Ebonyi national assembly lawmakers disown Umahi over defection

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Senators and House of Representative members from Ebonyi State, on Wednesday, distanced themselves from their governor, Mr. David Umahi, who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The announcement came barely 24 hours after Umahi defected to the APC.

In a press conference on Wednesday, the caucus, which consists of five House of Representatives members and three senators, said no member of the caucus was leaving the PDP

Reading the resolution on behalf of the members, the caucus leader and former governor of the state, Mr. Sam Egwu said they would remain card-carrying members of the PDP, the platform on which we were elected

Egwu faulted Umahi for accusing the PDP leadership of being unfair to the southeast geo-political zone.

He also accused the government of being an ingrate, claiming that the man had benefitted immensely from the PDP.

“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 distinguished 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 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 southeast on the issue of zoning the presidency and vice presidency.

“While we support that it is the turn of the southeast to fly the presidential flag of any of the major political parties come 2023, yet we consider it impolitic, indecent, and unwise to give ultimatums 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 Governor David Umahi.

“This is 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 (southeast) 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 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.

“We wish to use this opportunity to thank the leadership of our great party, the PDP for their prompt action in dissolving the ward, local government, state and Zonal structures of the party in Ebonyi State, and their announcement of a state caretaker team.

“We also wish to thank teeming members and supporters in our various constituencies who have remained undaunted and committed to their membership of the PDP.

“We also wish to thank the South-East caucus, and indeed the entire PDP family of the national assembly,” he added.

The briefing was attended by all the Ebonyi State federal lawmakers.

Also in attendance was the senate minority leader, Mr. Enyinnaya Abaribe from Abia State who showed solidarity with his colleagues.

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