Flurry of events emanating from Tuesday’s defection of the governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, have shown clearly that he may be threading a lonely path. Umahi, who moved to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) of which he had been a foundation member since 1999, may be surprised that he’s not reaping the accolade he expected from his move. Even where he had expected that his reason for leaving PDP was borne out of an altruistic desire to achieve the vexed issue of Nigerian president of Igbo extraction, not a few Ndigbo are amused.
The first sour taste came from his former party. Immediately after his defection, the PDP dissolved both the state and zonal executive of the party and immediately reconstituted a new one. The move, it was gathered, was to remove remnants of Umahi’s loyalists, whose continuous stay in that position may jeopardise the party’s interest.
The National Working Committee of the party, in a statement issued by the party National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said that action affected the ward, local government and state executive committees of the Ebonyi State chapter of the party.
He also said that at the fullness of time, the party will tell the world why Umahi left the party. Few hours later, his newfound home, APC, caught the bug. The party, in following the footstep of its closest rival, also dissolved its executive committee.
The Mala Buni-led interim management of the APC said its decision to dissolve the Ebonyi State executive committee was necessitated by the latter’s refusal to “withdraw court cases as directed by the 8th resumed meeting of the APC National Executive Committee (NEC) and submit to internal party resolution mechanisms initiated by the CECPC.”
The party also appointed a 15-member caretaker committee to manage the Party’s affairs and carry out the planned membership registration, update, and revalidation exercise in Ebonyi State.
These actions were not lost to some political analysts who saw it as is the norm in Nigerian politics where both parties will need to restructure in Ebonyi.
While the PDP sought to remove Umahi’s loyalists from its helm of affairs, the APC, to all intents and purposes, wanted to hand over control of the party structure to their newfound member.
PDP caucus in the National Assembly also told Umahi clearly that he’s on his own.
While addressing newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday, the National Assembly members from Ebonyi State, led by former governor now Senator Sam Egwu, disowned Umahi, describing him as an ingrate. They said that the reasons he gave for leaving PDP were selfish and unacceptable.
With Egwu at the briefing were the three senators and five House of Representatives – Senator Obinna Ogba, Senator Mike Ama Nnachi, Sylvester Ogbaga, Igariwey Iduma Enwo, Chukwuma Nwazunku, Edwin Anayo and Livinus Makwe. They also had the solidarity of the Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnya Abaribe from Abia state.
Egwu 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 unkindest cut may come from his immediate confidants – the commissioners – who made up members of his state executive council. Though they have not made known their intention, but an indication that they may not all go full swoop to the APC was the resignation of State Commissioner for Inter-Governmental Affairs, Lazarus Ogbee.
Ogbee’s resigned on November 12, 2020, five days to the defection of Umahi to APC.
On Thursday, the Special Assistant to the governor on Internal Security and Public Utilities (Urban), Hon. Chidiebere Goodluck Egwu, threw in the trowel, citing “irreconcilable ideological differences of the Governor” as reason for resigning.
In his resignation letter, Egwu said that the prevailing political cataclysm the state, irreconcilable ideological differences and personal considerations not in tandem with his principle never to betray his master cannot allow him to continue working with the state Governor.
The letter reads: “I wish to appreciate Your Excellency, Chief Engr. David Nweze Umahi, for the opportunity and privilege given to me to serve the people of Ebonyi State and lkwo Local Government Area in various capacities under your administration.
“I wish to have continued working with you, but for the prevailing political cataclysm in the state and their irreconcilable ideological differences and personal considerations.
“Consequently, I hereby respectfully resign my appointment as the Special assistant on Internal Security and Public Utilities (Urban) with effect from today, the 19th day of November 2020.” Sir, my resignation should not be misconstrued as an affront on your person, but in tandem with my principle never to betray my master or anyone else for that matter. As a matter of fact, I still hold you in the highest esteem and wish you the best in your dreams to make Ebonyi and Nigeria great.
Former Commissioner for Information, Abia Onyike, said he was sure many more aides to the governor will resign.
He told News Echo in an interview that, “I am sure that only two commissioners may be following him APC.”
By Jude Owuamanam and David Eze, Ebonyi