leaders to keep the party strong ahead of 2023.
“We are trying to keep our family intact. So whether it was the left hand that washed the right or it was the right that washed the left, we hope that at the end of the day everybody will be happy.
“It was rumoured that Governor Umahi planned to defect to the APC, so the party deemed it fit to establish contact and interface with him. However, the details of the discussions are not to be made public for now.
“Whatever assignment we have given to ourselves when the time comes, we shall reach Kola (PDP spokesman) to ensure that people know what is going on. But for now, we just started and we hope that our party will remain intact,” he said.
When contacted, the APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, told our correspondent that the party would be very happy to receive Umahi into its fold.
“We don’t have an official communication regarding that yet. Until we are officially communicated we can’t just pre-empt. We can’t just say this one is coming or that one is coming. But he is a good man, we will be very happy to receive him,” he said.
On whether he would be considered for the APC presidential ticket if he eventually defected, Nabena said, “When we get to the bridge, we will cross it.”
But the Ebonyi State chairman of APC, Hon. Eze Nwachukwu, said the National Working Committee of the APC has officially informed them of the planned defection of the governor,
Nwachukwu said he was officially informed of the planned defection of governor Umahi in Abuja.
“I’m just coming out from a meeting held in Abuja where I was officially informed of Governor Umahi’s plan to dump the opposite party, the PDP, to our ruling APC.
“So wait till the details will be made known to you in Ebonyi by tomorrow (today),” he said.
Also, a reliable source, who does not want his name in print, said Governor Umahi would officially be registered as a member of the APC at his ward, Onuofukwuru 031 in Uburu, Ohaozara local government of the state soon.
The Ohaozara local government APC chairman, Victor Nnachi, who also spoke to Daily Trust on Wednesday, said: “As for the defection plan of Governor Umahi, I have heard about it but I’m yet to be officially contacted for his registration at the ward as required in the party constitution.” (Daily Trust)